Estimated read time: 2-3 minutes
This archived news story is available only for your personal, non-commercial use. Information in the story may be outdated or superseded by additional information. Reading or replaying the story in its archived form does not constitute a republication of the story.
SALT LAKE CITY -- Drivers headed out on the morning commute Monday will have the chance to test out Utah's new toll lane.
The pay-as-you-go system includes four zones on Interstate 15 through the Wasatch Front. Officials with the Utah Department of Transportation say the toll lanes have worked in several other states, so they are bound to work in Salt Lake City.
UDOT officials think the system will appeal to solo drivers who don't want to pay a monthly fee. Instead, they can pay a small fee every time they merge into the far left lane.
When you're late for a meeting, late for your kid's soccer match... now you have the option of jumping in and paying a small fee and getting there faster.
"When you're late for a meeting, late for your kid's soccer match," says UDOT spokesman Nile Easton, "now you have the option of jumping in and paying a small fee and getting there faster."
It works like this: buy an electronic pass that responds to sensors at four zones along I-15. One zone is located in Utah County, two in Salt Lake County and one in Davis County.
New signs will display the costs for each zone, which will be based on the traffic congestion at any given time. The price will range anywhere from 25 cents to $1 per zone.
Of course, those carpooling can travel in the lane for free. Drivers who own the device but happen to be carpooling can just turn it off to avoid being charged.
UDOT says its tried to make the system simple for law enforcement to catch violators. Crews have installed lights on the back of the signs that will assist UHP in detecting which cars entering have transponders, and which do not.
"I think it will save us and the motoring public some time for those solo drivers who are using the express pass so that we don't have to stop them anymore," says UHP Sgt. Randall Akers.
UDOT spent close to $10 million to implement the system. It says much of project was paid for by the old monthly sticker system.
"The goal is to break even, so whatever we get we'll put back into the program," says Easton. "You know, fixing the striping, adding extra things for law enforcement, adding new signage."
UDOT plans to extend the toll lane to Spanish Fork once the I-15 CORE project is finished. At that time, Utah would have the longest continuous express lane in the country.
UDOT says 6,000 drivers have already signed up for the new system. That's a stark contrast to the 1,600 people who bought the monthly sticker over the past few years.
The toll-lane test starts at 6 a.m. Monday.