Katy Freeway HOV lane closed to commuters

September 8, 2008 6:03:52 PM PDT
The Katy Freeway HOV lanes are now closed, open only for METRO buses. It's part of the ongoing reconstruction project, and it's going to remain that way for a while. "I think it's probably going to be miserable," said one driver.

"It's hectic as it is," said commuter Sdjad Yekani-Zaree. "I think it's going to be impossible if they are going to close those down."

Katy commuters can only imagine what rush hour traffic will be like with all the HOV drivers forced to mix in with the main lanes.

"I already have to leave an hour earlier as it is," one commuter told Eyewitness News.

The HOV lane will be closed until the end of October while work to expand the capacity on the westbound lanes is complete. Until then only METRO buses will be allowed to use the new Katy tollway 'managed lanes.'

"The buses are still going to be able to use it, though," said commuter Thomas Birmingham. "So I'm giving up. I'm taking the buses."

When road work is complete, HOV drivers will have access to the new HOT lanes. There will be two lanes in each direction dedicated and free to vehicles with two passengers and buses during peak travel hours. But single passenger commuters will now have the option to ride, if they pay a toll.

"I would be very happy to pay," said driver Kalleen Atkins. "I love the Westpark Toll Road. It's my favorite way to get to the Galleria. Gladly, I would pay to do that."

"It will ease congestion on the Westpark Toll Road and the Fort Bend County Toll Road, because right now those roads are already full," said commuter Kelly Raper.

A spokesperson for the Katy Freeway project says some drivers did accidentally get on the HOV lanes after the closure. If that happens, don't worry -- there are officers posted to turn you around, and the mistake might make your commute just a bit longer.

For more information, check out the Katy Freeway managed lanes website. And to check the roads for backups anytime, visit the abc13.com traffic center.

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