OAKLAND, Calif., July 31, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- Motorists may experience brief delays during off-peak hours at the Benicia-Martinez Bridge toll plaza each day from Saturday, Aug. 4 through Friday, Aug. 10, as Caltrans and the Bay Area Toll Authority (BATA) make temporary lane changes in order to install a new automated toll collection and accounting system.
Beginning Saturday evening, Aug. 4, the two FasTrak Express lanes at the left side of the toll plaza will be closed daily from 8 p.m. until 12 noon the following day. The toll plaza's standard lane configuration will then be reinstated to accommodate northbound traffic during the peak period of 12 noon to 8 p.m. This pattern will be repeated each day until the toll collection upgrades are completed. Installation of the new toll system is slated for completion by 11:59 p.m. on Friday, Aug. 10.
During the 16-hour lane closures, FasTrak-only traffic will be shifted to the single lane on the far left side of the roadway that bypasses the toll plaza altogether. This far left lane normally is reserved for buses and carpools during the weekday morning (5 a.m. to 10 a.m.) and evening (3 p.m. to 7 p.m.) commute periods, and serves as a third FasTrak Express lane at other times. During morning commute periods from Monday, Aug. 6, through Friday, Aug. 10, changeable electronic message signs on the toll plaza approach will redirect carpools, buses and other qualifying vehicles to toll lane #3 near the right side of the toll plaza.
Because carpool volume at the Benicia-Martinez Bridge normally totals no more than about 50 vehicles per hour during the morning commute, BATA and Caltrans expect little or no delay next week for FasTrak-equipped high-occupancy vehicles. But with the number of FasTrak-only lanes for solo drivers reduced by half during this time, the agencies advise motorists to be prepared for delays of up to 5 or 10 minutes, especially on weekdays from 7 a.m. to 9 a.m. Motorists are advised to call 511 or check traffic.511.org for current traffic conditions and driving times while the temporary lane changes are in effect.
BATA, which is directed by the same policy board as the Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC), administers toll revenues from the region's state-owned toll bridges. MTC is the transportation planning, financing and coordinating agency for the nine-county San Francisco Bay Area. Caltrans owns, operates and maintains the state highway system, including seven Bay Area toll bridges.
SOURCE Bay Area Toll Authority