Extra Lane Cuts Travel Time

An experimental car-pool lane added to the eastbound Artesia Freeway during afternoon congestion has reduced travel time for drivers in all lanes, according to the California Highway Patrol and the state Department of Transportation.

Officials said drivers in the four regular lanes have been able to save 5 to 7 minutes in traveling the 8-mile stretch, while car-pool lane drivers save 8 to 10 minutes. The special lane is open from Central Avenue in Compton to the San Gabriel River Freeway.

The lane, added June 10, was carved out of the existing emergency lane with a double yellow line separating it from regular traffic. The lane is open from 3 to 7 p.m. weekdays to buses and vehicles carrying two or more people. About 1,200 to 1,300 vehicles per hour are using the lane, said CHP Lt. Bill Russell.

"The lane is working better than expected. The time saved is significant," said Russell.

"We have also been pleased that accidents have not increased" because of the new lane, added Russell, commander of traffic operations for the CHP's Southern Division.

Single-vehicle violators are ranging between 4% and 10%, which is about the same as other traffic violations, the CHP said.

If the one-year demonstration project is successful, similar lanes could be opened to relieve rush-hour traffic on other freeways.

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