• The Star Staff

Dynamic toll lanes open on PR-52 expressway

Gov’t says $130 million project will save up to 30 minutes of travel time

By Pedro Correa Henry

Twitter: @pete_r_correa

Special to The Star

The Transportation and Public Works Department (DTOP by its Spanish acronym) and the Highways and Transportation Authority (ACT by its Spanish initials) on Tuesday inaugurated the Dynamic Toll Lanes (DTLs) on the PR-52 Expressway with the purpose of relieving traffic congestion during peak hours.

The DTLs are available for use for those drivers willing to pay a fare ranging from 50 cents to $6, depending on traffic volume.

At a press conference held along the aforementioned expressway, Gov. Pedro Pierluisi Urrutia, along with DTOP Secretary-designate Eileen Vélez Vega and Caguas Mayor William Miranda Torres, said the $130 million investment will allow drivers to save up to 30 minutes of travel time, thus providing greater safety.

Furthermore, he said, the DTLs are expected to generate $6 million in yearly revenue.

“It’s never too late when the going gets good,” said the governor. “The traffic from Caguas to San Juan is indeed complicated, particularly for many of our citizens who travel to the metropolitan area to work and run errands, and live in Caguas and other neighboring towns.”

The DTLs begin in the median of PR-52 and PR-18, near the Río Piedras Medical Center, and extend to the intersection of PR-52 and PR-30 in Caguas for a total distance of 8.7 miles (14 kilometers). In the morning, the toll lanes will open en route to San Juan from Caguas, while in the afternoon, they will be available in the opposite direction.

“This means that, during peak traffic hours, two additional lanes will be open; those who use them will pay their fare, while those who don’t will [be part of a] reduced number of vehicles on the expressway anyhow,” said Pierluisi, who was joined by former Gov. Alejandro García Padilla and ex-DTOP chiefs Carlos Pesquera and Carlos Contreras. “Everyone, and I mean everyone, will notice the improvement.”

“This is the result that comes from teamwork,” the governor added.

Vélez Vega, meanwhile, announced that the DTLs will have an economic development impact of 2,300 direct and indirect jobs and over $60 million in salaries.

“This system guarantees, for a dynamic fee, free flow of continuous traffic of 50-55 miles per hour,” she said. “It is called dynamic because the use of the toll is adjusted in price according to the number of vehicles allowed and that these always maintain the flow without stopping.”

As for the fare range, the DTOP secretary-designate said the rate drops as vehicle demand decreases.

ACT Executive Director Edwin González Montalvo said in a press release that the DTLs provide “greater safety and, thus, improving the quality of life.”

“It is also indicated that it has a positive impact on the environment by reducing gas and energy emissions, thereby improving air quality,” González Montalvo said.

For emergency situations, there are five emergency exits distributed along the express lanes with gates that open for the exit of vehicles.

It is important to remember that in order to use the express lane, drivers must have their Autoexpreso stamp, just as when using the regular toll lanes.