Toll Patrol: No date yet on when new express lanes will open

Equipment for the new express lanes on I-64 is up but there are still some uncertainties in the timeline to launch.

NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) — It’s been more than a year in the making. Equipment for the new express lanes on I-64 is up but there are still some uncertainties in the timeline to launch.

The cost to drive the new express lanes has not yet been determined. That’s because it’s based on how many people use it.

The eight miles of new toll road from 264 to Naval Station Norfolk are supposed to ease congestion.

“This is something VDOT’s doing, and VDOT’s doing it for the first time. It has to be right. We’re committed to getting it right,” VDOT Spokeswoman Paula Miller said.

It’s still unclear when the lanes will actually open.

“As soon as they’re ready and everything is operating and we feel comfortable that its functional and it will work for the traveling public then we will launch,” Miller told WAVY.

Miller said testing of the new system began last week and is expected to continue through the Thanksgiving holiday.

A map of the new I-64 Express Lanes

“We are going to test until we know that all the kinks and bugs are out of the system if there are any. We want to make sure it’s fully operational and working well before we start the tolling phase,” she said.

Miller said there are several levels of the system that are being tested including the transponder readers, the cameras reading the license plates and the information being collected.

“It’s not going out and turning the system on and thinking OK it’s working and it’s good to go. It’s not like that,” Miller explained. “It’s multi-level so we’re testing each element of that system to make sure each one will work and is working properly.”

As 10 On Your Side has reported, when the express lanes open, tolls will only be applied to drivers with no one else in the car.

Vehicles with two or more people can ride for free using an E-ZPass Flex, which is a transponder that gives drivers the ability to switch to carpooling or HOV mode.

By 2024, there could be a tolling option on the expanded Hampton Roads Bridge-Tunnel and north to Jefferson Avenue in Newport News.

Now is the time to get the E-ZPass Flex. Drivers can trade in the standard one for free.

Click here to see a list of FAQ from VDOT.