El Paso drivers will soon be able to get on the city's first toll lanes.
The Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) is finishing construction on the nine mile stretch of toll lanes on Loop 375 from about the Zaragoza Port of Entry Exit to U.S. 54.
The lanes should open for drivers by late December or early January, according to Raymond Telles, the Executive Director of the Camino Real Regional Mobility Authority (CRRMA). The CRRMA will operate the lanes.
TxDOT has expanded the border highway to allow for the toll lanes in the middle of the highway. Drivers will pay 10 cents per mile or 90 cents for the entire 9 mile stretch.
The CRRMA will set up a website where drivers can buy tags with transponders for their vehicles. Gantries will scan the vehicle tags when a driver gets on the toll lanes. Then an account connected to the tags will be electronically and automatically charged.
Drivers who don't purchase a tag and drive into the toll lanes will be billed through the mail and charged double the rate. A camera will capture the vehicle license plates. Double white lines will separate the regular lanes from the toll lanes.
"Over time, folks on I-10 will actually come down and use Loop 375 which honestly they're using already. Once the construction is done, we're going to be pulling more folks of I-10 which will free up some of the congestion there and then the general purpose non-toll lanes will be freed up by people moving into the toll lanes," said Telles.
To prevent Mexican drivers from using the toll lanes without paying, the CRRMA is working on a system to monitor habitual violators and send their information to the ports of entry so when they try to cross back, El Paso Police can be called.