Scott Shenk writes about transportation issues affecting Fredericksburg-area residents. You can email him at

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I-495 express lanes mark one year

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In its first year of operation, the Interstate 495 express lanes tallied more than one million trips, according to Tansurban Group, which, along with the Fluor Corporation, operates the electronically tolled lanes.

While ridership didn’t measure up to expectations during the inaugural year for the new beltway express lanes, there was improvement during the year’s final quarter, according to the company’s report. There was a 63 percent increase in express lane traffic compared to the same period a year ago.

The average toll in December was $2.32.

On Dec. 19, there were a record 46,975 trips on the express lanes, bringing in just more than $123,000 in tolls.

The 495 express lanes opened in November 2012. Transurban and Fluor paid for most of the I-495 express lanes.

The companies also are paying for the bulk of the nearly $1-billion Interstate 95 express lanes project, which are under construction and could be open by the end of the year. The I-95 express lanes project includes the expansion of the current HOV lanes, which also will be extended to Garrisonville. Vehicles that use the lanes need to have an E-ZPass transponder. Motorcycles and vehicles carrying at least three people ride for free.


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