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. 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 Edsall Road area 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. The Virginia Department of Transportation is working on adding an auxiliary lane just north of the Express Lanes and a new HOV ramp at Seminary Road.

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
  • 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
  • Widening the existing HOV lanes from two lanes to three lanes for 14 miles from the Prince William Parkway to the Edsall Road area
  • 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.

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. Vehicles with more than two axles cannot 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?

Yes. HOV-3+ vehicles, 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.

Where can I access the 95 Express Lanes?

There are several entrances and exits to the 95 Express Lanes. Drivers can enter and exit from connecting roads and from the regular lanes on 95. Learn more about accessing the lanes.

What happens at the 95 Express Lanes/HOV lanes transition point?

The Express Lanes end and the HOV lanes begin on I-395 just north of Edsall Road.

The rules on the I-395 HOV lanes will be the same as they are today. When traveling northbound in the 95 Express Lanes in the morning, this means that:

  • Vehicles that do not meet the HOV requirement when the HOV rules are in effect on I-395 will need to exit from the Express Lanes and reenter the regular I-395 lanes
  • Carpoolers and hybrids heading north on the Express Lanes will be able to continue onto the I-395 HOV lanes

Traveling southbound in the afternoon, the HOV lanes end and the Express Lanes begin on I-395 south near Edsall Road: 

  • All travelers will need an E-ZPass or E-ZPass Flex to enter the Express Lanes
  • Vehicles that do not have an E-ZPass or don’t want to travel on the Express Lanes, can exit the I-395 HOV lanes and reenter the regular lanes
  • Carpoolers can continue onto the Express Lanes and travel toll-free with an E-ZPass Flex set to HOV mode

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.

Learn more about the lane reversal schedule.

What is the lane reversal schedule for the 95 Express Lanes?

The reversal of the 95 Express Lanes in the morning and evening will be largely the same process and timing as the current I-95 HOV system. Here is the planned schedule:

Weekdays: 

  • Closed: between midnight to 2 a.m.
  • Northbound: open from 2 a.m. to 11 a.m.
  • Closed: between 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.
  • Southbound: open from 1 p.m. to midnight

Saturday:

  • Southbound: open from midnight to 2 p.m.
  • Closed: between 2 p.m. to 4 p.m.
  • Northbound: open from 4 p.m. to midnight

Sunday:

  • Northbound: open from midnight to midnight

The schedule is approximate and will vary based on real-time traffic conditions. Here are some things to remember while driving on the 95 Express Lanes:

  • No matter when you travel, remember to pay close attention to on-road signage and gates
  • Never attempt to enter or exit the Express Lanes via an access point that is closed or is in the process of closing

Will all vehicles have to pay a toll to use the 95 Express Lanes?

No. Buses, carpools with three or more people (HOV-3+) and an E-ZPass Flex, 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.

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 rush hour trip costing between $6 and $8.

Will there be a cap on toll rates?

There is no toll cap, as tolls must be able to manage real-time traffic demands to keep the lanes free flowing.

How will I pay the toll?

You must pay tolls with an E-ZPass. There are no toll booths or options to pay cash on the Express Lanes. Learn more about E-ZPass on the 95 Express Lanes.

How do you calculate the tolls?

The toll rates vary based on traffic and are set at levels to keep you moving in the Express Lanes and provide value to customers who pay to use the Express Lanes.

How will I know ahead of time what the toll will be so I can decide whether to use the lanes?

You will see two pricing signs before all entrances to the Express Lanes. The pricing signs show the cost to travel to a maximum of three upcoming exits. It's important to remember that, in some cases, not all available exit points will be displayed on the electronic signs. Don’t see your exit? It might fall between the exits listed on the sign or you might see it on another pricing sign later during your trip.

The displayed prices change to reflect the current toll prices. When you enter the Express Lanes, you lock in your toll rate until you see another pricing sign.

Whenever you see a pricing sign, you decide if you want to take the Express Lanes or the regular lanes.

Learn more about signage on the 95 Express Lanes.

Will the tolls change while I am in the lanes?

No, but you might need to pay more than one toll during your trip. When you pass under a pricing sign, you lock in your toll rate until the last exit shown on the sign. If you see another pricing sign during your trip on the Express Lanes, you will lock in your rate for the second part of your trip after you pass under the second pricing sign.

I can see the price to travel to the last exit on the 495 Express Lanes no matter where I get on them. How come this is not the case on the 95 Express Lanes?

The 95 Express Lanes are just like the 495 Express Lanes, only they are more than twice as long and include many opportunities for drivers to enter directly from the regular lanes. By showing just the upcoming exit points on pricing signs, we can manage traffic across the 29-mile corridor and keep you moving. Drivers also have more choices and know the prices to exit at more points along the corridor.

Will the lanes be tolled 24 hours-a-day?

Yes, tolls will always be in effect. HOV-3+ vehicles with an E-ZPass Flex set to HOV mode can travel toll-free on the lanes, all the time.

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 make sure those travelers who have switched to HOV mode have three people in the car.

How will you enforce the lanes?

Virginia State Police will enforce the lanes with the help of technology.

If you don’t have an E-ZPass, roadside equipment will capture an image of your license plate and we will send you an invoice in the mail requesting payment of your toll and an administrative fee. 

If you are carpooling, equipment on the side of the road will alert state police that you have identified yourself as HOV-3 through your E-ZPass Flex. State police then do a visual check to make sure you indeed have three people in the car.

What is a Lane Use Management System?

A Lane Use Management System is used to help safely manage traffic on the 95 Express Lanes. If there is a green arrow above your lane, the lane is open. A red X above your lane means you need to exit the lane, as the lane is closed. Please follow the posted speeds on the digital speed limit signs when on the Express Lanes.

How many people do I have to have in my vehicle to qualify for HOV?

There must be three or more people in the vehicle to qualify for HOV.

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. Carpoolers, vanpools or other HOV-3+ travelers 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 for toll-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.

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.

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 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. Learn more about how law enforcement can use the lanes.

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 Flex. 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. Further, you must comply with HOV rules to continue on to the I-395 HOV lanes to reach Arlington or Washington, D.C.

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 did construction start and how long will it take?

Construction began in August 2012 and is expected to be completed by late 2014.

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.

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?

No. The project will be constructed entirely on existing VDOT right of way.

Will the 95 Express Lanes eventually be extended through Arlington County into D.C.?

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. Will it work on the Express Lanes?

Rest assured – it will work 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 Virginiaor 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 – click “Switch to E-ZPass Flex” on the left navigation tab.  On the page, click “Request a Flex Transponder” and you will be directed to log in to your account.  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 E-ZPass Flex account in Virginia. There is no monthly account maintenance fee. For more information and to sign up, please visit the Virginia E-ZPass website

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.

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’s 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.