Plan could open up HOV lanes on Hwy. 75 most of the time

There’s a plan to ease congestion for drivers between parts of Dallas and Collin counties along the Central Expressway.

The idea aims to improve the flow of traffic on Highway 75 by opening up the HOV lanes to all drivers between Interstate 635 in Dallas and the Sam Rayburn Tollway in Allen.

Studies show the HOV lanes there are underused and ineffective. Collin County leaders want to open them up as general purpose lanes to keep up with the rapid growth in the county.

“It used to be just a two-way highway years ago. It’s so many people here, though. It needs more highway,” said Judge McGee Jr.

But because the HOV lanes were built with funding from an air quality improvement program, federal law prevents leaders from opening them up completely.

The compromise would be a small toll fee for southbound drivers during select hours weekday mornings and for northbound drivers in the evenings. Anyone with two or more people in their vehicle would not be charged.

There’s still no timeline for the change. County leaders must finish up an environmental study and hope to have the change in effect at some point this year.