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VDOT closing 495 inner loop as part of Express Lanes Project

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As the 495 Express Lanes Project heads closer to completion, this week crews will be demolishing a ramp, and closing parts of the inner loop, starting at 9 p.m., ending the work early in the morning.

With more than 300,000 cars per day, commuters who use the Springfield interchange know all too well the frustrations of sitting in traffic.

Add construction work to the mix, and that could mean even more gridlock.

"We're shutting down the inner loop, which is 495 west or north and we're diverting all traffic up 395, to Edsall and back down," says VDOT's Jamie
Breme.

The closure is part of the on-going work for the 495 Express Lanes Project, which will create four new lanes on the Beltway between the Springfield interchange and north of the Dulles Toll Road.

To minimize the impact, all the work will be taking place during the evening hours, but commuters could expect up to 20-minute delays at any time--and much longer during the rush hour.

Some drivers fear their one-hour commute will begin to take two to three hours.

But when the new roads are complete by December of 2012, the Virginia Department of Transportation expects major congestion relief, with a travel-time guarantee of at least 45 miles an hour.

Toll rates will vary depending on traffic, but the average trip is expected to cost $5-6.

"They'll have the ability to get into the lanes and ride for free, if they're HOV 3, or they can pay a toll to get into the lanes," says Breme.

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