Virginia DOT Gears Up to Tackle Major Interstate Chokepoint and Cut Congestion with Improvement Project

AASHTO Journal, 25 July 2014

Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe joined officials from the Virginia Department of Transportation last week announced plans to tackle a problematic point of congestion on one of Northern Virginia’s busiest interstates.

McAuliffe and VDOT Secretary Aubrey Layne unveiled a proposal that would make several improvements to congestion-plagued I-66, including the delivery of three regular lanes in each direction, two express lanes in each direction (converting the existing HOV lane to an express lane and adding another express lane, similar to the 495 Express Lanes in the area), providing “high-frequency bus service with predictable travel times,” and allowing for direct access between the express lanes and new or bigger commuter lots. McAuliffe and Layne say the project should cost between $2 billion and $3 billion, though a more specific estimate is forthcoming.

“Interstate 66 is broken. Commuters are stuck in traffic, limited in the travel choices they can make and unable to predict how long their trip will take on any given day,” McAuliffe said in a statement. “Giving Virginians more choices and a better, safer travel experience on I-66 is one of my top priorities, and today I am proud to announce the beginning of that effort.”

The announcement of the proposed I-66 improvements begins a long environmental review that will evaluate conditions and possible effects on environmental factors like air quality, noise, neighborhoods, parks, and wetlands and streams.

“Over the last couple of months, the Virginia Department of Transportation has worked closely with the Department of Rail and Public Transportation, the Office of Transportation Public-Private Partnerships and Fairfax and Prince William counties to devise a plan that will reduce congestion on I-66 by increasing capacity and giving travelers more choices,” Layne said. “Today we kick off 17 months of rigorous environmental study and robust community involvement. By the end of 2016 our plan to complete environmental work, identify funding sources, receive federal approval, and move forward on a plan to turn I-66 into the efficient, multi-modal corridor that Virginia’s economy needs.”

Additional information on VDOT’s I-66 Corridor Improvement Project is available here.

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