Questions linger as 395 express lanes open on Sunday

Transurban announced the 395 HOV corridor will be closed at 8 p.m. Friday. The corridor will re-open again on Sunday as the new 395 Express Lanes. 

The 395 Express Lanes will be 24/7 reversible lanes. Transurban believes the average cost to use will be $10.

People are still asking questions about how to get around as thousands of drivers prepare for a change to 395's traffic pattern. One conversation seen online was on whether drivers would be able to enter on to a non-HOV 395 entrance ramp near Eads St. in the Pentagon City area once the new Express Lanes open.  

The short answer from Transurban Spokesperson Mike McGurk is, "No."

First, McGurk says it's important to start with the two new exit ramps:

"Northbound in the morning, drivers headed toward Eads St. or the Pentagon to take that exit: today, whether they're going to the Pentagon or Pentagon City, when the express lanes open Sunday night and for Monday morning's commute, there will be two ramps there so folks going to the Pentagon should keep left. Folks going to Pentagon City want to use that same ramp -- that's off to the right," McGurk told FOX 5. 

As to the question raised on whether those in the Pentagon area can hop onto 395 from Eads. St. without having to pay:

"Two other ramps in that area that today allow drivers to go North on that short stretch of HOV lanes right before the bridge -- one of those ramps is from Eads St., the other ramp is on regular lanes," said McGurk, "both of those northbound ramps will turn into express lane ramps, meaning they'll have to have three or more to ride toll free or pay toll to use that stretch." 

FOX 5 asked McGurk whether the suggestion of a 395 entrance at Long Bridge near Boundary Channel Dr. is a solution for those without an E-ZPass:

"That is an option," said McGurk, who also mentioned Rt.1 as a second alternative. 

Is there a concern for traffic building up at those two non-HOV 395 entrances? 

McGurk again answered no. The Transurban spokesperson said they don't believe they'll see "people bail out" because travel time should be improved on the Express Lanes. They believe more drivers will opt to pay. 


What McGurk is more concerned about is safety.

He described a situation during the opening of the 495 express lanes where vehicles entering 495 Express Lane on-ramps were seen stopping and reversing into ongoing traffic after mistakenly entering the ramp. Transurban's spokespeople say, please don't do that! 

McGurk's message: keep moving. If you do not have an E-ZPass but find yourself in a new Express Lane, call Transurban. They are excusing those violations -- just for at least the first week, as drivers get used to the new traffic patterns.

"We just tell drivers to be aware that there will be a change to Monday AM's commute with the opening of the 395 Express Lanes, even if you don't plan on using these lanes," said McGurk.