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Beat the Traffic: HOT lanes help ease commuting congestion-- for a fee

by Katherine Whaley / KHOU 11 News

khou.com

Posted on February 28, 2012 at 2:46 PM

Updated Tuesday, Feb 28 at 2:47 PM

HOUSTON—If your daily drive takes you along the Gulf Freeway, you now have a new commuting option that could get you to and from town a little faster. The I-45 HOT lanes are now open to drivers, between Dixie Farm Road and Dowling. 

Vera Hutchison has been making a commute from her home in Clear Lake to the University of Houston for more than 30 years, so she is used to bumper-to-bumper traffic on the Gulf Freeway.
“When I see it’s going to be 20 minutes to 610; that’s trouble,” Hutchison said.
Hutchison was in trouble and out of options – until now. The HOT lanes have become an option to help drivers get where they are going a little quicker than usual. It is not free, but some people are willing to pay.
“It would allow me to not be frustrated or tense about driving in,” she said. 
The designated HOV lane is open to vehicles with two occupants are more, fee-free, but drivers without passengers will have to pay for the “fast lane.”  The fee schedule varies from $1 to $4.50, and you will need an EZTag or TxTAG in order to be charged for lane use. 
The inbound HOT lane is closed to solo drivers from 7 to 8 a.m., and the outbound HOT lane is closed to solo drivers from 4 to 6 p.m.
And when it comes to what some drivers think about the price.
"I would not use it unless it is an absolute necessity," Hutchison said.
 

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