GRAPEVINE (CBSDFW.COM) – The makeover for a busy stretch of North Texas highway is complete. Crews are now finished with the DFW Connector project along Highway 114, roughly between Highway 26 and International Parkway. But saying goodbye to road construction means saying hello to new charges.
The Texas Department of Transportation guarantees that your commute will never fall below 50 mph, but that promise comes with a price.
Driving along the TEXpress lanes had been free. But on Monday morning, that changed as the toll started. Officials with TxDOT will track these lanes to see just how many people are willing to pay a price to try and avoid traffic. That price starts at 67 cents to drive the four miles of express lanes along the DFW Connector. The cost increases to $1.00 during the morning and afternoon rush hours.
Drivers without a Toll Tag will pay an additional 50 cents.
These will be the fees for the next six months, as TxDOT examines the numbers and gets a better grasp of exactly how many people are using the new tollway. Rates will then fluctuate early next year, after the six-month study is complete. That means, as traffic gets worse, the price to use an express lane will increase. And, likewise, when roads are clear, the express lanes will cost less.
The non-express lanes will continue to be free.
Local transportation director Michael Morris explained, “If it starts to get congested, you look at the cost of the express lanes and say, ‘Oh, that’s not so bad. I want to get on the express because maybe I’m in a hurry or got to get to work.'”
A similar system opened late last year along sections of Interstate-635. Four other express lane projects are scheduled to open over the next four years, including lanes along both Interstate-35E and Interstate-35W. According to TxDOT officials, within the next five years, the DFW area will have more than 100 miles of these managed toll lanes — the most in the country.
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