Non-toll users benefiting from MoPac express lane

Driving on the northbound section of the North MoPac toll. (KXAN Photo/Alicia Inns)
Driving on the northbound section of the North MoPac toll. (KXAN Photo/Alicia Inns)

AUSTIN (KXAN) — The agency that runs the MoPac Expressway is out with new numbers showing the opening of the northbound express lane in mid-October is speeding up travel times for commuters headed to north Austin.

When Central Texas Regional Mobility Authority reviewed traffic data from Oct. 24, they determined that what was a 19-minute drive in the main lanes before the new addition, is now closer to seven minutes. Express users shave another minute off their drive.

Even when there’s a crash, the CTRMA says the lane can save people time. On Nov. 1, a semi truck crash forced all the main lanes to shut down at Steck Avenue, but the express lane remained open.

Drivers were able to get around this crash on North MoPac through the express lane. Nov. 1, 2016 (CTRMA Photo)
Drivers were able to get around this crash on North MoPac through the express lane. Nov. 1, 2016 (CTRMA Photo)

That allowed more than 1,700 vehicles an hour to get around the crash scene. Tolls at that point reached 75 cents. Right now, they average 53 cents during the afternoon peak travel period.

Both directions of the 11-mile tolled stretch between Cesar Chavez Street and Parmer Lane are due to open in the first half of 2017, CTRMA staff told board members Monday.

KXAN wants to know your experiences with the new MoPac express lane — even if you stay in the main lanes, is the new option for commuters saving you time? If you do use it, how often? Once a week or more? We invite you to send your responses in an email to reportit@kxan.com.

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