Widening and converting the 395 HOV lanes to HOT/Express Lanes was originally proposed in 2005 and approved by the Commonwealth Transportation Board as part of the overall I-95/I-395 HOT Lanes project. However, a 2009 lawsuit by the Arlington County Board of Supervisors derailed the original project and in 2011 the Virginia Department of Transportation decided it could wait no longer to bring improvements and travel options to the 95 corridor. It therefore eliminated the I-395 inside the Beltway segment and moved forward with the I-95 Express Lane project from Edsall Road in Fairfax County to Route 610 in Stafford County. The Arlington Board’s legal option that caused VDOT to delay the 395 portion cost the region in $200 million in private sector public transit corridor improvements for the corridor.
Arlington County’s lawsuit to stop the I-95/I-395 HOT Lanes project was just another in a long list of Northern Virginia locality actions that have delayed, downsized or defeated and run-up the cost of badly needed transportation improvements. It’s not by accident area residents lose more time and money stuck in congestion than just about anyone in the nation.
You can read more about local actions that have cost Northern Virginia here.
In November 2015 the Commonwealth of Virginia signed a Framework agreement with Transurban to move forward with the conversion of the I-395 HOV lanes to express lanes. The project will be done under the existing 95 Express Lanes Comprehensive Agreement between VDOT and Transurban.
The project will extend the I-95 Express Lanes from the current terminus at Turkeycock Run near Edsall Road 8 miles north to the vicinity of South Eads Street in Arlington.
A third lane will be added to the existing two HOV lanes and all three reversible lanes will operate 24/7 as express/toll lanes.
Vehicles with 3 or more persons will travel for free at all times. Vehicles with less than three persons will pay variable tolls based on travel conditions. Existing conventional/general purposes lanes will remain free to all travelers.
As part of the Agreement, Transurban will provide a dedicated annual transit payment for transit services and other multi-modal services as determined by a study conducted by the Virginia Department of Rail and Public Transportation.
Construction is expected to start in Spring 2017 with completion in Summer 2019.
You can find more information about the 395 Express Lanes project here.