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Tolling on Virginia’s 66 Express Lanes begins Saturday

The new travel lanes stretch for about nine miles. Another 13 miles of express lanes will open in December.

Motorists use regular and express lanes of I-66 outside of Manassas earlier this month. (Craig Hudson for The Washington Post)

Tolling will begin Saturday on the western section of the 66 Express Lanes in Northern Virginia, bringing to an end a two-week, toll-free adjustment period.

The new Interstate 66 travel lanes stretch for about nine miles, from Route 29 in Gainesville to Route 28 in Centreville. Another roughly 13 miles of express lanes to the Capital Beltway are under construction and are scheduled to open in December.

The project expands I-66 to 10 through-travel lanes: three general-purpose lanes both eastbound and westbound, and two HOT lanes in each direction. The Virginia Department of Transportation expects the variable tolling system — similar to those along the 395, 495 and 95 Express Lanes — will help the state to better manage traffic, foster carpooling and public transit use, and give commuters more travel options.

New I-66 toll lanes are open. Here’s what you need to know.

Starting Saturday, the toll gantries will begin to charge tolls, while high occupancy vehicle (HOV) rules also will be in effect, VDOT said. Solo drivers will be charged a toll to use the lanes, but carpools with two or more people can ride free with an E-ZPass Flex set to “HOV” mode.

Toll rates change depending on how much traffic is on the road. Drivers will see the toll price on electronic signs before entering the lanes. Passenger vehicles such as cars, pickup trucks, SUVs and most vans will pay the same rate. Larger vehicles and large trucks will pay a higher rate, while motorcycles can use the lanes free.

When a driver passes under an overhead gantry, the E-ZPass account will be debited. Drivers will also be able to pay a toll online at, by mail, by phone or in person at a customer service center in Manassas.

The speed limit in the express lanes is 70 mph, compared with 55 mph to 65 mph at various locations in the general lanes.

New I-66 toll lanes begin commuting shift in Northern Virginia

The new high occupancy toll lanes are the latest addition to the region’s growing network of express lanes, of which more than 70 miles are in Northern Virginia.