EL MONTE (CBSLA.com) — A 14-mile stretch of High Occupancy Vehicle (HOV) lanes along Interstate 10 Freeway will open to drivers on Saturday.

The new lanes along the 10 Freeway between Alameda/Union Station in downtown Los Angeles and the I-605 Freeway have been converted from carpool lanes to Metro ExpressLanes.

They will open to the public at 12:01 a.m. and are aimed at reducing congestion by improving travel choices along the I-10 and other freeways.

“All motorists using the new ExpressLanes will need to open a FasTrak® account,” Rick Jager of Metro said. “Solo drivers will pay a toll to travel in the I-10 ExpressLanes. Vanpools, buses and motorcycles will travel toll-free with a FasTrak transponder.”

Drivers can use already purchased transponders for the new lanes.

“We have a switchable transponder here, if you have three or more people you switch it to three. If you have two or more switch it to two, and if you’re going solo and there’s access available within the lanes that will let you in, set the transponder to one person only,” John Fasana from the Metro Transportation Authority said.

Similar lanes opened last November along the 110 Freeway breaking the state’s tradition of keeping the freeways free.

“We’ve got the worst traffic in the United States of America, we’ve got to have a lot of tools in the toolbox to address congestion in this region,” Mayor Villaraigosa said. “We’ve got to be smarter in the way that we use our freeways.”

Since the ExpressLanes opened last fall, more than 100,000 transponders have been sold.

“We’re going to be watching this project closely so we can use this as a model throughout the nation,” Victor Mendez of the Federal Highway Administration said.

For more information, click here.


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