TYSONS CORNER, Va. (WUSA) - The rolling message truck is driving on the very thing it's advertising to the very people who need it. That's the new I- 495 express lanes, which open this Saturday, Nov. 17.
Commuters who take I-495 from Springfield to Tysons Corner endure one of the most congested routes in the Washington area. Even people who live in Tysons can't stand the traffic.
Anyone who has an E Z Pass or Smart tag can use the new Express lanes, which are two lanes that run in both directions on the 14 miles route. There are new entrances and exit ramps exclusively for the express lanes. Two go in and out of busy Tysons Corner.
The tolls will vary: the more crowded, the more expensive in order to keep keep traffic flowing on the express lanes at or above 45 miles per house. The tolls may be as high as $10 each way, unless you'll be carpooling or on a bus.
But, in order to not be charged a toll if you have 3 in your car, you'll have to obtain a Flex Pass which will allow you to turn the Flex on. This alerts the State Troopers patrolling the lanes that you're a carpooler. The officer is inclined to find your vehicle and check. If you don't have 3, and your caught, you'll receive a dreaded and expensive HOV violation. As you may know, HOV violations escalate in cost the more you receive.
If you Flex, don't forget to turn it on. Or you'll be charged anyway.
Is it worth it to get a Flex?
Consider this: A regular EZ Pass will cost you $.50 per month. A Flex Pass $1. per month. One day of riding the Express Lanes could run you as high as $20. You decide.