Alliance Priority Update: Long-Awaited I-395 Express Lanes Extension Back on Track

Posted on March 30, 2016 in: I-395

National Capital Region Transportation Planning Board voted earlier this month to approve for air quality conformity testing the I-395 Express Lanes Extension Project between I-495 and Eads Street in the region’s Constrained Long-Range Plan (CLRP).  This vote restores a critical project that had been removed from the region’s long-range transportation plan in 2011.

When completed in mid-2019, the project will extend the existing I-95 Express Lanes 8 miles north and bring much needed capacity improvements and travel options to corridor by:

  • Converting the 2 existing HOV lanes to Express/HOT Lanes and adding an additional lane for a total of 3 Express/HOT lanes;
  • Generating guaranteed transit funding for new and enhanced transit services, such as improved bus service in the entire 395/95 corridor;
  • Enhancing access to the Pentagon with an improved interchange at Eads Street; and
  • Adding missing sound walls to protect neighborhoods.

This critical regional improvement will significantly reduce I-395 corridor congestion, providing an important 24/7 travel option to single occupant vehicles and more reliable travel for HOV-3 and transit.

Vehicles with three or more people will continue to use the express lanes for free.  Solo and non-HOV drivers can choose to use general purpose lanes for free or the express lanes for a variable toll.

This long overdue project will also improve travel conditions and travel times in the regular lanes as seen with the I-95 Express Lanes project,  where express lane users experience an average 35-40 minute daily time savings and I-95 regular lanes users an average 17.5 minutes time savings per trip.

“These are significant transportation improvements that will move more people and commerce through an interstate corridor, and a critical jobs corridor….  This represents a true multi-modal solution offering commuters a reliable trip so they can reach their destination faster in one the most congested regions of the country.” – Governor McAuliffe (November 2015 Statement on the I-395 Express Lanes Project)

We agree!