And Virginia drivers trying to enter the District via the 14th Street Bridge also encountered lengthy delays, with a crash prompting authorities to close three lanes during part of the morning rush.
On Metro, officials said they were continuing to investigate the source of the smoke. The Virginia Square station was evacuated, and there was no train service in the area from about 6:15 to 8 a.m.
For those driving alone, opting to take I-66 instead of Metro would have been a costly decision.
The $47 toll for the 10-mile stretch inside the Beltway was the third highest since the lanes made their debut in December. The high was $47.50 on Feb. 28, according to figures from the Virginia Department of Transportation.
The toll system is based on a “dynamic pricing” system that changes every six minutes, depending on demand, traffic and speed. The toll changes as congestion rises and falls in the direction of peak travel.
Transportation planners have said they hoped the toll would encourage commuters to use public transportation or carpool during peak travel times. Drivers are charged to use the lanes if they are alone, but usage is free with two or more people in a vehicle that has an E-ZPass Flex transponder.
Road and rail commuters shared their woes on social media.
One Twitter user, Redhead in the Sun, shared a text message exchange that included her boyfriend.
She wrote, “What time did you finally get to work?”
Her boyfriend answered, “Took 3 hours to get to work.”
She replied, “Ugh.”
Her boyfriend, Ryan Reid, described his commute from Reston to the Navy Yard in Southeast Washington, which normally takes an hour.
He said he got on a 5:40 a.m. Metro train that he later had to exit because of the smoke incident. At the Ballston station, he said, he waited 90 minutes, listening to the transit agency’s announcements that shuttle buses were coming.
He waited for a regularly scheduled bus at Ballston for another 20 minutes before finally catching one to the Court House stop. There, he got on a train to L’Enfant Plaza. His last 15 minutes were spent, he said, on a government shuttle bus to the Navy Yard.
Total commute time: 2 hours and 45 minutes.
Another person on Twitter who goes by Christian posted a picture of people standing on a crowded platform at the East Falls Church station around 8:30 a.m. Thursday.
He wrote, “My view from the platform at East Falls Church. Before I returned to WFC [West Falls Church] and drove. #wmata #metro #frustration.”
Thursday was the second time in recent weeks that Metro service was suspended along part of the Orange and Silver line corridor in Arlington.
On Feb. 28, there were lengthy delays for Metro riders on the Orange and Silver lines after a train had a brake problem at the Ballston station. Metro shut down rail service on part of the lines for about an hour. On that day, the eastbound I-66 toll peaked at $47.50, setting the record.