The I-495 Express lanes are 14 miles of tolled lanes that operate alongside existing highway lanes, and are free for carpools with three or more passengers, buses, emergency vehicles, and motorcycles. Cars with fewer than three people pay a toll to use the road. Toll prices change according to traffic conditions, and information on the cost to drive on these lanes will be posted on signs in advance of entering the tolled lanes. Fares are collected by EZ-Pass.
In addition to providing different travel choices, this project also implements a series of improvements to the Capital Beltway, including replacing aging bridges and overpasses, upgrading interchanges, and improving bicycle and pedestrian access.
Although the Express Lanes opened in 2013 the project is not complete. Ongoing work included the northern terminus of the HOT lanes that will extend 2 lanes from Georgetown Pike to the American Legion Bridge.
The project was included in the TPB's Constrained Long-Range Plan (CLRP) in 2005.