Va. Gov. Youngkin celebrates completion of long-awaited I-66 Express Lanes

Commuters have been able to enjoy the new Interstate 66 Express Lanes outside the Capital Beltway for a week now, but Gov. Glenn Youngkin was in Fairfax County, Virginia, Tuesday to cut the ribbon and celebrate the lanes’ completion.

The new I-66 express lanes now stretch 22 1/2 miles from Route 29 in Gainesville all the way to the Beltway and join the existing lanes that run into Reston.

“The new I-66 Express Lanes will transform travel along the I-66 corridor. But more importantly, the lanes are going to transform the quality of life for Virginians and for those who are just passing through, we know that people are busy,” Youngkin said in a crowded tent right off I-66 in Fairfax.

The project was touted as being finished ahead of schedule.

Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin at a ribbon-cutting ceremony for the new Interstate 66 Express lanes. (WTOP/Luke Lukert)

Lanes between Gainesville and Route 28 in Centreville opened to drivers Sept. 10, and the westbound lanes from the Beltway to Route 28 opened Nov. 19, with the final eastbound lanes opening Nov. 22. The project broke ground in November 2017.

“There are capabilities, and then there’s a commitment to get the job done. And getting the job done here is an understatement,” Youngkin told many of the construction workers that attended the ribbon-cutting.

Like many road projects in the area, the lanes were a public-private partnership with a consortium of infrastructure developers named the I-66 Express Mobility Partners. They forked over $3.7 billion in private investment, and will manage the lanes under a 50-year lease with the commonwealth.

“These improvements will serve countless commuters, (and) provide convenient access to major employment and activity hubs, while helping to transport essential goods and services quickly and efficiently,” Youngkin said.

Tolls for the new lanes are variable depending on traffic, but electronic signs should warn drivers of the price before they hop in the lanes.

And a heads-up to drivers who want to use the I-66 Express Lanes for carpooling, the HOV requirement will be changing from two people required per vehicle to three people per vehicle starting Monday, Dec. 5.

Beyond the lanes, the outside the Beltway project built 63 bridges, 13 new bridges at the Route 28 Interchange and 11 at the Interstate 495 interchange. They also constructed 18 miles of shared-use bike and pedestrian paths along or near I-66.

“We are finally fully connected to our neighbors in the rest of Northern Virginia. And I can’t tell you how much of a difference that makes for our community,” said Prince William County Supervisor Ann Wheeler.

Some construction will continue in the months ahead, such as final interchange improvements and the shared-use path adjacent to the lanes. It is expected to be completed by mid-2023.

Luke Lukert

Since joining WTOP Luke Lukert has held just about every job in the newsroom from producer to web writer and now he works as a full-time reporter. He is an avid fan of UGA football. Go Dawgs!

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