The new express lanes on Interstate 66 inside the Beltway opened this morning (Dec. 4), and the Virginia State Police issued a press release with two stern warnings:
- Plan ahead
- Don’t stop or back up.
“Your morning and afternoon drives on I-66 inside the Beltway are going to look much different from what you are used to, so take advantage of the maps and detailed information provided 66expresslanes.org,” said Sgt. Steven Mittendorff, VSP Area 45 Office Commander. “Familiarize yourself with where the traffic lanes change to decide if you want or can use the Express Lanes on I-66 inside the Beltway during the designated hours.”
State police will have additional troopers on I-66 to help ease the flow of traffic, especially as motorists become accustomed to the new Express Lane changes.
Anyone can use the new express lanes. If you are traveling alone, you will need to pay a toll and need an E-ZPass. If you have two more people in your vehicle, you can continue to use the lanes free, but must have and E-ZPass Flex switched to the HOV mode to travel free.
The best way people can be ready to adjust to the change is to get information before heading out for their morning or afternoon commute.
- Plan Ahead. Recognizing and being prepared in advance of the change in traffic patterns at the Express Lanes entrance will help keep traffic moving safely and smoothly along I-66 during the morning and afternoon rush hours.
“If you will be traveling I-66, then please plan ahead and before your trip research your options with the new Express Lanes,” Mittendorff said.
- Don’t stop or back up. Drivers should never stop or back up in an attempt to avoid the Express Lanes. If you accidentally find yourself in the Express Lanes, then just keep going in the Express Lanes and get off at the first exit. Go to 66expresslanes.org and follow the directions on how to pay the toll online. Backing up or stopping puts you at risk of causing a crash and being seriously injured or killed.