HOV lanes on US 75 in North Texas to open to all drivers this year—with occasional tolls


Highway lanes once reserved for high-occupancy vehicles on US 75 will open up to all drivers this year after local officials reached a deal with the federal government.

The HOV lanes on US 75 from Sam Rayburn Tollway in Allen to I-635 in Dallas will begin converting to general-use lanes—with some rush-hour tolls—sometime in 2019, the North Central Texas Council of Governments announced March 20 in a news release. Local officials negotiated the change with the Federal Highway Administration.

The former HOV lanes will be free to all drivers during most hours, including weekends and most weekday times, the agency said. Officials expect to implement small tolls on these southbound HOV lanes during morning rush hour and on northbound lanes during evening rush hour. Vehicles with multiple occupants will still be able to use the lanes for free at all hours.

The HOV lanes cannot be made completely free because federal law requires them to remain open and free-flowing to high-occupancy vehicles, the local agency said. These lanes were built with federal funding on condition they remain geared at least partly for multipassenger cars.

Until this change goes into effect, drivers on US 75 can only use the HOV lanes if they are traveling with at least one additional passenger. Collin County Commissioner Duncan Webb said the existing HOV lanes are “under-used and ineffective” in a statement.

“Our efforts to address the underutilized High Occupancy Vehicle (HOV) lanes along US 75 is a perfect example of how we collaborate on a local, county and state level to improve mobility for our citizens,” Plano Mayor Harry LaRosiliere said in the statement.

The new lanes will first open on a stretch of US 75 extending from Bethany Drive in Allen to I-635 in Dallas. They will eventually extend north to Sam Rayburn Tollway after crews complete a $28 million interchange project at Ridgeview Drive in 2025.

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  1. Great info, and first place I heard about it (since the idea was discussed a couple years ago).

    Do you have a link for more details? Specifically, I need to find the definition of “rush hour”.

    • Hi Neva, local officials have yet to announce these details. They are waiting for a state environmental study to be completed before they determine the timeline for the switch.

    • These lanes will resemble the HOV/Express lane conversion done on 635 from US75 to I-30. In order for HOV users to use the lanes for free, the system needs to know that you are not a single-occupant vehicle. This is accomplished by activating your HOV status on the Drive On TEXPRESS app, on their website, or texting ACTIVATE to a specific number. More details on https://www.driveontexpress.com where you can register for an account and there are links to their app.

  2. It’s underutilized because you can’t get on it or off it. When I first moved here from CA it took me a long time to figure out where the HOV entrance was. In CA the HOV lanes don’t have barriers it’s just double solid lines with entrances and exits every 2-3 miles. If they took those stupid white poles out and allowed for more entrances /exits then they wouldn’t need to install the technology for tolls.

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Daniel Houston
Daniel Houston covers Plano city government, transportation, business and education for Community Impact Newspaper. A Fort Worth native and Baylor University graduate, Daniel reported previously for The Dallas Morning News and The Associated Press in Oklahoma City.
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