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I-495 Beltway Express Lanes to Open as Early as Nov. 17

High occupancy toll lanes were originally scheduled to open in December.

Local commuters could be getting to work faster even sooner than originally thought.

The I-495 Express Lanes could open as early as Nov. 17, the Virginia Department of Transportation announced Wednesday. The high occupancy toll lanes were originally scheduled to open in December.

The 14-mile stretch of highway-within-a-highway allows commuters to pay a toll (or carpool and avoid the toll) to use express lanes between the Springfield interchange and just north of the Dulles Toll Road.

Commuters will need an E-ZPass to pay tolls, or they will need an E-ZPass Flex to use while carpooling with at least three people in their vehicle.

“Dynamic pricing based on real-time traffic conditions manages the demand for the lanes, keeping the Express Lanes moving,” according to the VDOT release. “The 14-mile Express Lanes will be free for carpoolers with three or more people with an E-ZPass Flex, buses, motorcycles and emergency vehicles. Other drivers may pay a toll for a faster, more predictable trip. Drivers will lock in their rate when they enter the lanes and pay tolls electronically with E-ZPass.”

Drivers should expect to pay somewhere between $3 and $6 for a roundtrip on the Express lanes in rush hour and $1 to $2 during less congested periods.

More information on the Express Lanes is available at www.495ExpressLanes.com.

Also see:

I-495 Express Lanes Nearing Completion

Fizban November 13, 2012 at 01:04 PM
Well Well another lane to grid lock
No Toll Increase November 14, 2012 at 08:46 PM
Hopefully this project will work well and reduce congestion. If so, this is a great step towards using tolls effectively to provide a value-added benefit to toll payers. The Dulles Toll Road (DTR) is a classic example of the opposite: tolls being mis-used on other projects instead of providing a transportation solution. Tolls had already payed for the DTR, and now are being rapidly increased to pay for a transit project with no benefit to most toll-payers. The result will be toll-avoidance diversion of traffic to local roads bringing gridlock and reduced mobility to the region. If the Beltway express lanes work, VDOT should retake the DTR from corrupt MWAA, make it free again, and MWAA could turn the Dulles Airport Access Rd. into HOT lanes modeled after the beltway project. Revenues from airport users and commuters willing and able to pay could fund the rail project, while local residents' already-paid-for-road would be made accessible to them again. Sign the petition and read about more solutions at www.noTOLLincrease.org
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