FAIRFAX – The Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) and I-66 Express Mobility Partners (EMP), the Commonwealth’s private partner and operator of the new 66 Express Lanes outside the Beltway, announced today that the westbound direction of the new 66 Express Lanes from I-495 (Capital Beltway) to Route 28 in Centreville remains on schedule to open on or about this Saturday, Nov. 19. The eastbound direction of this same 13-mile section of express lanes is expected to open by the end of November and could open as early as next Tuesday, Nov. 22, depending on weather and other factors. Updates will be provided to the public as final construction progresses.
What drivers should expect this weekend on I-66:
- All traffic on westbound I-66 will continue to use the westbound I-66 general-purpose lanes to the right side of the flex posts until the new 66 Express Lanes open.
- Lane closures, ramp closures, and traffic stoppages may be required on westbound I-66 and at interchanges, as crews uncover overhead signs, activate traffic signals on the express lanes ramps, and complete final preparations to open the express lanes.
- The westbound direction of 66 Express Lanes between I-495 and Route 28 in Centreville is expected to open as early as Saturday morning.
- Drivers should use caution when traveling in this section of I-66, as traffic becomes acclimated to the new express lanes and ramps.
When the remaining section of westbound 66 Express Lanes open, tolling and HOV-2+ rules will be in effect in the westbound direction for the entire 22.5-mile 66 Express Lanes corridor from I-495 to Route 29 in Gainesville, as well as in the eastbound direction on the previously-opened portion of express lanes from Route 28 in Centreville to Route 29 in Gainesville.
The HOV requirement for toll-free travel will change to HOV-3+ beginning Monday, Dec. 5, when vehicles will need to have three or more occupants to travel the express lanes without paying a toll. This change from HOV-2+ to HOV-3+ will apply across the entire I-66 corridor including the 66 Express Lanes located outside the Beltway, as well as the nine miles of 66 Express Lanes located inside the Beltway between I-495 and Route 29 in Rosslyn, which operate on weekdays during peak periods in peak commute directions. This HOV-3+ requirement is consistent with HOV requirements on the other express lanes in Northern Virginia. Eligible high occupancy vehicles can use the 66 Express Lanes toll-free but must have an E-ZPass Flex set to the “HOV On” mode.
The new 66 Express Lanes provide direct connections at major interchanges along the I-66 corridor, including Route 28, Route 50, Route 123, and I-495. Ramps at Monument Drive and Stringfellow Road will now be Express Lanes-only ramps. Additionally, the 66 Express Lanes bring new, first-time connections to and from the west at Monument Drive and Vaden Drive (near the Vienna-Fairfax/GMU Metrorail Station).
How Drivers Can Prepare for 66 Express Lanes Outside the Beltway:
- Learn more about the 66 Express Lanes, including how to access the lanes by visiting Ride66express.com.
- Obtain an E-ZPass to pay tolls, or an E-ZPass Flex to travel toll-free as HOV. Drivers can obtain an E-ZPass at ezpassva.com, by calling 877-762-7824, or in person at many Giant and Wegmans grocery stores in Northern Virginia, as well as at AAA offices, Fairfax Connector stores, and DMV Customer Service Centers.
- Become familiar with other payment options available through I-66 EMP such as paying online or via mobile device, via the mail, by calling 833-643-2867, or in person at the 66 Express Lanes Customer Service Center in Manassas. Payment options other than E-ZPass will incur administrative fees. More information can be found at Ride66express.com.
The first nine-mile western section of the 66 Express Lanes between Gainesville and Route 28 in Centreville opened ahead of schedule on Sept. 10. This stretch of express lanes provides direct access to and from two new commuter parking lots at University Boulevard (Gainesville) and Century Park Drive (Manassas), which were built as part of the Transform 66 Outside the Beltway Project.
Construction on some project features such as interchange improvements and a shared-use path adjacent to I-66 will continue after the opening of the express lanes, with scheduled completion by mid-2023.
Stay informed about I-66 construction activities and lane closures at Transform66.org.