Plano Star-courier > News
HOV lanes here at last
By Stephanie Flemmons, Staff Writer
Completely avoiding backed up traffic during rush hour is hardly possible.
But Lloyd Neal, Plano’s traffic engineer manager, said he hopes the opening of the 14-mile stretch of High Occupancy Lanes (HOV) running on U.S. 75 from Interstate 635 to Exchange Parkway in Allen will ease motorists’ drive.
“By removing vehicles from the main road and transferring them to the HOV lanes we are hoping to have more free flow traffic and accessibility to the city,” Neal said.
Jeff Hampton, Dallas Area Rapid Transit (DART) spokesperson, said the lanes will be clear of the barricades and ready for use at 6 a.m. Friday.
“Contractors are working fast and furious to remove debris and have the lanes open,” Hampton said.
Not only will the HOV lanes benefit commuters, but Melinda Sweney, Plano’s sustainability and environmental coordinator, said the lanes will benefit the atmosphere.
“The expansion will have a positive impact on air quality and energy conservation,” Sweney said. “The less time you spend idling, the more fuel you save and the fewer CO2 emissions are produced which impact our ozone.”
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) sets allowable concentration standards for a variety of air pollutants, including ozone. These standards are designed to protect public health and are based on extensive health effects research, including research performed by EPA scientists and by independent researches.
According to Mark Ball, Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) spokesperson HOV commuter benefits include less use of personal vehicles, less fuel consumption, reduced total travel time and improved trip time. Motorists who carpool only a few days per week will benefit, he said.
“HOV lanes move more people in fewer vehicles, reducing the demand for new highways,” Ball said.
HOV lanes are open to vehicles with two or more occupants, buses, motorcycles and other eligible vehicles, according to DART officials.
This $18-million project split between DART, TxDOT and federal authorities was expected to be completed in August of 2006, but crews faced delays due to wet conditions and other TxDOT projects.
This 14-mile stretch will be equipped with cameras at major intersections like George Bush Turnpike and U.S. 75.
They will also include three ways on and three ways off. The lanes are protected by plastic dividers instead of concrete barriers.
Ball said DART is in charge of policing the lanes and TxDOT are the engineers that design them.
The U.S. 75 project is one of many projects the agencies are splitting in the metroplex.
Neal said Plano will see positive affects when an operating system is developed.
An extension of HOV lanes opened Monday on Interstate 30, which extended a single lane that runs east of downtown to Northwest Drive in Mesquite. This will eventually reach Fort. Worth.
A 12-mile extension of the Interstate 635, from U.S. 75 to I-30 will double the length of HOV lanes in the LBJ corridor, one of the nations busiest freeways, according to DART officials. It is scheduled to open in 2008.
Contact Stephanie Flemmons at firstname.lastname@example.org
Copyright © 2013 - Star Local News