McLEAN, Va. (AP) — The Capital Beltway, notorious both as a symbol of our political gridlock and traffic gridlock, is getting a major makeover.
The 495 Express Lanes will open Saturday on a 14-mile stretch of the Beltway in northern Virginia. The four new Express Lanes — two in each direction — will supplement the existing lanes.
Drivers who want to use the new lanes, though, will have to either pay a toll or join a carpool of three or more.
The lanes were built as part of a $2 billion public-private partnership and are part of a growing trend across the nation of so-called High Occupancy Toll lanes, or HOT lanes.
Once derided as "Lexus lanes" that would only benefit the wealthy, many early opponents of the project have come to support it.