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 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.
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 Ride66express.com, 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.
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.
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