Katy toll lanes set to open

April 15, 2009 8:13:33 AM PDT
Eyewitness News is learning more about the managed lanes on the Katy Freeway. The lanes will allow drivers to pay to drive in the HOV lanes. The managed lanes will run from near the 610 Loop all the way to Highway 6. [SIGN UP: Get headlines and breaking news sent to you]

In just few days, the HOV lanes on the Katy Freeway will become the Katy managed lanes or the Katy Tollway. That means solo drivers willing to pay for it can use an HOV lane 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Everything on the Katy Tollway is ready to go for Saturday's opening to the public: the electronic signs, the double lanes, and the toll booths.

Starting this weekend, single drivers who have an EZ Tag can pay for the privilege of avoiding the main lanes of traffic.

"I think it's going to be great if it's going to be able to keep the traffic down and it's not going to be so crazy because Houston's so busy," said driver Darrell Harrison.

Another driver, Josh Garcia, agreed, "I think it's good for the people in the Katy area since they're coming from so far out."

We went on a ride-along with the Toll Board Authority to find out how it will work. The managed lanes will stretch 12 miles from Highway 6 to the Loop. If a driver were to take the Tollway from one end to the other during peak traffic, it will cost $4. However, rates vary depending on time and distance

"It will vary by the time of day so it will be anywhere from 30 cents for a tolling location to $1.60," said Lawanda Howse of the Toll Board Authority.

During HOV hours, the inside lane that is closest to the tollbooths will be HOV lanes. The outside lanes of the managed lanes will be for EZ Tag drivers.

"I don't have a problem with that because when you get in the HOV lane you get home faster and you can pay for it. It takes the cars off the main lanes," said driver Elizabeth McDaniel.

The Toll Road Authority warns that if you think you may be in the wrong lane, do not stop but keep going and you can call them afterwards to sort it out.

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