Press Release

495 Express Lanes Now Open

Nov 19, 2012

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Alexandria, Va. – 495 Express Lanes today announced that the 14-mile stretch of new high occupancy toll (HOT) lanes on the Virginia side of the Capital Beltway opened early and on budget on November 17.  Drivers planning to take advantage of the new travel option are encouraged to familiarize themselves with the new aspects of the road and obtain an E-ZPass® before they take their first trips.  All drivers are urged to use caution and be alert to changing traffic patterns, signage and new traffic signals.   

“Beltway drivers were already out there this weekend trying out faster and more direct trips on the new Express Lanes,” said Tim Steinhilber, Transurban’s general manager for the 495 Express Lanes Project.  “Traveling on the Express Lanes is easy, but there are new ramps, signage, signals and traffic patterns that drivers should prepare for to ensure a safe trip.  We encourage all travelers to visit www.495ExpressLanes.com to plan their trip and learn the rules of the road.  It’s also more important than ever to stay alert and avoid distracted driving.”

The 495 Express Lanes have resources available to help drivers get ready for the new traffic solution.  Before using the Express Lanes, drivers should:

  • 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 www.495expresslanes.com/staying-safe
  • Get an E-ZPass:  All drivers will need an E-ZPass or E-ZPass® FlexSM to use the 495 Express Lanes.  To learn more about E-ZPass options and find out how to get an E-ZPass, please visit: www.495expresslanes.com/using-ezpass
  • 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 on the 495 Express Lanes website: www.495expresslanes.com/using-the-lanes
  • Get answers to questions:  For more information on tolling and operations, drivers should visit the 495 Express Lanes FAQs web page – www.495expresslanes.com/faqs

The Express Lanes project includes new traffic signals at most access points – including new access points at Jones Branch Drive, Westpark Drive and Route 29/Lee Highway.  Travelers are encouraged to stay alert and use caution on the secondary roads and highways around Express Lanes access points, which also include the Dulles Toll Road, Route 7, I-66, Gallows Road and Braddock Road.  

The 495 Express Lanes are the first road of its kind in the region to provide HOV service on the Capital Beltway – as well as the option for travelers to pay a toll for a faster and more predictable trip.  All drivers must have an E-ZPass to use the Express Lanes – there are no toll booths or options to pay cash.  Carpools with three or more people in the vehicle will need an E-ZPass Flex set to HOV mode to ensure a toll-free trip on the Express Lanes.  Drivers should ensure that they travel with only one E-ZPass per vehicle and that the E-ZPass device is properly mounted.

 The 495 Express Lanes will operate 24 hours a day, seven days a week.  The lanes will use dynamic pricing to keep traffic free flowing and provide a more predictable travel option on the Beltway.  Dynamic pricing based on real-time traffic conditions manages the demand for the lanes, keeping the Express Lanes moving.  Drivers will lock in their rate when they enter the lanes.  

About 495 Express Lanes
The 495 Express Lanes are new high occupancy toll (HOT) lanes that operate on the I-495/Capital Beltway to provide drivers faster and more predictable travel options on I-495. The two new HOT lanes in each direction on the Virginia side of the Capital Beltway are from the Springfield Interchange to just north of the Dulles Toll Road (approximately 14 miles).  Delivered through a public-private partnership between the Virginia Department of Transportation and Transurban-Fluor, the Express Lanes give drivers more freedom to control how and when they arrive at their destination.  For more information, please visit 495ExpressLanes.com.  

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