Northern Virginia

Drivers Hope New I-66 Express Lanes Ease Commute in Northern Virginia

The tolls are estimated to cost the most at about 8:45 a.m.

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Northern Virginia commuters began their first workweek on Monday with Interstate 66’s new express lane tolls.

The new I-66 express lanes outside the Beltway in Virginia started charging drivers on Saturday. The nine-mile stretch between Route 29 in Gainesville and Route 28 in Centreville opened earlier in September.

Toll prices will vary based on how much traffic is on the road and how fast traffic is moving. Drivers can decide to pay to use the express lanes or continue on regular I-66 lanes.

News4 spoke to drivers about their concerns around the new express lanes and tolls.

Virginia driver Daniel Dick said he is concerned about driving his normal route to D.C. He said he's worried the tolls could cost $50 to $100 one way.

“My commute usually averages an hour to an hour-and-a-half one way. With bad traffic, it can be two hours, so I am hoping these lanes make it a little better, but like I said, I'm cautiously optimistic,” he said.

Another driver, Kimberli Arias, said she thinks the express lanes are a step in the right direction because of the “crazy” traffic on I-66. The longest she has been stuck in traffic on the interstate is an hour-and-a-half.

“I think it could be a good idea once we get the kinks out,” Arias said.

On his first morning commute with the new tolls, Dick said he opted out of paying for the express lanes. He said his decision saved him $13.30 one way.

“I am hopeful that the lanes improve the traffic, but, again, I'm concerned about the variable-rate toll and people just compacting into those remaining three non-toll lanes and becoming worse,” he said.

The tolls were temporarily free when they first opened but will now cost money unless drivers are in HOV mode with two or more people in the car and are using an EZ Pass Flex.

The price of heading into D.C. using the express lanes will cost between $2 to $10, depending on the traffic. The cost estimates are based on averages from the past four weeks.

The toll prices are estimated to cost the most during the morning commute at about 8:45 a.m.

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