Press Release

495 Express Lanes Speed Limit Increase Effective Today

Jun 24, 2013

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Alexandria, Va. – 495 Express Lanes today announced that the speed limit on the 495 Express Lanes has increased to 65 miles per hour.  The speed increase, effective today, will help Northern Virginia drivers save even more time when traveling on the Capital Beltway in Virginia.  

“Since opening late last year, the 495 Express Lanes have provided drivers with a predictable travel option and with significant time savings,” said Michael Whelan, Vice President of Operations for Transurban.  “The speed limit increase makes a great travel option better by providing an even faster option to drivers in Northern Virginia.  Drivers, buses and carpoolers will get an even more predictable trip and getting to popular destinations such as Tysons Corner will be easier than ever before.”

While the speed limit on the 495 Express Lanes is now 65 mph, the speed limit on the mainline Beltway lanes will remain 55 mph.  Drivers traveling on the Express Lanes will now see new regulatory on-road signs reflecting the speed increase on the left side of the roadway.  

Before increasing the speed limit on the Express Lanes, the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) and the Express Lanes team completed extensive safety studies.  Based on the results, VDOT determined that increasing the speed limit to 65 mph was safe, as it is proportional to the speeds on mainline 495 and allows for safe merging and lane changing.  

Open for almost seven months, the Express Lanes are still a relatively new travel option in Northern Virginia and safety is top-of-mind.  Before taking a trip in the Express Lanes, drivers should:

  • Get an E-ZPass®:  Ensure that the device is properly mounted with sufficient account funds.  E-ZPass devices are available throughout Northern Virginia at E-ZPass Customer Service Centers, select Wegmans and Giant Food Stores, AAA Mid-Atlantic stores as well as the Tysons Corner DMV.  Carpoolers traveling HOV-3+ need an E-ZPass® FlexSM to ensure a toll-free trip on the Express Lanes
  • Learn the rules of the road:   When traveling on the 495 Express Lanes drivers should mind the barrier that separates the mainline Beltway from the Express Lanes, follow the signage to arrive at their destination safely and avoid distractions
  • Plan ahead:  Visit the Express Lanes website – 495ExpressLanes.com – to learn how to get on and off the Express Lanes at each interchange

The 495 Express Lanes 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.  All drivers need an E-ZPass to use the Express Lanes – there are no toll booths or options to pay cash.  Other drivers may pay a toll for a faster, more predictable trip.

Drivers with questions about the speed limit increase are encouraged to contact the Express Lanes Customer Service Center with questions.


About 495 Express Lanes
The 495 Express Lanes are new high occupancy toll (HOT) lanes that operate on 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 the freedom to control how and when they arrive at their destination.  For more information, please visit 495ExpressLanes.com

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