ROADS/BRIDGES: I-95 goes express

2-1/2-year Va. tollway project is finally driver-ready

News December 12, 2014
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Interstate 95/395, which stretches along northern Virginia, is set to open 29 miles of express lane driving, effectively linking the 495 express lanes, themselves two years old, to form a tollway network of more than 40 miles that reaches up to Tysons Corner, a metropolitan region presently under widespread gentrification.
 
Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe announced this week that the I-95 express lanes, one of the largest roads projects in the U.S. over the last 2 ½ years, are driver-ready. Despite the fact that this project is a toll road, drivers will be able to experience it gratis through the Christmas holiday, with fare collection beginning on Dec. 29. Exceptions thereafter will be those who qualify for carpool status.
 
Fare collection will be managed via a transponder system and those with carpool amnesty must travel with a special transponder that can be recognized for its carpooling distinction.
 
A product of Virginia’s government and private concerns, the 29-mile stretch of express lanes carried an overall price tag of $925 million, more than 80% of which was derived by private means. As is the case with the Beltway, tolling fares will bear no ceiling. Transurban, the company contracted to operate and oversee the lanes, expect to see a range of 20 to 80 cents per mile, averaging a single driver fare of $6 to $8, a cost mitigated by the expectation that most drivers will not traverse the full 29 miles on a daily basis. The high occupancy, or HOT, lanes are expected to see significant use immediately.
 
Gov. McAuliffe was quoted as saying with regard to the public private partnership that saw this project to fruition, “We are the model in the country.”

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