After years of construction and delays, the new northbound MoPac Express Lane is open and ready to drive on.
"We really tested the lane out on Tuesday evening and we saw great results for the most part through the evening rush yesterday, the lane was moving," said Steve Pustelnyk with the Central Texas Regional Mobility Authority.
"It was great. I took it from south of the river all the way to Parmer Lane," said Mike Duffee who took the new lane on Monday. "I think the traffic was slightly abated due to the holiday but not having the construction and the toll lane open it improved traffic flow."
"We did over 14,000 transactions in the toll lane yesterday and that was just short of our first-year projections so we had a very big day. During rush hour we had nearly 1800 cars in one area of the lane and that is about the maximum the lane can handle it so we're trying to manage it so we keep it below that 1800 maximum and keep traffic moving," Pustelnyk said.
On Twitter Tuesday afternoon, the satirical "Evil MoPac" tweeted "it's 5:30 and I'm feeling like myself."
But others were loving MoPac's new digs.
Chris tweeted "My one hour and 15 minute drive has been reduced to 25 minutes. Thank you CTRMA."
Lauren tweeted to Evil MoPac saying "That .85 cents took 20 minutes off my commute home. Totally worth it."
Matt responded to that: "30 minutes later I paid a dollar to sit in stop and go traffic on the 'express lane' and watch the regular lanes fly by me."
CTRMA's "Improve MoPac" account tweeted "Sorry to hear that. With the recent opening we are still perfecting the pricing algorithm to keep the lanes free flowing as much as possible."
"Just because you see a little bit of a backup on one day, don't panic, we're doing our best to try and keep traffic flowing every day," Pustelnyk said.
Basically the fluctuating tolls help manage the traffic. Pustelnyk says their system keeps up with how many cars are entering the lane. That info helps set the toll.
"Outside of peak hour we try to keep the tolls lower to encourage people to take advantage of the lane and then at peak hour the tolls go up so we make sure we don't have too many people in the lane and then we end up with congestion and that's always a fine balancing act," Pustelnyk said. "On Tuesday we peaked out at 1.68 for a full length trip so a very reasonable rate but higher than it was in the off-peak hours," Pustelnyk said.
CTRMA says the southbound lane will be open in late October or early November.