Alexandria, Va. – After one full week of operations, the 495 Express Lanes operator is reiterating key reminders essential to a smooth trip on the 14-mile stretch of new high occupancy toll (HOT) lanes on the Virginia side of the Capital Beltway.
The 495 Express Lanes opened one month early on November 17 and operate 24 hours a day, seven days a week. While the 495 Express Lanes are easy to use, it is important that all drivers know the rules of the road before taking their first trip:
- The Express Lanes have limited access points. All drivers should visit 495ExpressLanes.com to learn where they can get on and off the Express Lanes.
- The Express Lanes include new access points and traffic patterns. Drivers should make sure they know where they can get on and off the Express Lanes to take advantage of the quickest route.
- Stay alert as the Express Lanes have introduced new traffic patterns. Be safe and do not stop or reverse on the lanes.
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 need an E-ZPass® FlexSM set to HOV mode to ensure a toll-free trip on the Express Lanes. Before traveling on the Express Lanes, drivers should keep these important E-ZPass requirements in mind:
- Properly mount the E-ZPass to the vehicle’s windshield. If the E-ZPass is not mounted and the driver waves it or holds it up to the windshield when traveling under the toll gantries, they could be charged twice for their trip.
- Travel with only one E-ZPass at a time in the vehicle. Drivers that travel with two E-ZPass tags in the vehicle could be charged twice.
- Select the travel mode on an E-ZPass Flex before you get in the Express Lanes.
- Ensure that all E-ZPass account information is up-to-date, including credit card information and license plate numbers. Drivers can do this online at the Virginia or Maryland E-ZPass websites.
- Drivers that accidentally travel on the Express Lanes without an E-ZPass can pay their toll on the Missed a Toll page on the Express Lanes website. There is a $1.50 per trip administrative fee. Drivers should never reverse on the lanes to avoid toll payment
- If the 495 Express Lanes has to send a driver an unpaid toll invoice, the administrative fee goes up to $12.50 per trip. If the first invoice is not paid then that fee escalates to $25.00 per trip. Ignoring multiple toll invoices will result in debt collection and could ultimately end up in the court system.
“We need all drivers – even those who don’t plan to use the lanes regularly – to remain alert and be aware of their surroundings when driving the Express Lanes corridor,” said Tim Steinhilber, Transurban’s general manager for the 495 Express Lanes Project. “We want all drivers to have a smooth, predictable commute on the Express Lanes so we need drivers to be aware of the rules of the road and to make sure they are using their E-ZPass correctly.”
18-wheelers and vehicles with three or more axles (including trailers) are prohibited on the Express Lanes. If vehicles with three or more axles enter the Express Lanes, they could be ticketed by the Virginia State Police.
Drivers with questions about the Express Lanes or concerns with billing may contact firstname.lastname@example.org or visit the Customer Care section on the 495 Express Lanes website.
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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