The Virginia Department of Transportation is encouraging truckers driving through Northern Virginia to prepare for the major traffic changes on the Capital Beltway due to the opening of the 495 Express Lanes.

Vehicles with three or more axles are prohibited on the Express Lanes. If vehicles with three or more axles enter the Express Lanes, they could be ticketed by the Virginia State Police.

"We need all drivers to understand the requirements of traveling on the Express Lanes corridor," said John Lynch, VDOT's regional transportation program director. "While vehicles with three or more axles are prohibited on the 495 Express Lanes, any vehicles that inadvertently enter the Express Lanes should continue in the lanes until the next exit. Do not back up or attempt to cross the barriers to exit the lanes."

The 495 Express Lanes will use dynamic pricing to keep traffic free flowing and provide a more predictable travel option to travelers on the Beltway. Vehicles with two axles can use the Express Lanes and will need an E-ZPass - there are no toll booths or options to pay cash.

Vehicles with two axles carrying three or more people will need the new E-ZPass Flex for a toll-free trip on the Express Lanes.

Drivers can visit> for more information.

To help drivers stay alert and adjust to the major changes on the Beltway, Express Lanes operators, VDOT and the Virginia State Police are implementing improvements near the southern end of the Express Lanes. Drivers can expect to see additional colored reflectors to the channelizing posts (white barriers), updated digital message signs, extended merge areas and transitional striping. Drivers should take extra caution when driving in this area.

The 495 Express Lanes are being delivered through a public-private partnership between VDOT and Transurban-Fluor. The 495 Express Lanes opened one month early on Nov. 17 and will operate 24 hours a day, seven days a week.