Virginia congestion management plan for the future. The Capital Beltway HOT (high occupancy) toll lanes is a collaboration between Virginia Dept. of Transportation and Fluor-Suburban. This HOT lanes are four new tolled lanes (two in each direction) alongside the existing highway lanes. The toll lanes supposed to cut commuting time from Springfield to Tysons Corner (major employment center) during rush hour, saving an average 24 minutes a day.
The toll rates based on 'congestion pricing.' Cc's of NYC, Singapore & London road management plans. Milan calls it 'pollution tax.' Whatever. They're all have the same effect. A month after Milan's implemented Eco-Pass, traffic figures down by 22.7%. It increases bus riderships and subways.
In pure economical sense and benefits, it encourages everyone to go car pooling, ride mass transit or avoid the traffic during rush hour all together. The mission is to take hundred of cars off the roads. Telecommute does look good.
Here is how it works. When it opens for business in 2013, buses, carpools (HOV-3) and motorcycles and emergency vehicles have free access to HOT lanes. However, drivers with fewer than 3 passengers in the car can choose to pay to access the lanes. The pricing goes up and down depending on how much traffic on the road to keep the lanes congestion free. So when traffic increases, tolls will go up, and vice versa. You can pay tolls with E-Z pass. And there will be signs that display toll rates to help you, the driver, decide whether it's worth your money (and time) to use the toll lanes.
THE WORKS. Project is divided into 4 construction areas: 1) North of I-66, 2) South of I-66, 3) I-66 interchange, 4) Springfield interchange (mixing bowl).
The timeline for construction. It starts in spring 2008 (supposedly) and schedule to open in 2013 divided into 3 phases. Phase 1: 2008-2010 build outer 2 lanes. Phase 2: 2009-2012 build inner 2 lanes and 2013- open for business.
When I asked the VDOT rep if the works going to interfere with traffic. He assures me that there will be no closure of beltway lane during peak rush hours. If there are closures it will be communicated in advance, i.e. those who don't pay attention - will get stuck in traffic. Take it for what is worth.
Message to you: Plan ahead for your travel.