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Home>Projects and Programs>Highway>VTA Express Lanes: U.S. 101 Express Lanes Project

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

The Draft Initial Study/Environmental Assessment (IS/EA) public comment period officially closed on February 26, 2015.

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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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