Virginia shelves I-395 toll plan but floats similar concept for I-95

| 2/8/2011

Although officials with the Virginia DOT say they are giving up on a concept to add managed toll lanes to I-395, they have come forward with a new plan for a similar concept for a portion of Interstate 95. But don?t worry, truckers, you won?t be allowed to use the new lanes, anyway.

A VDOT spokeswoman told Land Line that tractor-trailers will not be allowed in the managed lanes, known as HOV/HOT lanes, once they are built and operational along I-95 ? a major trucking corridor.

HOV/HOT stands for high-occupancy vehicle lanes and high-occupancy toll lanes. The VDOT proposal would combine the concepts, and officials say the managed lanes will provide congestion relief in the Beltway region.

VDOT Secretary Sean Connaughton said a lawsuit in Arlington County caused VDOT to shelve the six-mile I-395 project. In a letter to area officials dated Feb. 2, Connaughton announced the proposed new project for I-95. It involves a combination of ? also known as HOV/HOT lanes.

The HOV/HOT lanes, when built, would give drivers of most vehicles a choice to pay a toll to get out of congestion on the so-called ?free? lanes. Motorcycles, high-occupancy vehicles and buses would not have to pay a toll to use the new lanes. Tolls will be collected through E-ZPass.

Toll rates would vary during peak times, putting a premium on the use of the new lanes. The more congested the roadway, the higher the toll rate.

According to VDOT, toll revenue from the new lanes would pay for the widening project, enhanced carpooling opportunities, and transit in the corridor.