WASHINGTON — With plans to add tolls for solo drivers at rush hour and to expand the hours when HOV rules apply, the Virginia Department of Transportation has scheduled three January meetings to provide more details on how the new rules on Interstate 66 inside the Beltway will be enforced and where toll pricing signs will go.
The meetings will also allow official public comment on the design plans for the new all-electronic toll system and an opportunity to speak with VDOT staff about the project.
The project inside the Beltway is scheduled to begin collecting tolls in 2017. Vehicles carrying two or more people will continue to travel free.
Drivers who are alone during a newly expanded rush-hour period will have to pay a fluctuating toll based on how many vehicles are in the lanes and the distance the driver travels. The tolls are similar to the system on the 95 and 495 Express Lanes.
Today, solo drivers are not allowed to use I-66 inside the Beltway at all during the two and a half hours that HOV rules are in place eastbound in the morning or the two and a half hours the rules are in place westbound in the afternoon.
When the tolls begin, the HOV rules will apply for four hours in each direction, from 5:30 a.m. to 9:30 a.m. eastbound and 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. westbound. During those periods, solo drivers will be able to pay the variable toll to use the lanes, which is projected to top out around $7 or $8 one-way at the peak of rush hour.
The meetings on the design of the toll gantries and sign locations will be held in the last week of January as long as they are not snowed out (see snow dates below).
While the Commonwealth Transportation Board and Northern Virginia Transportation Commission have each approved an agreement on how the toll revenue would be spent that has allowed the project to move forward, several members of the General Assembly have promised to challenge the toll plan during the session that begins in mid-January.
Meeting schedule from VDOT (updated 1/25/2016):
The public hearings scheduled for Jan. 25 and 26 have been canceled due to the snow. They will be held on the following dates:
Wednesday, Jan. 27:
(Snow date on Feb.3, if necessary)
VDOT Northern Virginia District Office
4975 Alliance Drive, Fairfax, VA 22030
6:00 – 8:00 p.m.; Presentation at 6:30 p.m.
Live stream of hearing on Transform66.org starting at 6:30 p.m.
Thursday, Jan. 28, 2016 (make-up date from Jan. 25)
Washington-Lee High School Cafeteria
1301 N. Stafford Street, Arlington, VA 22201
7:30 – 9:30 p.m.; Presentation at 8 p.m.
Friday, Feb. 5, 2016 (make-up date from Jan. 26, 2016)
Stone Bridge High School Cafeteria
43100 Hay Road, Ashburn, VA 20147
6 – 8 p.m.; Presentation at 6:30 p.m.
*If local schools are closed due to inclement weather, hearings will be canceled and held on the snow dates listed above.
Mail: Mail written comments to Amanda Baxter, Special Projects Development Manager, VDOT Northern Virginia District. 4975 Alliance Drive, Fairfax, VA 22030