NORFOLK, Va. (WVEC) -- A big change to how a stretch of express lanes on the interstate will be used.
The Commonwealth Transportation Board has approved converting eight miles of I-64's High Occupancy Vehicle (HOV-2) reversible lanes into High Occupancy Toll (HOT) express lanes, from the Interstate 264/64 interchange to Interstate 564.
The conversion is planned for late 2017.
Operating hours for the HOT lanes will be in effect from 5 a.m. to 9 a.m. and again from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m., from Monday through Friday only.
Vehicles with two or more people will continue to ride the lanes for free, but for the first time, solo drivers will have the option to use the lanes any time during peak periods when paying a variable toll.
The cost of the toll will vary, depending on traffic volumes. Using the express lanes is also completely voluntary.
In a press release, Virginia Secretary of Transportation Aubrey Layne called the conversion, “long overdue,” and said the HOT Lanes will be “a much better use of our assets.”
The Virginia Department of Transportation says converting the HOV lanes into HOT lanes will reduce traffic on the regular lanes by an estimated 17 percent.