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Cold weather keeps gates of 95 Express Lanes closed

WASHINGTON — The big chill kept the new 95 Express Lanes in Virginia from opening on time for the Thursday morning rush hour, leaving drivers without an option to pay tolls for a quicker commute.

The gates near the entrance to the northbound lanes near Garrisonville, Virginia, could not open automatically, due to the cold. So they had to be opened manually, according to Pierce Coffee, a spokeswoman for Transurban, which manages the lanes.

The gates are normally open by 2 a.m., but they remained closed at 5 a.m.  But shortly before 6 a.m., all of the gates were opened and traffic resumed in the Express Lanes.

Traffic in the main lanes of Interstate 95 were heavy early in the rush hour, but there were no significant backups.

This week has been the first real test for the Express Lanes since the holidays. Individual drivers with an E-Z Pass can pay tolls to use the lanes, which can be used by carpoolers with three people in a vehicle and an E-Z Pass Flex.

The lanes got heavier use on Monday, when an accident caused backups on northbound I-95.

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