Drivers are being advised to start preparing now for a new highway in Northern Virginia that will open early next year.
The builders of the 95 Express Lanes invited reporters to a new flyover ramp in Springfield—one of four such structures being built along 30 miles of what will be high-occupancy toll lanes connecting Fairfax and Stafford Counties. The HOV lanes are being converted to E-ZPass-only toll lanes. But HOV-3 vehicles will ride free.
"This is mostly the conversion of an existing HOV facility to express lanes, and with that comes brand-new rules of the road," says project spokesman Mike McGurk, who spoke to WAMU as vehicles zipped up and down 95 below us. He says construction is 80 percent complete, but all summer you can expect construction delays on 95.
When the lanes open next year, McGurk says, "Everyone out here who is traveling the HOV lanes in front of us today is going to need that E-ZPass. Car poolers, sluggers, van poolers need to get Flex. It's a really big change coming for them. But we want the transition from HOV lanes to Express Lanes to be as easy and seamless as possible."
Carpoolers will have to obtain an E-ZPass Flex transponder to get a free ride. Otherwise, the Express Lanes will require cars and trucks to pay a toll at all times, even during off-peak travel times.