Plan Ahead for the I-95 Express Lanes
With the upcoming grand opening of the new Interstate 95 Express Lanes, Virginia State Police is encouraging all drivers — and especially commuters from Richmond to Fredericksburg to Northern Virginia — to be prepared in advance. The projected opening is in the coming weeks.
The 95 Express Lanes Expand and Replace the Existing, Traditional HOV Lanes Along I-95
• The 95 Express Lanes is a toll road. Vehicles with only one or two people have to pay a toll with E-ZPass to use the 95 Express Lanes.
• Only passenger vehicles with three or more people and an E-ZPass Flex can use the 95 Express Lanes for free.
• The 95 Express Lanes’ toll changes based on real-time traffic conditions. Transurban estimates a typical trip of 10 to 12 miles during rush hour will cost between $6 and $8.
• Vanpools with E-ZPass Flex, motorcycles and buses travel the 95 Express Lanes for free.
“If you routinely travel Interstate 95 between Stafford County and Fairfax County, then you really need to be prepared for the upcoming changes,” said Major Len Terry, Virginia State Police deputy director of the Bureau of Field Operations. “This stretch of I-95 is going to look much different from what you are used to, so take advantage of the maps and detailed information provided at www.95ExpressLanes.com. Familiarize yourself with the HOV conversion and decide in advance if you want or will be able to use the Express Lanes, thus preventing yourself from being stuck in traffic or causing a serious crash.”
HOV Lanes Convert to Express Lanes
The traditional HOV lanes between the north and southbound lanes of I-95 from Garrisonville Road in Stafford County to just north of Edsall Road in Fairfax County will fully convert to 95 Express Lanes and will require an E-ZPass to use the restricted lanes. HOV-3 needs an E-ZPass Flex. The new 95 Express Lanes are 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
I-395 Remains Traditional HOV
The 95 Express Lanes end north of Edsall Road in Fairfax County. Standard HOV rules apply on Interstate 395 in Northern Virginia. Vehicles that do not meet the HOV requirement when the HOV rules are in effect will have to exit from the 95 Express Lanes and reenter the regular I-395 lanes after Edsall Road to continue into Arlington and Washington, D.C. Only those vehicles with three or more persons, motorcycles and vehicles with clean-fuel plates will be permitted to continue on to the I-395 HOV lanes.
Express Lanes Require E-ZPass or E-ZPass Flex
An E-ZPass is required to travel on the 95 Express Lanes. If you already have an E-ZPass, it will work on the 95 Express Lanes with the toll fee being automatically deducted from your account – just like it does at the Metro-Richmond toll plazas.
If you are a carpooler and meet the HOV-3 requirements, then you will need an E-ZPass Flex so you won’t be charged a toll while using the 95 Express Lanes. The E-ZPass Flex works just like a regular E-ZPass on all other Virginia toll roads.
Don’t Stop or Back Up
Drivers are advised to never stop or back up in an attempt to avoid the 95 Express Lanes and to get back into the general purpose lanes. If you accidentally find yourself in the 95 Express Lanes or are unable to safely merge into the general purpose lanes, then just keep going in the Express Lanes. Take the first exit and then go to www.95ExpressLanes.com and pay the toll online, or call 1-855-495-9777. Backing up or stopping puts you at risk of causing a crash and being seriously injured or killed.
Extra Law Enforcement
Extra Virginia State Police troopers will be on patrol during the opening days of the 95 Express Lanes to help keep traffic moving safely and efficiently in both the Express Lanes and general purpose lanes of I-95. Troopers have the authorization to warn or summons those in violation of the state law mandating the HOV-3 requirement in the 95 Express Lanes (Code of VA 33.2-503 http://leg1.state.va.us/cgi-bin/legp504.exe?000+cod+33.2-503).
To prevent being stopped and cited:
• If traveling with an E-ZPass Flex set to HOV mode, then there must be at least three people riding inside the vehicle to be in compliance with the HOV-3 requirement. Those drivers not in compliance will be ticketed.
• When using the E-ZPass Flex, the mode must be selected before entering the 95 Express Lanes. So, don’t forget to flip (the switch) before your trip.
• Make sure you nominate by phone (1-855-495-9777) the bumper mounted transponder for HOV-3 travel at least 30 minutes prior to entering the Express Lanes.
For more information to plan your travels along I-95, acquire an E-ZPass, or for information on how to upgrade to an E-ZPass Flex, please visit www.95ExpressLanes.com.
The 95 Express Lanes are the product of a public-private partnership between VDOT, Virginia Department of Public Rail and Transportation, the Federal Highway Administration, and Transurban, with Fluor-Lane 95, LLC leading construction.
I-95 HOV Rules Change in December