After a four-year construction headache on a project that went tens of millions of dollars over budget, the rest of the northbound MoPac Boulevard toll lane will open Saturday morning. Here are five things to know about this different sort of tollway.
What’s opening? The northbound toll lane will open about 8 a.m. from north of Lady Bird Lake to a spot about halfway between RM 2222 and Far West Boulevard. The rest of the northbound toll lane, from that spot north of RM 2222 to near Parmer Lane, opened a year ago.
The toll rates vary? Yes, as often as every five minutes, based on sensors and cameras that will gauge the level of traffic in both the toll lane and the three free lanes alongside. The tolls will go up as traffic thickens and down as traffic thins, with the goal of using supply and demand to maintain free flow in the toll lane at a minimum speed of 45 mph.
How will I know the toll? There are signs showing the current toll about a half-mile upstream of the first toll lane entry, on both West Cesar Chavez Street and MoPac coming from South Austin, as well as before the second segment near Far West. The minimum electronic toll tag rate will be 25 cents for each of the two toll lane segments, or 50 cents total.
Is a toll tag required? No. Just as with other Austin-area tollways, those without an electronic toll tag will be billed by mail, based on a photo taken of their license plate. But the charge in that case is a third higher and carries an administrative fee.
What about the southbound toll lane? It is expected to open in late October or early November.