95 Express Lanes95 Express Lanes

Frequently Asked Questions 

Click to View All QuestionsProject Overview

What are the 95 Express Lanes?

The 95 Express Lanes are high occupancy toll (HOT) lanes that will operate on I-95 to provide you with faster, more predictable travel options on I-95. The project will add capacity and extend and improve the performance of existing HOV lanes. The 95 Express Lanes will operate from Garrisonville Road in Stafford County to the vicinity of Edsall Road on I-395 in Fairfax County (approximately 29 miles).

What is the extent of the 95 Express Lanes? Where does it begin and end?

The 95 Express Lanes will extend and add capacity to the HOV lanes on I-95 to create a 29-mile HOV/Express lanes network from the Edsall Road area in Fairfax County to Garrisonville Road in Stafford County. The project will also add new access points and connect directly to the 495 Express Lanes.

What is the length of the partnership agreement between VDOT and Transurban?

The partnership agreement between VDOT and Transurban will be in place for 76 years. VDOT will own and oversee all aspects of the 95 Express Lanes.

Will there be any improvements to the I-395 HOV lanes between Springfield and Washington?

The 95 Express Lanes will extend two miles inside the Beltway to just north of Edsall Road.  From that point north, the HOV lanes will remain HOV-3+ only just as they are today.

What does the new project include?

The 95 Express Lanes project will create approximately 29 miles of HOV/Express lanes on I-95 from Garrisonville Road in Stafford County to the Edsall Road area on I-395 in Fairfax County and include:

  • Constructing two new reversible HOV/Express lanes for nine miles from Route 610/Garrisonville Road in Stafford County to Route 234 in Dumfries to where the existing HOV lanes begin
  • Widening the existing HOV lanes from two lanes to three lanes for 14 miles from the Prince William Parkway to the Springfield Interchange
  • Making improvements to the existing two HOV lanes for six miles from Route 234 to the Prince William Parkway and for two miles from the Springfield Interchange to Edsall Road
  • Adding new or improved access points in the areas of Garrisonville Road, Joplin Road, Prince William Parkway, Fairfax County Parkway, Franconia-Springfield Parkway, I-495 and the vicinity of Edsall Road

Does the project include new park-and-ride lots or other transit improvements?

Alongside the 95 Express Lanes, VDOT is delivering new commuter lots, expanding existing lots and improving access at a number of Park and Rides located in the I-95 corridor.

  • By 2015, there will be an additional 600 spaces at the Saratoga/EPG Park and Ride lot in Fairfax County and 700 spaces at the Telegraph Road -Old PRTC bus garage Park and Ride lot in Prince William County
  • By 2015, there will be an additional 600 spaces at the Saratoga/EPG Park and Ride lot in Fairfax County and 700 spaces at the Telegraph Road -Old PRTC bus garage Park and Ride lot in Prince William County.  There is also expected to be a new 1,000-space garage constructed along with the new Potomac Nationals Stadium at Stonebridge in Prince William County
  • By 2020 there will be an additional 1,000 spaces at Staffordboro Blvd. and 1,000 spaces will be added in Fredericksburg/Spotsylvania County at Gordon Blvd
  • Beyond 2020, VDOT plans to add thousands of new parking ride spaces in Fairfax County, Prince William County, Stafford County and Fredericksburg/Spotsylvania County along the I-95 corridor

Will the 95 Express Lanes extend to the Mark Center?

No, but to help address the transportation needs of the growing Mark Center, VDOT will construct a new HOV/transit ramp at I-395 and Seminary Road for the Mark Center. The ramp will be open to HOV and transit only.

Click to View All QuestionsHow the 95 Express Lanes Will Work

Who will be able to use the Lanes?

Buses, carpools with three or more people (HOV-3+) and an E-ZPass Flex switched to HOV mode, motorcycles and emergency vehicles can use the lanes without paying a toll. If you have fewer than three people in your car, you will pay a toll to use the lanes.

Will carpools and vanpools travel free at all times?

Yes. High occupancy vehicles (HOV-3+) with an E-ZPass Flex switched to HOV mode will have toll-free access to the Express Lanes at all times.

Will all travelers be able to use the 95 Express Lanes outside rush hour and on weekends?

Motorcycles and transit will have toll-free access at all times; drivers with fewer than three occupants can choose to pay a toll to use the lanes on occasions when they need to get somewhere on time.

Where can I access the 95 Express Lanes?

You can access the 95 Express Lanes at one of 12 entry/exit points including: the Edsall Road area, 495 Express Lanes/Springfield Interchange, Engineering Proving Grounds, Franconia Springfield, Newington, Boudinot Drive /Fairfax County Parkway, Route 1 at Occoquan, Gordon Boulevard, Prince William County Parkway, Opitz Boulevard, Cardinal Drive and Garrisonville Road.  Learn more about accessing the lanes.

What will the toll be on the 95 Express Lanes?

Tolls for the Express Lanes will be dynamic meaning they will change periodically based on real-time traffic conditions to keep the lanes free-flowing. Because toll prices are based on demand, it is difficult to predict exactly what the tolls will be at any given time. We expect they will range from as low as 20 cents per mile during less busy times, to approximately 80 cents per mile in some sections during rush hour, with a typical trip costing between $6 and $8.

How will I pay the toll?

You must pay tolls with an E-ZPass. There will be no toll booths or options to pay cash on the Express Lanes.  Learn more about using the lanes.

How will you know who is HOV and who is paying a toll?

We will tell the difference between HOV and toll-paying customers by reading the E-ZPass in the vehicle and working with state police to enforce the HOV rules.

All travelers on the Express Lanes will need to have an E-ZPass or a new E-ZPass Flex. The E-ZPass Flex will work like a regular E-ZPass, but will let you switch between HOV and toll-paying modes. If your E-ZPass Flex is switched to HOV mode and you have three or more passengers in the car, you will not be charged a toll. If your E-ZPass Flex is switched to toll mode, it will be used to pay the toll on the Express Lanes. This switchable E-ZPass will pay tolls on any other road that accepts E-ZPass, regardless of the position of the switch.

State troopers will be stationed alongside to make sure those travelers who have switched to carpool mode have three people in the car.

Combined, these changes will substantially decrease violation rates from what we see on the existing HOV lanes today, where about one-in-four drivers are cheating during the restricted periods.

At what time of day can I travel on the 95 Express Lanes?

The 95 Express Lanes will be reversible, like the HOV lanes are today.  We expect the reversal of the lanes in the morning and evening to be largely the same process and timing as today.  Learn more about the lane reversal schedule.

Will the 95 Express Lanes be reversible like the HOV lanes?

Yes.  The 95 Express Lanes will be reversible, like the HOV lanes are today.

Will toll-paying customers have access to the 95 Express Lanes inside the Beltway on I-395?

Toll-paying customers will have access to the 95 Express Lanes until the Edsall Road area. Beyond this point, the Lanes will be restricted to carpools, transit, motorcycles and designated hybrids. Carpools and transit heading north on the 95 Express Lanes will be able to continue on to the I-395 HOV lanes as they do today. Toll-paying customers heading north on the 95 Express Lanes will have the option to travel directly onto the 495 Express Lanes toward Tysons Corner or re-enter the regular lanes on I-395 in the area of Edsall Road.

Will carpoolers be required to have an E-ZPass?

Yes, all users must have an E-ZPass to travel on the 95 Express Lanes when they open in early 2015. Carpoolers or other HOV-3+ travelers are not required to have an E-ZPass during construction, but carpoolers and vanpools will need to get an E-ZPass Flex when the lanes open. The E-ZPass Flex switched to HOV mode will let us know you are a carpooler so that you won’t be charged a toll.

Carpoolers can use the E-ZPass Flex switched to HOV mode for free travel on the Express Lanes and they can also use it just like a regular E-ZPass to pay tolls on other toll roads, like the Dulles Toll Road or Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel.

By requiring users to have an E-ZPass, the 95 Express Lanes will be able to keep violators out of the lanes. Today, more than one-in-four vehicles in the I-95 HOV lanes are violators.

Can motorcycles use the Express Lanes?

Yes. Motorcycles will be permitted to use the lanes free of charge and do not need an E-ZPass.

If you already have an E-ZPass on your motorcycle, you can leave it on your motorcycle when you travel the 95 Express Lanes. The system will detect that you're traveling via motorcycle and not charge you a toll.

I drive a hybrid or a vehicle with clean fuel plates. Can I use the Express Lanes for free?

Per Virginia law, hybrid drivers will not travel toll-free in the Express Lanes unless they have the three or more people in the vehicle and an E-ZPass Flex set to HOV mode. If a hybrid or clean fuel plate driver meets the HOV-3+ requirement, then he or she may travel in the lanes toll-free. Otherwise, the driver may choose to pay a toll to access the lanes.

I’m traveling north into Washington, D.C. on I-395 either HOV-3+ or in a hybrid vehicle.  Do I need an E-ZPass to travel in this section when the 95 Express Lanes open? 

No. The 95 Express Lanes will extend two miles inside the Beltway to just north of Edsall Road. From that point north, the HOV lanes will remain HOV-3+ just as they are today and carpools and transit heading north on the 95 Express Lanes will be able to continue on to the I-395 HOV lanes.

Can buses use the Express Lanes?

Yes, buses -- regardless of the number of axles -- can use the lanes toll free but will need an E-ZPass. Learn more about who can use the lanes.

How can law enforcement use the 95 Express Lanes?

Law enforcement officers and first responders in pursuit of their duties, not including the use of such vehicles for commuting to and from the workplace, are exempt from toll and HOV requirements on the 95 Express Lanes. If your team needs to travel on the 95 Express Lanes in the performance of law enforcement duties for a specific operation or response, please contact us prior or afterwards so we can ensure you are not charged for these trips. Otherwise, the only way to travel the 95 Express Lanes toll-free is with three or more people in the vehicle and an E-ZPass Flex set to HOV mode. Email us with questions or to report travel.

Are commercial trucks allowed to use the Express Lanes?

Small and mid-sized trucks with two axles may use the Express Lanes as toll paying customers or they may travel toll-free if they meet the HOV-3+ requirement and have an E-ZPass® FlexSM. Vehicles with more than two axles will not be permitted to access the 95 Express Lanes.

I am from out of town, am I allowed to use the Express Lanes?

Yes, as long as you have an E-ZPass or E-ZPass Flex to travel on the 95 Express Lanes.  If you already have an E-ZPass, even from another state, it will work on the 95 Express Lanes.

Can taxi drivers use the Express Lanes?

Taxi drivers can use the Express Lanes anytime – all you need is an E-ZPass or E-ZPass Flex. The E-ZPass Flex gives you the flexibility to travel toll-free with three people in the taxi; when you travel with less than three people in the taxi, you will pay the current toll.

I slug, how will the Express Lanes benefit me?

All you need is an E-ZPass Flex. With three people in the vehicle and an E-ZPass Flex set to HOV mode, sluggers travel toll-free on the 95 Express Lanes all the time.

What is the contract requirement for maintaining speeds in the 95 Express Lanes?

People won’t pay to use the 95 Express Lanes unless they are going to get a faster and more reliable trip, so the private operator has an incentive to keep traffic moving. As an added protection for carpools and transit, the partnerships agreement goes beyond federal mandates to require average speeds of at least 55 mph in the 95 Express Lanes.

Click to View All QuestionsConstruction

When will construction start and how long will it take?

Construction is expected to begin in the summer 2012 construction season and will take about three years to complete.

How much will construction of the project cost?

The total project cost is approximately $925 million, with VDOT funding approximately $71 million and the private sector responsible for $854 million.

How long will the construction take?

Construction will begin in summer 2012. A robust public information program will be in place to ensure residents and travels are informed.

We encourage all travelers to visit vamegaprojects.com for the latest information.

Will sound walls be constructed as part of the project?

Yes, the 95 Express Lanes include the construction of more than 60,000 linear feet of new sound walls across Fairfax, Prince William and Stafford Counties.

Will there be any homes or businesses taken to construct the project?

At this time, VDOT anticipates that the project will be constructed entirely on existing VDOT right of way.

Will the public get an opportunity to comment?

The project has been developed through nearly a decade of public input and review. Most recently, VDOT hosted formal citizen information meetings and public hearings all along the corridor in September 2011. Additional comments on the project are always welcome at customercare@expresslanes.com.

Will the 95 Express Lanes eventually be extended through Arlington County into DC?

There are no plans to extend the 95 Express Lanes north at this time. The HOV lanes north of Edsall Road will remain HOV-3+ only, just as they are today.

When will the 95 Express Lanes be extended to Fredericksburg?

VDOT will continue to work with regional leaders and transportation planners to define both a timeline and funding plan for any future improvements.

Click to View All Questions95 Express Lanes and E-ZPass

Does everyone who uses the 95 Express Lanes need an E-ZPass?

Yes, you must have an E-ZPass if you want to use the Express Lanes. There are no toll booths or options to pay cash. If you want to carpool on the Express Lanes without paying the toll you need to get an E-ZPass Flex. This switchable E-ZPass lets us know you are a carpooler so that you won’t be charged a toll.  Learn more about using the lanes.

I already have a standard E-ZPass. Does it work?

Rest assured – it works on the Express Lanes.

Do I have to get an E-ZPass Flex?

No. If you don’t think you’ll travel the 95 Express Lanes with three or more people in your vehicle then you need a standard E-ZPass.

However, if you want to get a toll-free trip on the Express Lanes you need three or more people in your vehicle and an E-ZPass Flex set to HOV mode.

I have a Smart Tag, not an E-ZPass.  Will it work on the 95 Express Lanes?

Yes.  If you have a Smart Tag transponder, it will pay tolls on the 95 Express Lanes.

Why can’t I use the same transponder that I already have?

The E-ZPass you need depends on how you plan to use the Express Lanes. If you already have an E-ZPass, you do not need to switch to an E-ZPass Flex unless you plan on carpooling. Your standard E-ZPass will work. If you plan on carpooling, you need an E-ZPass Flex to use the Express Lanes.

Where can I get an E-ZPass?

You can get an E-ZPass on the Virginia or Maryland E-ZPass websites. To get an E-ZPass you will need your:

  • Driver’s License Number
  • License Plate Number
  • Credit Card Information

You can also get an E-ZPass or E-ZPass Flex in Virginia at:

In Virginia you can also call 877-762-7824 or visit your nearest E-ZPass Service Center.

If you live in Washington, D.C. and want an E-ZPass, you can sign up for a Virginia or Maryland E-ZPass account.

How do I swap out my existing E-ZPass for an E-ZPass Flex?

There are several ways for a current Virginia E-ZPass customer to exchange a standard E-ZPass for an E-ZPass Flex.

  • Go to http://www.ezpassva.com – under the heading “Announcing the new E-ZPass Flex”, click “Request a Flex Transponder.” Log in to your account and follow the instructions. Or you can log in to your account, go to the “Transponders” tab and request exchanges from there. Virginia E-ZPass will mail you an E-ZPass Flex and provide you an envelope to mail back your standard E-ZPass
  • Call the Customer Service Center (1-877-762-7824) – a Flex transponder can be sent to you. Virginia E-ZPass will mail you an E-ZPass Flex and you can use the enclosed envelope to mail back your standard E-ZPass. Or you can drop it off at one of the E-ZPass Customer Service Centers
  • Visit one of the E-ZPass Customer Service Centers. Go to ezpassva.com to find the Customer Service near you.

How much does E-ZPass cost?  Are there monthly fees?

New customers must pay $35 in pre-paid tolls when opening an E-ZPass or an E-ZPass Flex account. There is no monthly account maintenance fee.

If you would like an E-ZPass from Maryland, you can purchase a standard E-ZPass for $9 and an exterior E-ZPass for $33. E-ZPass Flex is available in Maryland for $18.  E-ZPass Maryland has various plans that you can choose from. For more information and to sign up, please visit the Maryland E-ZPass website.

My E-ZPass is mounted to my license plate.  How can I use the Express Lanes as a carpooler?

You can register the E-ZPass on your bumper on the Express Lanes website and we will flag your E-ZPass as HOV-3.  You will be able to do this when the lanes open in early 2015.

What happens if I use the Express Lanes without an E-ZPass?

If you use the Express Lanes without an E-ZPass, a letter will be sent to you explaining the correct way to use the lanes and requesting payment of your toll and an administrative fee.

Can I pay cash on the 95 Express Lanes?

No. You must pay tolls with an E-ZPass. There are no toll booths or options to pay cash on the Express Lanes. 

For more information and to sign up for a Virginia E-ZPass, please visit:  www.EZPassVA.com.

For more information and to sign up for a Maryland E-ZPass, please visit: https://www.ezpassmd.com.

What happens if I forget to switch my E-ZPass Flex to HOV mode and I have three people in my car?  Will I be charged a toll?

If your E-ZPass is in toll mode when you enter the Express Lanes, you will be charged a toll. To ensure that you get your toll-free trip when traveling HOV-3+, it’s important to make sure you select the travel mode on your E-ZPass Flex before you get on the Express Lanes.

For more information about E-ZPass and the Express Lanes check out our Using E-ZPass page.

What happens if I forget to switch my E-ZPass Flex to toll mode when I’m traveling alone?

A trooper could pull you over and issue you a ticket. Incorrect use of the E-ZPass Flex in HOV mode – including switching between travel modes while in the Express Lanes – may also result in a ticket or being charged. That why it’s important to make sure you select the travel mode on your E-ZPass Flex before you get on the road.

What is the beep on the Flex transponder for?

The beep on the E-ZPass Flex alerts the driver that their device is switched to carpool (HOV-3+ mode).  Traveling with three or more people and an E-ZPass Flex will give you a toll-free trip on the Express Lanes. If you are traveling with two or fewer people you should flip the switch to toll mode, which does not have a beep when you change to that mode.

Can I use my E-ZPass Flex transponder on other toll roads?

Yes, E-ZPass can be used to pay tolls on other roads such as the Dulles Toll Road or the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel. The E-ZPass Flex will work on any road that accepts E-ZPass, regardless of the position of the switch.