Thursday, November 1, 2012

HOT Lanes to Open as Early as Nov. 17

The Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) and 495 Express Lanes recently announced that the 14-mile corridor of new high occupancy toll (HOT) lanes on the Virginia side of the Capital Beltway will open as early as November 17. Drivers are encouraged to prepare to use the Express Lanes now to be able to use them when they open. 495 Express Lanes travelers will need an E-ZPass and an understanding of how the lanes work before they can take advantage of the lanes.  

“The 495 Express Lanes are on track to open earlier than expected in November which means drivers must take steps now to prepare to use the new lanes,” said VDOT Commissioner Greg Whirley.  “We need drivers to be prepared for the changes in traffic patterns and new rules of the road. If you plan to use the Express Lanes, make sure you are equipped with an E-ZPass.”

The 495 Express Lanes are two new high occupancy toll (HOT) lanes in each direction from the Springfield Interchange to just north of the Dulles Toll Road on the Virginia side of the Capital Beltway. Drivers will need an E-ZPass to use the Express Lanes – there are no toll booths or options to pay cash.  Carpoolers will need the new E-ZPass Flex to permit a toll-free trip on the Express Lanes.  To find out where you can get an E-ZPass, visit

The 495 Express Lanes have resources available to help drivers get ready for the new traffic solution.  Before the lanes open, drivers should:
  • Get an E-ZPass:  All drivers will need an E-ZPass or E-ZPassFlex to use the 495 Express Lanes.  To learn more about E-ZPass options and find out how to get an E-ZPass, please visit
  • Plan their trip:  The 495 Express Lanes will include three new Beltway entry and exit points, meaning a more direct route to popular locations in Tysons Corner and Merrifield.  The Express Lanes are a limited access highway so drivers should plan their new route and learn how to access and exit the Express Lanes now by mapping their trip on the 495 Express Lanes website,
  • Learn how to safely use the lanes:  The Express Lanes will be easy to use and get drivers where they need to go.  However, there are some new aspects of the road that are worth learning about.  To learn how to safely use the lanes, drivers should visit
  • Get answers to questions:  For more information on tolling and operations, drivers should visit the 495 Express Lanes FAQs web page – 

The 495 Express Lanes will operate 24 hours a day, seven days a week.  Dynamic pricing based on real-time traffic conditions manages the demand for the lanes, keeping the Express Lanes moving.

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. 

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