I-95 express lanes open for free in northern Va.

ALEXANDRIA, Va. (AP) — New express lanes have opened on Interstate 95 in northern Virginia.

The express lanes opened in time for Monday’s morning commute. The lanes are free to drivers at first until Dec. 29 while testing continues on the tolling equipment. But HOV-3 rules are in effect at peak periods along the lanes.

The new express lanes will stretch from the Edsall Road exit on I-395 to Garrisonville Road in Stafford County.

Drivers will be able to pay a variable toll that goes up as congestion increases to use the lanes, or they can use them for free in a carpool of three or more.

The nine new express lanes and 20 converted HOV lanes had been expected to open in 2015.

The $940 million project was built under a public-private partnership.

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