MoPac express lane weekly traffic now tops 18,000 vehicles

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Usage of the northbound MoPac express lane between RM 2222 and Parmer Lane has steadily increased since it opened in October, according to data released Wednesday by the Central Texas Regional Mobility Authority.

Steve Pustelnyk, the Mobility Authority’s director of community relations, said in a briefing to the agency’s board of directors that the Northwest Austin toll lane now sees between 18,000 and 19,000 transactions on a weekly basis.

During its initial weeks of use, the lane had between 15,000 and 16,000 transactions, according to the Mobility Authority.

The only section of MoPac express lane open so far runs northbound from RM 2222 to Parmer Lane. The minimum toll rate is $0.25, and there is no maximum cost.

Factors that determine the toll rate include the number of vehicles per hour, which the agency can track in each lane, as well as the speed of vehicles. Toll increases are based on the amount of traffic in the express and main lanes.

Pustelnyk said Wednesday that the maximum toll on the express lane has been $0.75, and during peak afternoon hours the rate is generally around $0.50 or slightly higher.

First section of MoPac express lane now open

He said that all express lane sections are on track to open during the first half of 2017, and he gave Mobility Authority board members updates on several ongoing elements of the MoPac Improvement Project:

  • Paving and roadway striping have finished on the Steck Avenue bypass lane, which once opened will allow drivers to avoid the intersection at MoPac and Steck. Pustelnyk said the bypass lane is “essentially ready to go.”
  • A road-widening project on southbound lanes between US 183 and RM 2222 is also concluding. Some of the temporary concrete barriers at the project site are being removed to complete the paving work.
  • Work also continues on the northbound and southbound MoPac underpasses near Lady Bird Lake.

The $204 million MoPac project was originally slated to open in fall 2015, but contractor CH2M ran into several issues that have delayed the project’s opening.

Once complete, the project will add one express toll lane in both directions between Parmer and Cesar Chavez Street.

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Evan Marczynski

Evan Marczynski is Community Impact’s Georgetown editor. In 2017, he led coverage of Georgetown’s growing multifamily housing market, the launch of the city’s first fixed-route transit system, and a master plan update at Georgetown Municipal Airport that has proposed close to $60 million in capital improvements over the next several decades. Evan joined Community Impact in 2016 as a reporter in Northwest Austin after working for newspapers in the Pacific Northwest for five years. He is originally from Washington state.

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