Commuters pleased with new FasTrak lanes

CORONA, Calif. People who take the 241 Toll Road pay extra for the convenience.

"It gets me going where I'm going a lot faster," said driver Kristie Bachmayer.

Officials say the commute should get even smoother with the official opening of an extra FasTrak lane in each direction through the Windy Ridge Toll Plaza, extending about one mile.

Eighty percent of drivers use transponders in their vehicles to pay electronically so they don't have to stop. But the drivers who paid with cash slowed down traffic to get over into the toll booth lane.

"Traffic flow will be improved because drivers will not need to make as many lane changes in transitioning between the Windy Ridge Toll Plaza and 91 Freeway connectors," said Anaheim City Councilmember Lucille Kring.

"It saved us time and it's a nice drive," said driver Ted Thompson. "You get to see a pretty view and it saves gas in my opinion."

"I think it's great," said Bachmayer. "I would just like to know where all of the money is going."

Officials say the new lanes cost $9.8 million, but taxpayers did not have to foot the bill.

"These lanes were funded purely from toll revenue," said Orange County Transportation Corridor Agency Chairman Peter Herzog. The OCTCA oversees the toll road system in the county.

Some argue the new lanes don't really help with traffic congestion on the 91 eastbound from the 241 Toll Road, but help will soon be on the way. Caltrans will break ground Tuesday on a new eastbound lane on the 91 Freeway from the 241 Toll Road to Route 71.

That lane is expected to open by the end of 2010.

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