A number of North Texas drivers are learning there's a price for progress, and some are paying for it without even knowing it.
The confusion is at the end of the newly-opened TEXpress lanes in North Dallas.
Issues stemming from the lanes bugged some drivers so much that they turned to FOX 4's Saul Garza for help.
The LBJ TEXpress lanes are supposed to ease traffic congestion and make life easier for drivers willing to pay for that convenience.
Right now, only about three and a half miles are open, but they're already causing confusion.
The confusion is at the T.I. Boulevard on-and-off ramps on the north side of 635.
Before drivers get on the ramp, they encounter a sign, reading, "West Express – Toll," next to another one reading, "635 Only," which doesn't say whether drivers pay or not.
Once on the one-lane ramp, drivers see two other puzzling signs, pointing them in two different directions.
And up ahead, overhead signs indicate that if you go west, you pay a toll, and if you go east, you can get in the free HOV lane or eastbound LBJ Freeway.
But drivers are being charged a 25 cent toll for simply using the ramp to go eastbound.
"They have a sensor going on the ramp, and a sensor coming off the ramp, so it's more of like, OK, like what's with all the sensors, right?" said one driver.
Those going west on the regular lanes of 635 can exit TI Boulevard at no charge.
But those on the free HOV lane have no choice but to use the now-tolled T.I. Boulevard off-ramp.
"I don't like it," said another driver. "I wish they would give us a heads up because we're being charged and don't even know it."
TxDOT says that in 2008, the Federal Highway Administration gave the state the option of making the T.I. Boulevard ramps part of the managed lane system when it deemed it necessary.
Even though the TEXpress lanes don't go beyond a certain point east, the decision was made to make the previously-free ramps tolls.
The day after FOX 4 contacted TxDOT and the LBJ Express, the confusing signs on the ramp were removed.
The ones on T.I. Boulevard were re-arranged to hopefully clear things up for drivers.
As for the tolls to use the ramps, those charges will stay.
That means T.I. employees who, for years have been used to driving those ramps for free, must now either pay up or find an alternate route to work.
If you have something that's bugging you, contact Saul at 214-468-7458.
KDFW FOX 4
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