AUSTIN (KXAN) — As of 8 a.m. on Saturday, all of the MoPac Express lanes are officially open for drivers to use.
The project began five years ago and encountered numerous delays. It now stretches in both directions from Parmer Lane in north Austin to Cesar Chavez Street in downtown Austin. The last section of the northbound lane opened Oct. 7.
With the lanes open, drivers should be aware of people merging into and out of the Express Lanes.
Signs will display prices for the toll for those using TxTag, TollTag or EZ-Tag. Drivers paying by mail can expect their fees to be 33 percent more.
The toll prices are variable and based on the traffic congestion. During the first full operational week of the northbound MoPac Express Lane, the most expensive transaction was $8.38 for the entire trip. The least expensive it could get is 50 cents.
The Central Texas Regional Mobility Authority expects demand will be high for the southbound lanes, especially during the morning and afternoon as people are commuting. With that high demand could come high prices, so executive director Jeff Dailey says drivers should pay attention and decide if using the new lanes are worth it when it comes to their wallets.
“What we’ve seen with the northbound Express Lane is that commuters are excited to take advantage of this congestion-free route,” Dailey said. “We believe that many are entering the lane without looking at the posted toll rate.”
CTRMA says the final elements of its MoPac improvement project — adding sound walls and landscaping — will continue in the months to come.