95 Express Lanes opening announced

ALEXANDRIA, Va. – Before a crowd of several hundred people Wednesday, Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe announced the 95 Express Lanes will open this weekend, with toll collection beginning on Monday, Dec. 29.

The governor called the project a game changer that will dramatically improve commutes for drivers in Northern Virginia and keep the region viable for economic growth and development.

“There is really only one state that matters in the United States of America. When Virginia grows, America grows,” McAuliffe joked.

McAuliffe also renewed his call for the U.S. Department of Transportation to help fund high-speed rail between D.C., Fredericksburg, Richmond and Hampton Roads. He says such a project would augment the impact of the 95 Express Lanes, giving commuters options to quickly get between the nation’s capital and Virginia’s capital.

“The good news is that Virginia gets that it is in the middle of a growth tsunami. The population will grow by 100 million people in the U.S. by 2050. Without providing good mobility choices, folks will be even more stuck in traffic in the future. You get it. You’re taking steps to get ahead of it,” says U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx.

The $940 million project was built under a public-private partnership, according to the Associated Press.

Between Dec. 14 and Dec. 28, the Express Lanes will be open to the general motoring public, including a new 9-mile stretch between Triangle and Dumfries plus new entrance and exit ramps. The standard HOV rules will continue during those two weeks and no tolls will be collected. Rush hour restrictions will be enforced along the entire 29-mile stretch.

On Monday, Dec. 29, at approximate 2 a.m., the 95 Express Lanes will officially launch northbound with tolls being collected for all non-HOV users. Any HOV3+ users must have an E-ZPass Flex switched to HOV ON mode for a free trip.

“We are now convinced that not only will the (high-occupancy toll) lanes not damage the carpooling system or the slugging system in Northern Virginia, but in fact, it will add significant improvements to it,” says Corey Stewart, Prince William County Board of Supervisors chair.

Transurban and Commuter Connections have been reaching out to sluggers and other carpoolers along the Interstate 95 corridor, including at many popular commuter lots, to assist commuters in registering for an E-ZPass Flex.

“To the Northern Virginia communities, the countdown is on. Now is the time to get ready for the 95 Express Lanes. If they haven’t already, they need to get their E-ZPass Flex today,” says Fairfax County Board of Supervisors Chair Sharon Bulova.

For those non-high occupancy vehicles, the same HOV restrictions will apply until Dec. 29. Beginning that Monday morning, solo drivers will be able to take the 95 Express Lanes at any hour, any day. However, these drivers will a pay a toll using a traditional E-ZPass, properly funded and mounted to the front windshield, at all times.

Motorcycles get to ride the lanes for free at all times.

Hybrids with special clean fuel plates can continue to ride the 29-mile stretch until Dec. 29 at all hours. After Dec. 29, hybrids will not be able to get a free trip on the 95 Express Lanes unless they are HOV3+ with an E-ZPass Flex.

Even after Dec. 29, the stretch along Interstate 395 from Edsall Road to the D.C. border will continue as traditional HOV lanes. Between 6 a.m. and 9 a.m. heading north, toll-paying customers must exit the 95 Express Lanes at Turkeycock Run or risk getting a $50 ticket.

Motorists with questions about the 95 Express Lanes can check out our FAQ page to submit a question and find answers.

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