WASHINGTON — Morning tolls on Interstate 66 surged to near-record levels Tuesday, at one time topping out at $46.50 between the Capital Beltway and Rosslyn.
The peak toll for solo drivers happened from 8:30 to 8:36 a.m. Frustration mounted as traffic slowed toward a crash on the Roosevelt Bridge shortly after.
By 9 a.m., tolls for the entire stretch had fallen to $34.50. Tolls began decreasing despite the worsening backup that stretched from around Glebe Road to the crash on the bridge.
The price for the final tolled segment, beyond Glebe Road, remained steady at $17.75 until tolls were lifted at 9:30 a.m.
In addition to the traffic jam on I-66, the crash also caused traffic on U.S. Route 50 and the George Washington Parkway toward the bottleneck on the Roosevelt Bridge. All lanes reopened around 9:30 a.m.
The progression of the dynamic tolls followed a pattern similar to most mornings, beginning in the single digits and peaking around 8:30 a.m.
“What we’ve seen thus far – we’re almost at the end of our second month of tolling – is that the prices tend to peak at the peak of the rush hour, which makes sense because it’s based on congestion and the demand,” said Virginia Department of Transportation’s Michelle Holland.
“There are four tolling segments to travel the length of the corridor. Levels of traffic and congestion on all of those segments contribute to what the pricing is,” Holland said.
Holland emphasized that only solo drivers pay rush hour tolls on I-66. Carpools equipped with E-ZPass Flexes and motorcycles travel for free.
Tolls are in effect from 5:30 a.m. to 9:30 a.m. for eastbound drivers and from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. for westbound drivers.
The record high was $47.25 on the morning of Jan. 18.