Monday, November 10, 2014

New Rules on I-95 Will Affect Travelers Who Use the HOV Lanes

The Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) reminds motorists of the changing rules that will go into effect when the 95 Express Lanes open in December. All drivers, including hybrid vehicles with clean fuel plates and carpoolers, will need an E-ZPass® or E-ZPass® FlexSM to use the Express Lanes. Trucks with more than two axles will not be permitted to use the lanes.

The I-95/395 HOV lanes are being converted to tolled express lanes for 29 miles between Route 610 in Stafford County and Edsall Road in Fairfax County. The lanes will use dynamic tolls to keep traffic flowing and provide a more predictable travel option on I-95. Drivers are encouraged to learn how to use the Express Lanes now and obtain an E-ZPass so that they can benefit when the Lanes open.

Here's what carpoolers, drivers of hybrid vehicles with clean fuel plates, truckers and law enforcement need to know about the 95 Express Lanes.


  • Carpools need an E-ZPass Flex 
  • Carpools with three or more people can travel toll-free on the Express Lanes with an E-ZPass Flex set to HOV mode. 
  • E-ZPass Flex works like a standard E-ZPass but allows carpoolers to switch between HOV and toll-paying modes. The switchable E-ZPass Flex lets the Express Lanes operator know which vehicles are HOV-3+ so that they aren't charged a toll. 

Drivers of Hybrid Vehicles with Clean Fuel Plates: 

When the 95 Express Lanes open, hybrid vehicles with clean fuel plates issued before July 1, 2006 must pay a toll or have three people in the car to use the Lanes. The rules affecting hybrids are as follows:

  • Hybrid drivers can ride toll-free on the 95 Express Lanes with three people in the vehicle and an E-ZPass Flex set to HOV mode; or, 
  • They can pay the toll with an E-ZPass if traveling with fewer than three people in the vehicle.
  • The 95 Express Lanes will end just north of Edsall Road. From Edsall Road to Washington, D.C., the HOV lanes will exist with the same rules that are in effect today. Hybrid vehicles with clean fuel plates issued before July 1, 2006 will continue to be allowed to use the HOV lanes without three people in the vehicle on the I-395 HOV lanes. For more information about the transition area just north of Edsall Road on I-395, visit:

Drivers of Trucks, Commercial/18-Wheel Vehicles:

  • Vehicles with more than two axles - including 18-wheel trucks - will not be permitted to access the 95 Express Lanes.
  • Small and mid-sized trucks with two axles may use the Express Lanes as toll paying customers or they may travel toll-free if they have an E-ZPass Flexset to HOV mode and three or more people in the vehicle. 

Law Enforcement Officials:

  • Local, state or federal law enforcement officials will not be exempt from toll and HOV requirements on the 95 Express Lanes unless in the direct pursuit of their duties, which does not include commuting to and from the workplace. 
  • Law enforcement officials can contact the Express Lanes pre- or post-travel for trips they believe qualify as exempt. Contact for more information. 


  • Motorcycles do not need an E-ZPass. 

Unlike the existing HOV lanes, the rules of the road for the new 95 Express Lanes will be in effect 24 hours a day, seven days a week, including weekends. Vehicles may not tow trailers on the 95 Express Lanes. HOV-3+ vehicles with an E-ZPass Flex set to HOV mode, motorcycles and transit will have toll-free access to the Express Lanes at all times; drivers with fewer than three occupants can choose to pay a toll with E-ZPass to use the lanes on occasions when they need to get somewhere on time.

Get an E-ZPass: 

Drivers can get an E-ZPass or E-ZPass Flex at more than 75 convenient Northern Virginia retail locations including Wegmans, select Giant Food Stores, or at one of the E-ZPass Customer Service Centers, the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles; online or by calling Virginia E-ZPass at (877) 762-7824. Visit or call the Customer Service Center for more information (877) 762-7824.

The 95 Express Lanes are being delivered through a public-private partnership between VDOT and Transurban with Fluor-Lane 95, LLC constructing the Express Lanes. For more information on how I-95 drivers can use the 95 Express Lanes please visit For up-to-date construction information please visit

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