AUSTIN (KXAN) — The Central Texas Regional Mobility Authority says the new Northbound Mopac Express Lane had nearly 10,000 motorists drive through in its first weekend of being open.

Monday evening will be the lane’s first big test, although it is expected to be less congested than normal because many people have the Columbus Day/Indigenous Peoples’ Day holiday off.

“We assume that traffic in the regular lanes will be a lot better because as people choose to use the toll lane or the express lane, that will reduce congestion in the other lanes,” said Steve Pustelnyk of the CTRMA.

“We’re expecting a much better commute on Monday than folks are use to having on northbound Mopac,” he said.

How much better? Pustelnyk says 5 or 10 minutes faster if things go smoothly.

As for the southbound lane, crews are still paving the road. Pustelnyk says that work is scheduled to wrap up on October 27th. It isn’t clear when the lane will actually open. The CTRMA likely the lane will open by the end of October or early November.

Until then, Pustelnyk is asking drivers to be safe.

“Be careful, be kind,” he said. “Look for an opening. Don’t try to race ahead of the person in front of you. And leave room for someone if they are in front of you to get in. We want a safe merge.”