Road work along Interstate 66 inside the Capital Beltway is beginning a project to create new electronic toll lanes in hopes of alleviating traffic congestion while increasing vehicle capacity.
The work on the entire project is expected to be completed by mid-2017 for dynamic toll lanes allowing anyone, including solo drivers who would have to pay a toll, to use them. The lanes will be free for HOV-2+ and buses.
Crews began working on construction of gantries, the overhead devices that will detect toll users, Tuesday night. Sections of I-66 will be closing in 15 minute increments until 5 a.m. Wednesday.
I-66 inside the Beltway will be tolled from 5:30 a.m. until 9:30 a.m. eastbound and from 3:00 p.m. until 7:00 p.m. westbound, Monday through Friday. The lanes will remain free to all traffic during the off-peak periods and on weekends.
Tolls will vary based on demand to ensure that toll paying users will have a high-speed, reliable trip similar to the I-495 Express Lanes and I-95 Express Lanes. It is anticipated that the average toll will be $5-6 a trip.
The Virginia Department of Transportation expects the toll lanes will result in fewer delays, higher and more reliable speeds, and additional capacity. By 2020, I-66 lanes inside and outside the beltway will be converted from HOV2 to HOV3.