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I-395 Express lanes are open

If you've been avoiding getting an E-ZPass, now might be the time to get one.

ARLINGTON, Va. — The big transition for the I-395 Express lanes happened this weekend. 

On Sunday, November 17, drivers had to pay a toll to use the Express Lanes that run eight miles from Springfield, Va. to the D.C. Line. 

Friday night at 8 p.m., the HOV corridor completely shut down as crews made final preparations to open the Express Lanes Sunday night. 

All drivers using the new Express Lanes will be required to have an E-ZPass.

If you carpool and have at least three people in the car, you will still be able to hop on the new lanes for free, with an E-ZPass flex. If you ride solo or have just two people in the car, you will have to pay. 

According to Transurban, the company that runs the toll lanes, the average cost will be about $10. During high congestion times, that price could jump much higher like the prices of the tolls on I-66, I-495, and I-95. 

Much of the eight-mile stretch from Springfield to D.C. will remain the same, with the exception of those heading to the Pentagon. Drivers who are going to the Pentagon will exit left on the new lanes. Meanwhile, those going to Pentagon city will use the right exit. 

Another change is for drivers who are heading onto I-395 North from Eads St. If you head into the district from that location, you have no choice but to pay the toll. 

In the past, Transurban said there have been cases where drivers who accidentally got on the toll lanes have tried to back up or turn around. The company is urging drivers not to follow those unsafe actions. 

Transurban spokesman Mike McGurk said there will be a grace period for drivers who are confused and get on the lanes by accident. 

"If you get on by mistake without an E-ZPass, if you get that unpaid toll invoice the mail don't worry about it. Call us and we'll take care of it, said McGurk. 

In addition to the new toll lanes, crews are still working to complete a fourth regular southbound lane from Duke Street to Edsall Road that is expected to open in the Spring. 

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