The Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) reminds travelers that starting Monday, Dec. 5, vehicles will need three or more occupants to qualify as a High Occupancy Vehicle (HOV) on I-66 in Northern Virginia. This change from HOV-2+ to HOV-3+ will apply across the entire I-66 corridor in Northern Virginia from Haymarket to the D.C. line.
Details surrounding the new I-66 HOV-3+ rule are as follows:
- On the newly-opened 22.5-miles of 66 Express Lanes, located outside the Beltway from Route 29 in Gainesville to I-495 (Capital Beltway), vehicles must have three or more occupants, and an E-ZPass Flex switched to the “HOV On” mode, to travel the lanes toll free. The 66 Express Lanes Outside the Beltway and HOV-3+ rule is in effect 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
- On the existing nine miles of 66 Express Lanes, located inside the Beltway from I-495 to the D.C. line, vehicles must also have three or more occupants, and an E-ZPass Flex switched to the “HOV On” mode, to travel the lanes toll free. The 66 Express Lanes inside the Beltway and HOV-3+ rule is in effect on weekdays only during peak periods in peak commute directions.
The HOV-3+ requirement on I-66 Express Lanes is consistent with HOV requirements on the other express lanes in Northern Virginia, and supports a regional policy and goal to increase the occupancy requirements on HOV lanes in the region to HOV-3 in order to reduce the number of vehicle miles traveled and comply with the federal Clean Air Act Amendment of 1990. The change also will help VDOT to achieve its goal of moving more people through the I-66 corridor.
The change from HOV-2+ to HOV-3+ also will take effect on the stretch of I-66 west of the express lanes between Haymarket and Gainesville where there will continue to be a traditional HOV lane that operates during peak travel periods.
To learn more about opportunities to form new HOV-3+ carpools on I-66, visit Transform66.org.