By Jack Fink

DALLAS (CBS 11 NEWS) – For tens of thousands of people here in North Texas, sitting in traffic is an ugly reality.

Dallas resident Vincent Miller knows that all too well. “It’s pretty bad, it’s frustrating, headaches.”

To help ease congestion, TXDOT will soon allow people driving by themselves to use the HOV lanes along LBJ – east of Central Expressway – south to I-30.

But individual drivers would have to pay a toll.

Miller, who takes LBJ everyday to and from work, says it would be money well spent. “Yes, sometimes I’ve sat on LBJ for an hour in traffic, so I will definitely pay to get out of it.”

Another Dallas resident, Frank Lee agrees. “If it’ll make it faster, I’m willing.”

If you car pool, you will still be able to use the HOV lanes – free of charge.

But you’ll have to register – so you won’t have to pay.

TXDOT says the $9 million dollar project will relieve traffic back-ups.

Spokesman Tony Hartzel says, “These corridors are so congested that yes, we can take several hundred, maybe a thousand vehicles off the main lanes and into the express lanes, but that’s really about providing that really reliable trip.”

Construction is slated to begin either at the end of the year or the beginning of next year.

It’s expected to be completed by early 2016, when the LBJ Express project is also expected to wrap up, which extends west of Central Expressway to I-35E.

There is a second phase of this project.

But it could cost up to $2.5 billion dollars, and the problem is there’s no funding for it.

It would widen main lanes, set-up service road lanes, and managed toll lanes in the middle along LBJ – East from Central Expressway – south to I-30.

Before that could happen, the state legislature would have to vote to allow TXDOT to put the project out to bid.

Dallas city councilman Lee Kleinman says that can sometimes be tricky. “As long as the urban legislators, the ones from the Dallas area or other urban areas, they understand those needs, and it’s sometimes the rural legislators that are more challenging in this area.”

TXDOT briefed the city council on both phases of the project Monday.

(©2014 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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