Use of the eastbound Artesia Freeway experimental commuter lane to relieve afternoon rush-hour traffic has been extended two hours, state Department of Transportation officials announced. The new hours of operation are from 1 until 8 p.m. Monday through Friday. Previously, they were from 2 to 7 p.m.
In addition, dual automated message signs are operating along the eight-mile experimental car-pool lane. Automation eliminates the need for Caltrans personnel to manually change the signs in the median shoulder every afternoon. The median shoulder serves as an emergency lane during all other hours.
The automated signs have a red "X" signal indicating emergency use only and a green arrow showing commuter lane use. The new automated signs, which make it easier for motorists to understand when the median shoulder in open for use as a commuter lane, cost $550,000.
The Artesia Freeway commuter lane pilot project opened in June, 1985. It extends eight miles on the eastbound Route 91 between Central Avenue in Compton and the San Gabriel River (605) Freeway in Cerritos.
The lane is designed for buses, car pools and van pools carrying two or more passengers. More than 11,000 people travel the special lane during the peak time of day, contrasted with the more than 9,000 who often sit in stop-and-go traffic, according to the latest Caltrans data.