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VTA Express Lanes: U.S. 101 Express Lanes Project

NEW - View the Environmental Documents for the U.S. 101 Express Lanes Project  (Draft Initial Study/Environmental Assessment (IS/EA) and Notice of Intent to Adopt a Mitigated Negative Declaration.)  
NEW - Copy of U.S. 101 mailer
NEW - Download meeting presentation and boards/posters

NEW - Download aerial map of corridor 
NEW - Download traffic speeds display boards (North Bound and South Bound)
Cover of Environmental document


Notice of Availability of Draft Initial Study/Environmental Assessment (IS/EA) and Notice of Intent to Adopt a Mitigated Negative Declaration.
The California Department of Transportation (Caltrans), in cooperation with the Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority (VTA), is proposing to convert the existing high occupancy vehicle (HOV) lane to a high occupancy toll (HOT) lane (also referred to as an express lane) and widen the freeway to add a second express lane in both directions for the majority of the corridor. Use of the HOV Lanes is currently restricted to vehicles with two or more occupants, motorcycles, and certain alternative fuel vehicles. The proposed project will result in a dual express lane in both directions from south of the Cochrane Road interchange in Morgan Hill to just south of the Oregon Expressway/Embarcadero Road interchange in Palo Alto in the northbound direction, and from just south of the Oregon Expressway/Embarcadero Road interchange to just south of the Burnett Avenue overcrossing in the southbound direction, with the exception of some locations near the State Route 85 interchange where a single express lane is proposed. Auxiliary lanes would be added in four segments of U.S. 101. The express lanes would allow HOVs to continue to use the lanes without paying a toll, and eligible single occupancy vehicles to pay a toll to use the lanes. The total project length is 37.65 miles.

Caltrans and VTA have studied the effects this project may have on the environment. The studies show it will not significantly affect the quality of the environment; the report that explains why is called a Draft Initial Study/ Environmental Assessment with a proposed Mitigated Negative Declaration (IS/EA). This notice is to inform you of the report’s availability for review, the comment period, and the upcoming public open house meetings. All meetings will provide the same information.

January 22, 2015 - 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.
Mountain View City Council Chambers
500 Castro Street, Mountain View, CA 94041
This location is served by VTA Bus Lines 22, 34, 35, 51, 52, 522, and VTA Light Rail.
January 28, 2015 - 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.
VTA Downtown Customer Service Center
55-A W. Santa Clara Street, San Jose, CA 95113
This location is served by VTA Bus Lines, 22, 63, 66, 68, 72, 73, 81, 82, 522 and VTA Light Rail.
February 4, 2015 - 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.
Southside Community Center
5585 Cottle Road, San Jose, CA 95123
This location is served by VTA Bus Lines 27, 66 and 68.
The Draft IS/EA and technical studies, and air quality conformity information is available for public review online at The Draft IS/EA is also available at the following locations during regular business hours:

  • Caltrans District 4, 111 Grand Ave., Oakland, CA 94612

  • VTA Administrative Offices, 3331 N. First St., Bldg. B Lobby, San Jose, CA 95134

  • VTA Customer Service Center, 55-A W. Santa Clara St., San Jose, CA 95113

  • Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Library, 150 E. San Fernando St., San Jose, CA 95112

  • City of Morgan Hill Library, 660 W. Main Ave., Morgan Hill, CA 95037

  • City of Mountain View Library, 585 Franklin St., Mtn. View, CA 94041

  • Palo Alto Library, 1213 Newell Rd., Palo Alto, CA 94303

  • Santa Clara Library, 2635 Homestead Rd., Santa Clara, CA 95051

  • City of Sunnyvale Library, 665 West Olive Ave., Sunnyvale, CA 94086


Do you have comments or concerns regarding the environmental analysis of the project? Do you have information that should be included? Written comments on the environmental document may be submitted no later than February 26, 2015 via email to or via regular mail to: Sean Poirier, Office of Environmental Analysis P.O. Box 23660, MS-8B, Oakland, CA 94623
CONTACT: For more information about the Draft IS/EA, call Sean Poirier, Caltrans, at (510) 286-5701 or Roy Molseed, VTA, at (408) 321-5789.
Individuals who require language translation, American Sign Language, or other assistance are requested to contact VTA Community Outreach at (408) 321-7575, TTY (408) 321-2330, at least five (5) business days before the public information meeting. All meeting facilities are accessible to persons with disabilities.


The US 101 Express Lanes Project is the central corridor in the Silicon Valley Express Lanes Program being implemented by the Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority (VTA). US 101 in Santa Clara County extends 52 miles from San Benito to San Mateo, providing north and south gateways into Silicon Valley. This stretch of highway serves as an important trade corridor between the Central Valley, Central Coast, and the San Francisco Bay Area. The highway also connects commuters to technology and professional service industries in Santa Clara County.

Solo drivers will have the option of paying a toll to use the express lanes during commute hours. Carpools with two or more occupants, motorcycles, transit buses, and clean air vehicles with applicable decals will continue to use the express lanes free of charge.

This project will convert 36 miles on US 101 to express lanes and a second express lane will be added for the majority of the corridor. From Dunne Avenue in Morgan Hill to the San Mateo County line, the second express lane will provide a two-lane facility within urbanized segments. The US 101 express lanes will connect with the SR 85 express lanes in San Jose and convert US 101/SR 85 HOV direct connectors in Mountain View to express lane connectors. Access points will include all major freeways: I-280, I-680, I-880, SR 87, SR 237, and potentially county expressways and other major arterials.

Project Map

  1. Express lanes are separated from regular lanes by a white double-line painted buffer.
  2. Electronic signs display the current toll for solo drivers who have accounts with FasTrak. Tolls will vary based on the level of congestion and will be adjusted to maintain free-flowing traffic.
  3. An overhead antenna reads FasTrak transponders and the correct toll is automatically deducted from prepaid FasTrak accounts: No toll booths, no slowing.

Project Benefits

  • Increase efficiency of existing roadway: Existing carpool lanes, which will be converted to express lanes, may have the available capacity to accommodate more vehicles. More efficient use of existing roadways is accomplished by encouraging transit and carpools and allowing solo drivers to pay a fee to access express lanes.
  • Fast, reliable travel: Through the use of dynamic pricing, VTA can manage the amount of traffic in the express lanes and maintain free-flowing speeds even when the general purpose lanes are congested. Motorists who choose to use the express lanes will benefit from more reliable travel times.
  • Revenue reinvested in the corridor: Revenue from tolls will maintain the facility, enhance transit improvements and provide enforcement by the California Highway Patrol.


Mid 2015:  Project approval and environmental documents complete
Mid 2015:  Begin final design pending funding
Late 2018:  Open express lanes for service pending funding
U.S. 101 Express Lanes Project Factsheet
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