VACAVILLE (CBS13) — Caltrans has broken ground on a $243 million project to add express lanes along I-80 between Vacaville and Fairfield to ease traffic.

The express lanes will be added on the east side of I-80 from the Air Base Parkway overcrossing in Fairfield to the Leisure Town Road overcrossing in Vacaville. Additionally, existing carpool lanes will be converter to express lanes on the west side of I-80 from west of Red Top Road to east of the Air Base Parkway overcrossing.

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“We’re trying to change behavior, for you to carpool, for you to be more efficient, and we know these express lanes work,” said Alfred Pedroza, the chair of the Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC). “We have some new express lanes in Alameda County. They are moving 18 miles faster than the normal lanes.”

The MTC looks over the planning and overall impact of such projects in the San Francisco Bay Area region, which includes part of Solano County.

“It’s not just having 18 miles in Solano County. It’s how does it connect to Yolo County? How does it connect to Contra Costa County? It’s having that global vision to improve the efficiency and to make it easier to travel on the roadways,” Pedroza said.

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So what’s the difference between carpool and express lanes?

Unlike carpool lanes, express lanes can be actively managed. Single-person vehicles that cannot use the carpool lane can use the express lane and pay a per-use toll via FasTrak. Signs will display toll rates to different destinations based on traffic flow.

It helps commuters get to and from work and home and aid first responders.

“When you talk bout emergency crews — vehicles trying to get to where they need to go — this will definitely help them out to use that express lane to access whether there is a crash on the highway, whether they are responding to a wildfire in the area,” Pedroza said.

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The project is expected to take three years to complete. It will be funded through SB-1, the road repair and accountability act of 2017.