There are just a few days left for drivers to try out the new western section of the 66 Express Lanes for free.
The 9-mile stretch between U.S. Route 29 in Gainesville and Va. Route 28 in Centreville opened on Sept. 10 without tolls so drivers could get familiar with it.
The Virginia Department of Transportation said on Wednesday tolls and high occupancy vehicle requirements will kick in starting Saturday, Sept. 24.
Tolls will vary based on how much traffic is on the road, and how fast it’s moving at any given time. Drivers will see the current price on electronic signs before they choose whether to use the lanes.
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Drivers will be able to pay their toll by using an E-ZPass, or by making a payment online after the fact. If your toll isn’t paid within five days of your trip, you’ll get a bill in the mail which you can pay online, by phone, at a local Walmart or at the 66 Express Lanes Customer Service Center in Manassas.
Drivers of cars, SUVs, minivans and pickup trucks will all be charged the same toll rate, but drivers of large trucks will be charged more. Motorcyclists will be able to continue using the lanes for free.
In order to use the lanes without paying a toll, drivers must have at least one passenger in the car to qualify as a HOV. They also must have an E-ZPass Flex set to the “HOV On” mode.
When the remaining 13 miles of the 66 Express Lanes open, drivers will need to have at least two passengers with them to qualify as a HOV. That segment — between Route 28 and the Capital Beltway — is scheduled to open in December.