A small, but curious crowd attended a public meeting Thursday evening in Fremont to learn details about a proposed high occupancy vehicle/express lane project that would slice through the city on northbound Interstate 680.
Officials from the California Department of Transportation and the Alameda County Transportation Commission were on hand to answer questions about the 15-mile project that would follow the freeway from just south of the State Route 237 interchange in Milpitas to State Route 84 near Sunol in unincorporated Alameda County.
Express lanes give solo drivers the ability to pay a toll in order to use a lane normally used by carpoolers. Express lanes are already available on southbound I-680 between SR 84 and SR 237. The construction of those lanes began in fall 2008 and was completed in 2011, according to the Caltrans website.
Regional Project manager Emily Landin-Lowe said the $200 million project is still in the environmental planning stage and that Thursday’s meeting was part of the process.
The meeting, which attracted more than a dozen community members, took place in an auditorium at Chadbourne Elementary School. Visitors had a chance to inspect more than a dozen maps, charts and informational signs that explained how the project, called the I-680 Northbound HOV Express Lane Project would be built and how planners would address environmental concerns.
Several project planners also were on hand to answer questions and address concerns from visitors about specific elements of the project including road and bridge widening, and the modification of overcrossings and connecting ramps.
Other major elements of the project, According to Alameda CTC, include:
- Addition of the express lanes
- Construction of auxiliary lanes for connecting on-ramps and off ramps at Jacklin Road, Scott Creek Road, Mission Boulevard, Durham Road, Washington Boulevard and Mission Boulevard
- Modification of overcrossing and undercrossing of structures
- Demolition and replacement of Sheridan Road overcrossing
- Widening of Alameda Creek Bridge
- Installation of electric tolling equipment and signage
- Modification of existing ramp metering equipment.
The next step in the process is to include public input from this and other meetings held in communities along the project corridor into a draft environmental impact report. Landin-Lowe said it’s too early to set a specific date for completing the project until environmental concerns are solved and construction has started.