Work is underway on a project officials said will make Interstate 66 inside the Capital Beltway the nation's first roadway with dynamic tolling on all lanes during peak traffic times.
Officials broke ground Monday on the project expected to be complete next year. Toll prices on the roadway will be adjusted based on volume to help keep traffic moving at highway speeds.
"This is the most congested road in the United States of America right behind me," said Gov. Terry McAuliffe (Va.). "The most congested region and the most congested road. It was time to do something about it."
The project includes the installation of electronic tolling equipment and signs on nearby local streets. There will be no toll booths. Motorists will pass under E-Z pass detectors.
"I think we saw the average commute was about $6," said Virginia Transportation Secretary Aubrey Layne.
Toll revenues will fund improvements that give commuters other travel options, including new and enhanced bus service and bike-share programs. The Commonwealth Transportation Board also recently approved a nearly $10 million program to fund such projects.
"When I ran for governor, I promised we would transform northern Virginia," McAuliffe said. "If you look at what we've been able to accomplish in the last 2 1/2 years, we pretty much have done everything we've promised. There isn't much more else you can do on the major arteries."
A 4-mile segment of eastbound I-66 will also be widened from the Dulles Connector Road. The extra lane won't open until 2020.