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Transportation officials, contractors and politicians held a ceremonial beam-signing in August 2022 for the final support beam of the massive construction project that will take drivers from the forthcoming I-66 Outside the Beltway express lanes to Route 28 and vice versa.

The new westbound 66 Express Lanes from the Capital Beltway to Route 28 in Centreville are scheduled to open Saturday.

The eastbound direction of this same 13-mile section of express lanes is expected to open by the end of November.

Motorists can choose to use the express lanes, which are adjacent to general purpose lanes on Interstate 66, by paying a toll. Toll prices are dynamic, and fluctuate depending on traffic volumes and speed. High occupancy vehicles can use the 66 Express Lanes toll-free but must have an E-ZPass Flex set to the “HOV On” mode.

Currently, vehicles must have two or more occupants to qualify as HOV on I-66. Starting Monday, Dec. 5, vehicles will need to have three or more occupants to qualify as HOV on I-66 and travel the express lanes without paying a toll.

"This change from HOV-2+ to HOV-3+ will apply across the entire I-66 corridor including the 22.5-miles of 66 Express Lanes located outside the Beltway, as well as the nine miles of 66 Express Lanes located inside the Beltway between I-495 and Route 29 in Rosslyn, which operate on weekdays during peak periods in peak commute directions," the Virginia Department of Transportation said in a news release. "This HOV-3+ requirement is consistent with HOV requirements on the other express lanes in Northern Virginia."

This change from HOV-2+ to HOV-3+ also will take effect on the stretch of I-66 west of the express lanes between Haymarket and Gainesville where there will continue to be a traditional HOV lane that operates during peak travel periods.

How Drivers Can Prepare for 66 Express Lanes Outside the Beltway:

  • Learn more about 66 Express Lanes including how to access the lanes by visiting Ride66express.com.
  • Obtain an E-ZPass to pay tolls, or an E-ZPass Flex to travel toll-free as HOV. Drivers can obtain an E-ZPass at ezpassva.com, by calling 877-762-7824, or in person at many Giant and Wegmans grocery stores in Northern Virginia, as well as at AAA offices, Fairfax Connector stores, and DMV Customer Service Centers.
  • Become familiar with other payment options available through I-66 EMP such as paying online, via the mail, by calling 833-643-2867, or in person at the 66 Express Lanes Customer Service Center in Manassas. Payment options other than E-ZPass will incur administrative fees. More information can be found at Ride66express.com.

The upcoming opening of the final sections of 66 Express Lanes follows the September 10 opening of the western section of the 66 Express Lanes between Gainesville and Route 28 in Centreville. This nine-mile stretch of express lanes opened ahead of schedule and provides direct access to and from two new commuter parking lots at University Boulevard (Gainesville) and Century Park Drive (Manassas), which were built as part of the Transform 66 Outside the Beltway project.

Construction on some project features such as interchange improvements and a shared-use path adjacent to I-66 will continue after the opening of the express lanes, with scheduled completion by mid-2023.

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(1) comment

Duke Nukem

Should have had the taxpayers sign it instead of corrupt politicians.

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