QDOT considering adding free express lanes to U-4 between U-304 and U-104, making local lanes toll

QUENTINSBURGH- Drivers in Quentinsburgh may soon have another new toll to have to deal with. However, this toll would only affect those traveling within the city.

The Quentins Department of Transportation has unveiled plans for new free express lanes on Unionway 4 between the U-304 (just north of downtown) and the U-104 (the inner loop). These new express lanes would have no access to the exits along that stretch and would act as a bypass. The exits would be accessible by local toll lanes only (the existing lanes will become toll lanes). This way, those traveling through Quentinsburgh but not stopping would not have to pay, while local residents specifically trying to use those exits would pay a toll.

This is almost the exact opposite of what most cities worldwide have done with express lanes, as most cities have tolls on the express lanes and no tolls on the local lanes. However, Quentinsburgh’s plan has another goal besides revenue- increased usage of public transit and reduced car reliance.

The extension of U-4 in question runs almost the exact same route as QLine Metro line 5. In fact, there are only about 3 major exits along the entire 10km extension, plus a few more along the end of U-104 for better access to the Quentins Point Harbor, while line 5 serves the area with many more stations. That’s not even including other nearby routes like Metro line 1 on Capitol West (many drivers use U-4 as an alternative to crowded Capitol Blvd West) and the several area bus routes.

The QDOT chose to not go any farther south with these toll plans than the start of the U-304 as to not interfere with access to QSU (Quentins State International University) and Downtown Quentinsburgh traffic. Likewise they chose not to go further north than the U-104 loop due to the lack of public transportation alternatives in the mostly rural exit-less area north of the loop. They chose to only put tolls on local lanes as to not disrupt long distance travel; however, they have not ruled out the possibility of adding tolls to the entire roadway later on as improvements to high speed intercity rail service continue. (The QDOT is helping FreeTrak and the MetroWest commuter rail upgrade to high speed rail between Laneston, Vandover, Quentinsburgh, Trenchent, Franklinsburgh and other major cities, and as service improves most inter-city Unionways will likely become toll roads.)

Construction could begin as soon as late January on the new toll lanes.

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