The I-495 Express Lanes four-lane expressway is a project designed and implemented to improve the interchange on a section of the Ring Road of the same name. Work began in 2008 and ended in 2012, and the line is 14 miles long. This section of the road carries more than 200,000 vehicles per day.
Features of Express Strips
I-495 Express Lanes includes four lanes, two in each direction. The cost of design and construction is estimated at about $1.4 billion. The state of Virginia has committed $409 million to allow the project to be completed within a predetermined five-year time frame.
Under the terms of the contract, the Virginia Department of Transportation has the right to improve the express lanes, but it should be possible to increase the capacity of the express lanes if such an alternative is allowed and would be truly effective. In addition to this section, the following solutions are designed:
- Increasing the toll road to 12 lanes from Springfield to increase capacity;
- implementation of the HOV system on the ring road section;
- replacement of obsolete infrastructure along the route, including repair of bridges and overpasses;
- the creation of three new entrances to the Tysons Corner area;
- noise isolation of adjacent areas by building 13 miles of sound walls;
- creating an HOV transportation network on I-95/395, the Capital Loop, I-66, the toll road, and any future lanes on Braddock Road;
- Improving the connection on I-66 to simplify traffic on the ring road.
Vehicles carrying three or more passengers, as well as special vehicles (ambulance, police, rescue), buses can use the express lanes for free. Trucks are not allowed to use the highway. Vehicles with fewer passengers are offered variable fare conditions on the new expressway (the price is $5-6 dollars).
An electronic E-ZPass system is used to collect tolls without the use of toll booths. On the approach to the toll zone, an electronic sign with a variable message informs drivers of the latest toll rates before they decide to use the express lanes or opt for the free I-495 Express Lanes.