Press Release

495 Express Lanes to Open Tomorrow

Nov 16, 2012

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Alexandria, Va. – 495 Express Lanes today announced that the 14-mile corridor of new high occupancy toll (HOT) lanes from the Springfield Interchange to just north of the Dulles Toll Road on the Virginia side of the Capital Beltway will open tomorrow, November 17, at approximately 2 a.m.  The nearly $2 billion, 14-mile project is opening early and on-budget.  

The 495 Express Lanes will provide drivers, carpoolers and bus riders with a new transportation option to navigate the heavily congested Northern Virginia area.  Tonight, 495 Express Lanes crews will unveil new Express Lanes road signage, turn on the traffic management system, unveil new traffic signals and open all Express Lanes ramps.  

“The opening of the 495 Express Lanes will fundamentally change travel in Northern Virginia and provide travelers with more transportation options,” said Tim Steinhilber, Transurban’s general manager for the 495 Express Lanes Project.  “We are not just opening a road – we are providing an opportunity for consistent congestion relief on one of Virginia's busiest roadways.  We are excited to open the 495 Express Lanes ahead of schedule so drivers can start seeing the benefits of a faster, more predictable commute.”

The opening of the Express Lanes will bring new traffic movements, ramps and arterial traffic signals along the project corridor.  The 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 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.

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® FlexSM  set to HOV mode to ensure a toll-free trip on the Express Lanes.  

 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.  

The 495 Express Lanes are opening after four years of construction which required 350 overnight closures of I-495 and more than 8.5 million work hours as of September 2012. Construction on the 495 Express Lanes supported more than 16,000 jobs in Virginia and generated nearly $3.5 billion of economic impact statewide.  Key infrastructure highlights of the project include:

  • Replacement of more than $260 million of aging infrastructure
  • 58 new bridges and overpasses, including bicycle and pedestrian access across every new bridge
  • 12 key interchanges rebuilt or upgraded
  • New access points at Route 29/Lee Highway, Jones Branch Drive and Westpark Drive; providing increased access to Tysons Corner and Merrifield
  • Replacement of existing sound walls and construction of 80,000 linear feet of new sound walls to double existing noise reduction tools for surrounding neighborhoods
  • New connectivity for buses and improved transportation service to Virginia’s largest employment centers and retail destinations

The 495 Express Lanes are the product of a public-private partnership between the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT), the Virginia Department of Rail and Public Transportation, the Federal Highway Administration and Transurban-Fluor.  The $2 billion project was made possible by an innovative financing strategy that incorporated public funding, federal financing tools and private investment.  Fluor, an experienced infrastructure developer, partnered with Lane Construction to design and build the 495 Express Lanes.  Transurban, an experienced toll road operator, will operate the lanes through a concession agreement with VDOT.  VDOT will continue to own and oversee the road.  

Key statistics regarding 495 Express Lanes road usage will be released quarterly.  

About 495 Express Lanes
The 495 Express Lanes are new high occupancy toll (HOT) lanes that will 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).  Being delivered through a public-private partnership between the Virginia Department of Transportation and Transurban-Fluor, the Express Lanes will give drivers the freedom to control how and when they arrive at their destination.  For more information, please visit  

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