Skidmarks are visible on the road where drivers try to avoid paying for the new 495 HOT lanes.
It didn't take long for some drivers to get confused on the new 495
Express Lanes on the beltway in Virginia. Six crashes were reported
from the time the new highway opened on Saturday through this morning's
rush hour. Virginia State Police are hard at work trying to find the problem.
The southernmost entrance
to the 495 Express Lanes run right alongside the regular lanes. The
highway doesn't split, it simply expands, with the two northbound new
lanes opening up on the left.
"People are swerving, you see the
skid marks," says Sgt. Kerry Allander. "They've made very quick movements to get back over to those
general purpose lanes. They've cut in front of other cars over there
and we've had them crash into moving vehicles."
says the drivers probably panicked when they realized they were about to
enter the EZ Pass toll lanes without an EZ Pass transponder.
in particular that we saw on the camera that had committed probably
close to 100 yards into the Express Lanes and literally backed up the
entire distance to try to go northbound," says Allander.
Jennifer Aument is the
spokeswoman for the company that is operating the new highway and
collecting your tolls. She says that if you don't have EZ Pass and enter
the express lanes by mistake, just keep going, because you can fix the mistake at home.
"Go onto 495ExpressLanes.com, hit our
customer care button and we'll work with you," says Aument. "It's very important that
drivers stay safe if they do make a mistake with this major traffic
You can pay the toll online without a penalty and sign up for EZ Pass.
Virginia Department of Transportation officials say they will continue to implement improvements that will give drivers more warning as to wear the Express Lanes begin.