The North Texas TEXpress Lanes system will more than double in size by the end of next year, as the Texas Department of Transportation continues to add managed toll lanes throughout the region.
"What we're really trying to do is connect all the Metroplex so that someone can get from the east to the west, the north to the south in a predicable travel time," said TxDOT spokeswoman Lisa Walzl.
Right now, there are 50 miles of TEXpress Lanes in North Texas, with 70 more miles scheduled to be added before the end of 2018.
The integrated system of managed lanes – many of them converted from underused HOV lanes – allows drivers who use them to go at least 50 miles an hour.
"As these lanes become more congested, the price goes up," Walzl said. "That encourages some people to get out of the lanes. Once the lanes start having less traffic in them, the price goes down. That then encourages more people to come in them."
The dynamic pricing seems to work, even for those who don't pay the price.
"Not only are those cars in those TEXpress Lanes moving at a 50, 60, 75 mile an hour clip," said Robert Hinkle, with the North Tarrant Express project, "The congestion on those general purpose lanes, even during peak, has been reduced by 60 to 70 percent depending on the time of day and what corridor you're on."
Drivers say the managed toll lanes make a big difference, shaving precious minutes off their commutes.
"When (Loop) 820 turns north, the regular lanes get really backed up and slow down, and I'm still going 75 (miles per hour), so I bypass all that. It's really awesome," said driver Shane Glasgow, of Addison, who often takes the TEXpress Lanes to visit his sister in Fort Worth.
Before the end of 2017, TEXpress Lanes will open along the 35Express project north of Interstate 635 in Dallas and Denton counties, the North Tarrant Express project along Interstate 35W in Tarrant County and the Midtown Express along State Highway 114 in Dallas County.