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Answers to your questions about the tollway plan
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Published: 11/20/2008 7:32 PM

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Here are typical questions and answers related to the tollway's new Green Lanes project:

Q: Who will be able to drive in the Green Lanes?

A: All drivers will be allowed to use Green Lanes if they are willing to pay high tolls. Drivers of high mile-per-gallon vehicles will pay slightly higher-than-normal tolls and all carpoolers will be allowed in at normal toll rates.

Q: How much will I have to pay?

A: Tollway officials are still working on that and probably won't have set rates until the pilot project is constructed in 2010. In other cities, lone drivers are charged several dollars. The toll rate will vary depending on congestion in the other lanes.

Q: What efficient vehicles or hybrids will qualify?

A: The tollway hasn't decided that yet. Officials have noted that many SUV hybrids get far fewer miles per gallon than four-cylinder economy cars.

Q: Where will these lanes go?

A: They will take up the far left lane. The first Green Lane will likely go in a high traffic area on I-294 or I-88, but officials haven't yet designated a specific location. Most Chicago-area tollway sections have been targeted for Green Lake studies.

Q: Will this increase congestion in the remaining three lanes?

A: Tollway officials don't believe that will happen. They plan to adjust the system so that overall congestion is reduced by increasing the number of carpoolers and encouraging people to drive smaller, more efficient vehicles. Similar projects have been praised in other cities as a success.

Q: Why is the tollway doing this?

A: Looking forward, tollway officials believe congestion will continue to increase while the room to expand highways will remain limited. Tollway chairman John Mitola pointed out Thursday that to widen the Tri-State, I-294, again would require all new bridges, a cost-prohibitive obstacle.

Q: How will cheaters be caught?

A: Tollway officials aren't really sure yet. But they say camera enforcement, police stings and special registrations will probably play a role.