San Diego toll roads
San Diego, home to Legoland and SeaWorld and one of the major California cities draws a lot of tourists every year. Its miles of inspiring beaches and amazing attractions are the main reasons why the city is fairly congested. Driving in traffic and finding somewhere to park may be difficult for travelers. If you are planning a trip to San Diego, you should definitely get ready for the San Diego roads. The first thing to get familiar with is San Diego toll roads – we’ve prepared a helpful one-stop guide to make this easier for you.
How many toll roads are there in San Diego?
San Diego has six north-south freeways and six east-west freeways. The city is one of California’s major metropolitan areas, and the freeways contribute to keeping the traffic flowing. Most people admit that it is relatively easy to navigate downtown when driving to the city because San Diego is laid out on a grid and its streets follow a numbering and lettering system, which makes it pretty simple to figure out where you are and what direction you need to go in. When it comes to toll roads, there are only two of them in San Diego:
The express lanes on Interstate 15
The official name of the toll road is I-15 Value Pricing Project, San Diego California. The road connects Escondido with San Diego (near the Mexican border). It is 20 miles (32 km) long and it’s one of the busiest roads in California. Besides San Diego, I-15 serves the cities of San Bernardino, Las Vegas, St. George, Ogden, Pocatello, Idaho Falls, Salt Lake City, Provo, Butte, Great Falls, and Helena. The road was built to connect the Inland Empire with San Diego and at the same time, provide access to the Arizona Strip. Right after I-15 was built, California, Utah, Idaho, and Nevada have consistently ranked as the fastest-growing areas of the US. I-15 provides a major link between the interior of Canada, Southern California, Mexico, and some transcontinental corridors. It’s an extremely busy highway, frequently backing up with traffic on holiday weekends in the Mojave Desert.
The cost of using the express lanes on I-15 varies. The rate is based on current traffic conditions and distance traveled. The maximum pass fee is $8 and the minimum is $0.50. It’s a perfect road for travelers who don’t mind paying to avoid traffic and have smoother and faster travel.
The South Bay Expressway
One of the newer roads in the San Diego area, the South Bay Expressway was built as an ‘outer loop’ to bypass San Diego to the east. Most of the road is a freeway; however, from SR-54 to just north of SR-905 it is a toll road. SBX (the South Bay Expressway) is a 9.2-mile extension of SR 125. It stretches from San Miguel Road in Bonita, California, to SR 905 in Otay Mesa (the largest area of industrial-zoned land in San Diego County) near the International Border. The toll road connects the only commercial port of entry in San Diego to the regional freeway network. It completes the missing link in San Diego’s third north-south freeway corridor. The construction started in 2002 and was completed in November 2007.
The South Bay Expressway greatly reduced traffic congestion on local streets in Bonita and Chula Vista, as well as on the parallel I-5 and I-805. Also, the increased access between various areas (residential, commercial, and industrial) has created value for multiple companies. The shipping time to local markets was reduced. Especially 10 miles of express tollway is a state-of-the-art toll road that uses electronic toll collection technologies that enables driving through toll plazas at normal highway speeds thanks to FasTrak electronic transponders.
The San Diego-Coronado Bridge doesn’t have tolls. It is quite easy to drive within San Diego County without paying tolls at all.
How to pay toll roads in San Diego
It is extremely easy to pay for San Diego toll roads. All of them accept FasTrak electronic payments. Tolls are collected electronically, so you don’t have to stop at toll booths and pay cash. You can pay tolls within five days before and five days after driving the toll roads. To use FasTrak, you need to open an account and deposit money and then you will receive a transponder. It should be put on your windshield so that tolls can be deducted automatically without having to stop and pay tolls. On the South Bay Expressway, you can also pay with cash and with a credit card. To pay with cash, you should visit the online toll payment and select ‘Cash’ on the payment screen. Then, you should present the barcode to the store clerk at a participating location.
The quickest and simplest way to pay a toll in San Diego is by using a toll road app like Uproad. It’s an intuitive and user-friendly mobile application that allows you to manage all toll payments with just a few clicks, add multiple vehicles, and manage payments for toll roads in other states.
What if you’ve missed a toll in San Diego?
If you don’t pay a toll on time, you will receive a violation notice. Unfortunately, you will also be charged a penalty fee; however, if this is your first time driving without paying, you will only receive the notice including information on how to pay the toll. The tolls and violations can be quickly paid online via the appropriate agency’s website.