OAKLAND, CA — New lane configurations and other FasTrak® improvements to the toll plaza approaches at the Dumbarton and Richmond-San Rafael bridges are set to come online this week, allowing FasTrak customers to pass more smoothly, quickly and efficiently through the entrances to these bridges. The changes are the latest steps in a comprehensive plan being implemented by the Bay Area Toll Authority (BATA) and Caltrans to increase toll plaza efficiency and expand FasTrak usage on the region’s bridges.
On Thursday, Aug.16, the length of the existing FasTrak-only approach lane to the Dumbarton Bridge toll plaza will be extended by 4,300 feet. Two new changeable message signs will be installed on the approach to help direct motorists to the appropriate lanes. The toll plaza configuration will continue to provide two FasTrak-only lanes to the left and four cash/FasTrak lanes to the right (see lane configuration diagram). During peak traffic hours (5 a.m. to 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. to 6 p.m.), one lane to the left of the FasTrak-only lanes is a designated HOV/carpool lane for vehicles with two or more occupants. During non-peak hours, this HOV/carpool lane is closed. The four lanes on the right side of the main toll plaza are available for cash or FasTrak customers at all times. New changeable message signs will be installed at the toll plaza in mid-September.
Beginning Saturday, Aug.18, FasTrak customers traversing the Richmond-San Rafael Bridge will enjoy a faster commute as a result of the conversion of more cash/FasTrak lanes to FasTrak-only lanes at the bridge’s toll plaza in Richmond. The lane conversion will result in a net gain of one additional FasTrak-only lane and the loss of one cash/FasTrak lane at the bridge’s seven-lane toll plaza. The reduced number of cash/FasTrak lanes may mean longer delays for drivers who pay their tolls with cash, especially during peak traffic hours. Cash customers traveling to San Rafael via the Richmond-San Rafael Bridge should allow extra time, especially during early morning weekday commute hours.
The new lane configuration at the Richmond-San Rafael Bridge will place two FasTrak-only lanes to the far left of the bridge’s toll plaza. The existing staffed high-occupancy vehicle (HOV) lane, which is currently Toll Booth 4 , will be relocated to Toll Booth 3. As is currently the case, this staffed toll booth will be shared by carpool and cash vehicles during peak hours (5 a.m. to 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. to 6 p.m.). Cash lanes will be located to the right side of the toll plaza (see lane configuration diagram).
To enable motorists to enter the appropriate lane well in advance of the toll plaza, and to avoid last-minute weaving, the approach to the FasTrak-only designated lanes will be extended by 2,400 feet.
“Because the Richmond-San Rafael Bridge is subject to significant back-ups during the weekday commute, there will be additional efforts to notify motorists of the changes, including the use of portable changeable message signs prior to the conversion,” said Rod McMillan, MTC/BATA director of bridge oversight and operations. “To avoid delays, we urge motorists using the Richmond-San Rafael Bridge to sign up for FasTrak. It’s free and easy to obtain.”
The changes at these two bridges are part of a comprehensive FasTrak Strategic Plan adopted last year to increase toll plaza efficiency and expand the use of FasTrak at the Bay Area’s seven state-owned toll bridges. “FasTrak-only lanes can process three times as many vehicles an hour as lanes where drivers stop to pay cash,” said BATA’s McMillan. “As more drivers sign up for FasTrak, congestion and pollution from cars creeping through the toll plaza lines can be reduced.”
Improvements to the Dumbarton Bridge approaches and the Richmond-San Rafael Bridge toll plaza are part of a series of enhancements by the Bay Area Toll Authority (BATA) and Caltrans at Bay Area toll plazas this summer. New lane configurations were unveiled on the San Mateo-Hayward Bridge on July 9 and on the Carquinez Bridge on Aug. 11. The Antioch Bridge, the (new) Benicia-Martinez Bridge and the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge also are slated for lane conversions and toll plaza improvements over the next several weeks. There will be no lane changes at the Golden Gate Bridge, which is owned and operated by the Golden Gate Bridge, Highway and Transportation District.
As an incentive, customers who pick up FasTrak toll tags at select Safeway stores or Costco warehouses, and open their accounts before Aug. 31, can receive up to $10 in free tolls. For information on incentives for new FasTrak customers, please visit www.511.org, or call 511 and ask for 'FasTrak' at the first prompt.
Caltrans owns, operates and maintains the state highway system, including seven Bay Area toll bridges. 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.
John Goodwin, BATA: (415) 778-5262
Lauren Wonder, Caltrans: (510) 286-6120
BATA/MTC Public Information: (415) 778-6757