The 495 Express Lanes aren't open yet - but a special commuter got an early test drive.
Santa became the first driver to cruise the new toll lanes in his white convertible.
The new road is scheduled to open to drivers on Saturday, November 17.
Here is what you need to know before you decide to try the new roads out.
Your Map to a New Shortcut
The 495 Express Lanes will run down the middle of the Capital Beltway, and there will be several opportunities to enter the Lanes. If you're already on the Beltway, you can enter just north of the Dulles Toll Road and just south of Braddock Road. There are also several entry and exit points to and from other highways and major side routes.
A New Kind of Travel on the Beltway
Using the 495 Express Lanes will be easy and provide you with a predictable trip on the Capital Beltway. Whether you travel by car, carpool, or bus, the Express Lanes will give you the freedom to control how and when you arrive at your destination.
Paying the Toll Won't Slow You Down
You will pay your toll on the Express Lanes with an E-ZPass® – there are no toll booths to slow you down. The electronic tolling equipment will charge your E-ZPass® account. The Express Lanes will have all-electronic tolling to keep you moving. There will be no tollbooths or options to pay cash.
Carpooling on the Express Lanes
Carpools can use the lanes without paying a toll. If you plan to carpool on the Express Lanes, you will need three people in the vehicle and an E-ZPass® FlexSM. The E-ZPass® FlexSM is your way to tell the Express Lanes operator that you are carpooling and ensure you are not charged a toll.
Getting into the Lanes
You will see pricing and regulatory signage in advance of all Express Lanes entrances. These signs will guide you to the lanes, explain the rules of the road and provide you with information on current toll pricing. Once you see the price and determine you want to take the Express Lanes, you will enter the lanes on a ramp that will bring you directly into the Express Lanes. It's that easy.
Exiting the Lanes
Once you are in the Express Lanes, you will use dedicated Express Lanes ramps on the left to exit directly onto major roadways. You will only be able to exit from the Express Lanes onto the regular Beltway lanes at the beginning and end of the Lanes, in the area just south of Braddock Road, or north of the Dulles Toll Road.
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