High Occupancy Virginia Toll Lanes to Appear This Year in Hampton Roads
High occupancy Virginia toll lanes which drivers pay to use if they are driving alone are coming to Hampton Roads this year. Now, the Virginia Department of Transportation says drivers may choose to pay more to use express lanes on much of Interstate 64 by 2024.
A recent report on WAVY.com noted VDOT will roll out its first high occupancy lanes in Hampton Roads on I-64 from I-264 to Naval Station Norfolk. The high occupancy lane will be built on an eight-mile stretch. VDOT said signs and testing will start in September.
High occupancy Virginia toll lanes have sparked a debate about the future of transportation in the region.
However, Aubrey Layne, Secretary of Transportation said they are a better option than tunnel tolls, WAVY reported.
Layne said the tolls at the Midtown and Downtown Tunnels are “bad policy.” He said drivers have little choice other than to pay a “premium.”It’s not the same with so called HOT lanes, because of the element of choice, according to Layne. He said:
“Every time somebody chooses to use this lane, it frees up the other lane you were going to be in. Going forward, there will be a free alternative.”
Tolls are only imposed on drivers who use the lanes if they have no passengers in their vehicle.
Vehicles with at least two people can ride the HOT lanes for free. They will use an E-ZPass Flex, a type of transponder allows drivers to switch to a carpooling (HOV) mode.
The cost of the toll will depend on congestion and the speed in which drivers are traveling. Layne estimates the price will range from $1 to $2.
Layne said express lanes could be built on the High Rise Bridge and around the Bowers Hill area of Chesapeake by 2021.
He expects a tolling option on the expanded Hampton Roads Bridge-Tunnel by 2024. An express lane may also be installed north to Jefferson Avenue in Newport News.
How Effective Are High Occupancy Virginia Toll Lanes?
In 2015, the Washington Post reported on how the 495 Express Lanes opened on the Capital Beltway in 2012.
Two years later, these HOT lanes linked up with the 29-mile long HOT lanes system on Interstates 95 and 395.
The Post article highlighted a source of frustration and a possible hazard around the nation’s capital.
Solo drivers were drifting into the HOT lanes and switching back into the regular lanes before they passed under the first toll gantry. The impact of the move was slowing down traffic on the express lanes.
High occupancy Virginia toll lanes have the potential to reduce congestion in Hampton Roads if the technology is implemented properly. However, abuse of the system could result in greater confusion and wrecks.
If you have been hurt in a Hampton Roads car crash, please call our Norfolk car accident injury team at (757) 455-0077 or contact us here.