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Here’s a look at tomorrow’s I-66 (outside the Beltway) today

Work is underway to add new E-ZPass Express Lanes to Interstate 66 Outside the Beltway, from Gainesville in Prince William County to Dunn Loring in Fairfax County.

The new lanes will be similar to those on I-95, 495, and soon on 395 that will allow vehicles with three or more occupants to travel free with an E-ZPass Flex electronic transponder. Single drivers with an E-ZPass Flex or standared E-ZPass may choose to pay a toll to use the lanes. 

The video in this post was provided by I-66 Mobility Partners, the private consortium working to build the new lanes, to give drivers on the general purpose lanes and on the paid and ridesharing E-ZPass Lanes a view of what the newly reconfigured road will look like when it opens by the end of 2022.

From the Virginia Department of Transportation: 

The project will modify nearly 23 miles of I-66 providing two express lanes in each direction alongside three regular lanes from I-495 to University Boulevard near Route 29 in Gainesville, with dedicated express lanes access points, and space in the median reserved for future transit. In addition, the project consists of 4,000 park and ride spaces, new and expanded commuter bus service throughout the corridor, safety and operational improvements at key interchanges, auxiliary lanes between interchanges, and bicycle and pedestrian paths and connections.

Under a 50-year partnership agreement that protects the public, I-66 EMP assumes responsibility for all costs to design, build, operate and maintain the 66 Express Lanes. This agreement requires zero public investment and requires EMP to pay $800 million for transit service in the corridor and $350 million in other projects to improve the I-66 corridor over the next 50 years. The project’s financial close was reached on November 9, securing the funding necessary to move forward.

The tolls that debuted on I-66 inside the Beltway from Lee Highway to Rosslyn, from 5:30 to 9:30 a.m. and 3 to 7 p.m. weekdays, are part of a seperate project paid for an operated by VDOT.

As part of that project, a new four-mile lane will be built on I-66 east from the Dulles Connector Road to Fairfax Drive in Fairfax and Arlington counties. The $86 million contract for that project for that project was awarded on Thursday, Dec. 7, 2017, four days atfer tolls went into effect on I-66 inside the Beltway. 

I-66 inside the Beltway is now the only highway in the U.S. that is tolled on all lanes during peak periods. Tolls collected on this portion of the highway will go to fund transit improvements along the corridor with the idea of taking more cars off the road, making more room for those who choose to pay the toll or carpool on the lanes.

Lawmakers say the tolls — as much as $40 one way during its first week — are too high, and they demanded the state temporality halt tolling on I-66 inside the Beltway until a new agreement can be reached. 

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