The tolling system in California is quite advanced and similar to states like Florida because of the sheer number of payment options available to motorists. As someone intending to own a car in or drive through California, you must get acquainted with the state’s tolling system, the toll roads and bridges, the toll rates, and other relevant information that will be helpful. Read on to learn more about toll payments in California.
Are there Any Tolls in California?
The short answer is yes. Any state with toll facilities charges payments for them. As a big city, California has a large network of toll roads, bridges, and express lanes. The state has several toll roads, eight toll bridges, and five express lanes. These facilities make up California’s tolling system. Let’s look at them individually and see where they’re located in the state.
California Toll Roads
South Bay Expressway (SR 125)
This road is also called state route 125. It covers a distance of roughly 36 kilometers. It’s a north-south highway in San Diego County. The connecting road runs from State Route 11 and 905 to State Route 52. This freeway also links Interstate 8, State Route 54, and 94.
State Route 133 (Eastern Toll Road)
This highway is located in Orange County and covers a distance of roughly 22 kilometers from State Route 1 through several freeways to State Route 241. This road is an expressway from State Route 73 to Laguna Canyon Road, a freeway to Interstate 5, and a tollway to State Route 242, close to the Santa Ava Mountains.
State Route 241 (Foothill Toll Road)
SR 241 is a 39.4 km-long tollway in Orange County. The southern half (the Foothill Transportation Corridor) of the road runs from Les Flores’s surroundings to Irvine. In contrast, the northern half (the Eastern Transportation Corridor) runs to State Route 91 on the Anaheim-Yorba Linda border. This highway has one of the highest elevation gains in the county, and this gives motorists driving through amazing views of the scenic landscape. A drive through the entire length of this road will take you past 12 cities and regions.
State Route 261 (Eastern Toll Road)
SR 261 is 10 km long, and it’s situated in Orange county. It connects Jamboree Road and Walnut Avenue in Irvine to State Route 241. Its entire length is parallel to the Jamboree Road.
State Route 73 (San Joaquin Hills Toll Road)
This highway covers a distance of 28.6 km, and it’s located in Orange County. Roughly 19 km of its entire length is a tollway controlled and run by the San Joaquin Hills Transportation Corridor Agency. The remaining part of the highway is part of the Corona del Mar Freeway. The road runs from Interstate 5 in San Juan Capistrano to Interstate 405 in Costa Mesa.
91 Express Lanes
This is a four-lane toll road in Orange County, covering a distance of roughly 29 km. It’s located between the interchange of State Route 55 and 91 and that of State Route 91 and Interstate 15. Part of the road occupies Riverside County as well.
Interstate 10 Express Lanes (I-10)
This road connects Santa Monica, California, to Jacksonville, Florida, over a distance of 391.6 km. It has multiple parts designated as freeways.
Interstate 110 Express Lanes (I-110)
This route is described as an auxiliary interstate and a state highway. It’s located in Los Angeles and covers a distance of 51.2 km. This road connects the Port of Los Angeles and San Pedro to Pasadena and Downtown Los Angeles.
Interstate 580 Express Lanes
This express lane covers a distance of 122 km, connecting from the San Francisco Bay Area to Southern San Joaquin as well as to Southern California through Interstate 5. The tollway section of the road runs from Pleasanton to Livermore.
Interstate 680 Express Lanes
I-680 is a north-south highway in Northern California, and it covers a distance of 113.4 km. It runs from US route 101 to State Route 237. Its length bypasses cities located on the eastern shore of the San Francisco Bay Area.
California Toll Bridges
The San Mateo-Hayward Bridge
This toll bridge connects the East Bay with the San Francisco Peninsula. Its eastern end runs into Hayward, while the western end runs into Foster City. Motorists bound for the latter will pay tolls en route. This bridge covers a distance of 27.3 km, and it runs through Pacific Grove and Peeble Beach.
The San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge
As the name implies, this bridge connects Interstate 80 from San Francisco to Oakland. This toll bridge is also referred to as the Bay Bridge. It covers a distance of 3.5 km.
The Richmond-San Rafael Bridge
This toll facility covers a distance of 8.8 km and it connects Interstate 580 from Richmond on its eastern end to San Rafael on its western end.
Golden Gate Bridge
This is the most popular toll bridge in California. It covers a distance of 2.7 km. This bridge runs from San Francisco to Marin County, carrying along State Route 1 and US Route 101. Its toll facility is along the southern end.
This is the southernmost bridge in the San Francisco Bay area. It covers a distance of 2.6 km. It’s a connecting road from Fremont to Menlo Park.
This toll bridge covers the entire Carquinez Strait. It makes up a part of Interstate 80, running from Crockett to Vallejo. The bridge is roughly 1 km long.
The Benicia-Martinez Bridge
This bridge covers three parallel bridges across the Carquinez Strait, westward of the Susun Bay. This bridge covers a distance of 2.7 km from Benicia on the north side to Martinez on the south side.
The Antioch Bridge
This 2.9 km long bridge stands out from other bridges in California because motorists, bicycle riders, and pedestrians use it. It runs across the San Joaquin River from Antioch to Sherman Island in Southern Sacramento.
How Much are Tolls in California?
This depends on the bridge, road, or means of payment. Toll booths in locations such as Antioch Bridge, Carquinez Bridge, and Benicia-Martinez Bridge charge $7 ($3.5 per peak hour). Dumbarton bridge incurs $6 ($3 during peak hours). For the Golden Gate Bridge, the toll rate is $8.05 for FastTrak users and $8.60 for those using Toll-By-Plate.
How to Pay Tolls in California?
- Online: FastTrak toll tag, which is the preferred method, or a License Plate Account
- Cash: South Bay Expressway accepts tolls in cash
- Toll-By-Plate: Accepted at SR 125, 133, 241, 261, and 73
- Via Phone: A 24/7 automated system at 877-229-8655
- Via Mail: Toll invoice or toll violation number
How to Pay Tolls Online in California?
This can be done in two ways:
- Registering for and creating a FastTrak account and installing the toll tag on your windshield
- Registering for a License Plate Account. You can pay tolls via credit card, checks, or cash.
How to Pay Missed Tolls in California?
If you miss a toll payment in California, the government sends a toll invoice within 30 days to your mail. This invoice will contain the toll fee, the administrative fee, and instructions on how to pay the toll.
California has a beautiful tolling system with a unique toll transponder for automatic payments (FastTrak). It’s the most popular and preferred method in the state because its usage comes with a discount, saving motorists a substantial amount of money in the long run.