Proposed Express Lane Tollway in Sacramento

Home » Proposed Express Lane Tollway in Sacramento
November 20, 2023
Edward Smith

Caltrans Suggests Sacramento’s First Tollway to Address Traffic 

Caltrans has unveiled an ambitious proposal for the Sacramento area’s first-ever tollway to alleviate traffic congestion and address the region’s growing commute woes. The proposed toll express lanes, stretching 18 miles in both directions, would span from West Sacramento to Davis, providing commuters with an alternative route to tackle the daily traffic grind.

A Solution to Traffic Woes

The envisioned toll express lanes would cover two major routes – Interstate 80 and Highway 50. On Interstate 80, they would extend from the Solano-Yolo County line in Davis to West El Camino Avenue in Sacramento. Meanwhile, on Highway 50, the toll lanes would stretch from the I-80/Highway 50 junction in West Sacramento to the Highway 50/I-5 junction in Sacramento.

Commuters in the Sacramento region have long been grappling with heavy traffic and extended commuting times. Caltrans acknowledges drivers’ frustrations and says they need to do something to improve that thoroughfare and the commute.

The Tollway Proposal

The proposed tollway on the causeway would mirror the toll express lanes in the Bay Area and Southern California. Caltrans aims to add one traffic lane for the toll express lanes in both directions. The goal is to keep traffic flowing smoothly and encourage more drivers and buses to switch to these lanes from the existing ones.

Besides expanding road capacity, Caltrans intends to improve park-and-ride facilities to promote vanpooling and carpooling. Furthermore, they plan to enhance the existing bike lanes, hoping to encourage more people to opt for two wheels over four.

Project Timeline and Public Engagement

Caltrans faces a crucial decision point, as they must decide by the fall of 2024. Failure to do so could result in losing millions of dollars of a federal grant earmarked for the project.

Caltrans is committed to engaging with the public and stakeholders throughout decision-making. They encourage feedback on the Draft Environmental Impact Report, and the project’s review period extends until January 5, 2024.

To facilitate public engagement and answer questions, Caltrans will organize public meetings at the following locations:

  • November 28: Community Center, 1075 West Capitol Ave., West Sacramento
  • December 13: Mary L Stephens Davis Branch Library, 315 E. 14th St., Davis, with meetings scheduled from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m.

Caltrans’ proposal for the first Sacramento tollway represents a significant step toward addressing traffic congestion in the region. As the project progresses, it remains essential for the public and stakeholders to actively participate in the decision-making process to ensure that the proposed tollway aligns with the needs and preferences of the community it serves.

The video, provided by KCRA 3, covers the proposed tollway project on the Sacramento-Davis causeway.

Analyzing the Pros and Cons of Tollways

While the proposal garners support from some, skepticism surrounds the $465 million project, with specific drivers harboring doubts about its potential benefits. They are wary of additional costs and believe Californians are already burdened with high expenses. Below are the advantages and disadvantages of a tollway.


  • Funding for Infrastructure: Tollways can provide a dedicated funding source for constructing, maintaining, and improving transportation infrastructure. This revenue can help address the infrastructure funding gap, ensuring that roads and highways remain safe and well-maintained.
  • Traffic Management: Tollways can help manage traffic congestion by providing an option for drivers willing to pay for a faster, less congested route. This can lead to smoother traffic flow on the toll road and adjacent non-toll routes.
  • Choice for Commuters: Tollways offer drivers a choice. Those prioritizing speed and convenience can opt for the toll lanes, while others can choose alternate routes or public transportation. This flexibility can help cater to diverse commuting needs and preferences.


  • Cost to Drivers: Toll fees can add up quickly, especially for commuters who rely on these roads daily. This expense can strain household budgets and disproportionately affect low-income individuals who may have to divert a significant portion of their income toward toll payments.
  • Traffic Diversion: Tollways can lead to traffic diversion onto alternate, non-toll routes. Drivers seeking to avoid tolls may choose to take longer, less efficient routes, leading to increased congestion on local roads. This traffic diversion can negatively impact the communities along these routes, as increased traffic can result in more wear and tear on infrastructure and reduced quality of life for residents.
  • Equity Concerns: Tollways can raise equity concerns as they may disproportionately impact certain demographic groups. Low-income individuals may be more affected by toll costs, creating disparities in access to efficient transportation.

Northern California Personal Injury Lawyer

I’m Ed Smith, a Sacramento Personal Injury Lawyer. We have been dedicated to advocating for our client’s rights and securing fair compensation since 1982. Our track record of success is a testament to our commitment to justice, and we stand ready to extend our support to injured individuals. If you or a loved one is facing the aftermath of an accident, we invite you to contact us at (916) 921-6400 or (800) 404-5400 for a free consultation.

Photo by Matthew Henry on Unsplash

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