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Toll lanes planned for I-680 from San Ramon through Walnut Creek

Would charge drivers for HOV access during peak times

Bay Area transportation officials met with the public in San Ramon on Thursday night to discuss a plan to put more express lanes on Interstate 680 in an effort to keep traffic moving.

The Metropolitan Transportation Commission and Caltrans are proposing converting current high-occupancy vehicle (HOV) lanes into express lanes that would be open to solo motorists willing to pay a toll, according to the MTC.

The express lanes would replace HOV lanes on southbound I-680 from Rudgear Road in Walnut Creek to Alcosta Boulevard in San Ramon and on northbound I-680 from Alcosta Boulevard to the Livorna Road exit in Alamo.

MTC officials say the express lanes would be free for the same motorists currently allowed in HOV lanes, including carpools, vanpools and buses, and would also be open to solo drivers who pay a toll to use the lane.

The proposed changes are intended to ease congestion on the busy commuter highway, where traffic is projected to slow by about 5 mph during peak morning commute hours and by about 10 mph during the evening commute by 2015, according to Lisa Klein, manager of the MTC's Express Lanes program.

Community members are invited to learn more about the express lanes proposal and provide their input at an MTC meeting from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. today at the San Ramon Community Center at Central Park, 12501 Alcosta Blvd.

Those who cannot attend in person are invited to visit an online public meeting held today through Feb. 13.

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