Express Lanes to open in time for Thanksgiving travel

WASHINGTON – Your Thanksgiving trip could be a little faster this year.

The Virginia Department of Transportation says 14 miles of the Interstate 495 Express Lanes on the Virginia side of the Capital Beltway could open ahead of schedule on Nov. 17. This just in time before the Washington area’s Thanksgiving travel rush. However, adverse weather could change the date.

Jennifer Aument, vice president of Transurban-Fluor, which operates the Express Lanes, says once those lanes are open, you will need an E-ZPass to access them. There are no toll booths to accept cash.

“If they violate on the Express Lanes, they can be charged between $50 and up to $1,000 for those violations,” Aument says.

But drivers who accidentally travel in the lanes don’t have to fret.

“As soon as they realize they made a mistake, go online, hit missed a toll, pay their toll and we’ll charge them a small $1.50 fee for the convenience of being able to do that,” she says.

Cars with three passengers or more will need an E-ZPass Flex account in order to get a free ride. You can sign up for E-ZPass Flex or the regular E-ZPass online.

WTOP’s Hank Silverberg contributed to this report. Follow Hank and WTOP on Twitter.

(Copyright 2012 by WTOP. All Rights Reserved.)

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