Carquinez Bridge to Add Third FasTrak(TM)-Only Lane

OAKLAND, Calif., Oct. 24 /PRNewswire/ — Motorists whose vehicles are equipped with FasTrak(TM) electronic toll collection transponders can look forward to a Halloween treat Oct. 31, when the Bay Area Toll Authority (BATA) and the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) add a third FasTrak(TM)-only lane to the Carquinez Bridge toll plaza. The opening of the new FasTrak(TM)-only lane will coincide — weather permitting — with the shift of eastbound Interstate 80 traffic back to its usual routing across the 1958 span of the Carquinez Bridge, which is the easternmost of the three spans that currently link Crockett and Vallejo.

The new FasTrak(TM)-only lane at the Carquinez Bridge will be in toll lane number 9, immediately to the right of the two existing FasTrak(TM)-only lanes. The conversion of another Carquinez Bridge toll lane for the exclusive use of FasTrak(TM)-equipped vehicles is part of BATA’s and Caltrans’ continuing effort to make electronic toll collection more convenient for motorists throughout the Bay Area. The move follows the conversion of three toll lanes at the Bay Bridge to FasTrak(TM)-only this past June and the conversion in summer 2004 of single lanes at the Dumbarton and San Mateo-Hayward Bridges.

“Get FasTrak(TM) if you want to get through the toll plaza faster on the Carquinez Bridge,” said Albert Yee, Caltrans Deputy Director of Operations.

Travelers who open a FasTrak(TM) prepaid toll account will be sent a free FasTrak(TM) transponder, which generally is affixed to a vehicle’s windshield. Motorists can sign up for FasTrak(TM) on the Web by going to www.511.org and clicking on the FasTrak(TM) link. Applications also can be ordered from the FasTrak(TM) customer service center by telephone at 877-229-8655 (877-BAY-TOLL) or by calling 511, and saying “FasTrak(TM)” at the first prompt. Applicants can expect to receive their FasTrak(TM) transponders in approximately seven to 10 business days.

Eastbound traffic has been shifted temporarily to the 78-year-old middle span of the Carquinez Bridge to allow work crews to replace sections of badly worn roadway at the southern approach to the 1958 span. With the completion of the roadway replacement and a seismic retrofit on the 1958 bridge, the original 1927 span is slated for demolition. Work to begin dismantling the historic bridge is scheduled to begin in 2006.

BATA administers tolls on the Bay Area’s seven state-owned toll bridges, and administers the FasTrak(TM) program on behalf of both Caltrans and the Golden Gate Bridge, Highway and Transportation District. BATA is staffed by, and overseen by, the same policy board as the Metropolitan Transportation Commission, which is the transportation planning, financing and coordinating agency for the nine-county San Francisco Bay Area.

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