495 Express Lanes open for first rush hour

November 19, 2012

The newly opened 495 Express Lanes, near Gallows Road, were not congested Monday morning. (Dayna Smith/The Washington Post.)

The inaugural morning rush hour for the 495 Express Lanes began with a four-car collision, but not much traffic. 

The crash happened Monday around 6 a.m. near the Braddock Road entrance to the Beltway. 

The cause of the crash, the fifth accident since the Express Lanes opened on Saturday, has not been determined.

Virginia State Police are urging drivers to be careful and not back up if they mistakenly enter the Express Lanes. If you accidentally enter the Express Lanes, keep going, take the first exit and go to www.495ExpressLanes.com to pay the toll online, police said.

Aside from the early morning collision, the Express Lanes’ first official commute was uneventful. 

While there were some delays on the Beltway due to an accident on the inner loop and heavy volume on the outer loop, but the Express Lanes appeared free of congestion. 

Monday marked the first rush hour for the high-occupancy (HOT) lanes, which rely on variable tolls, meaning the fees will change depending on how much traffic is on the road.

Additionally, there are no tollbooths, meaning anyone who is not riding a motorcycle must have E-ZPass. 

Did you use the 495 Express Lanes today? Share your experiences with Dr. Gridlock during his weekly chat at noon, in the comments below or by tweeting with the hashtag #HOTlanes — just not while you’re driving. 


 More: 

Dr. Gridlock: Chat today at 12 p.m.

A user’s guide to the Beltway express lanes

Thanksgiving travel: Surviving the D.C. area’s holiday traffic

 Weather: Dry and mild before weekend chill

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