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I-66 Widening on Track

Motorists who have been monitoring the progress of the expansion work on I-66 expansion from Manassas to Gainesville keep asking when it will be completed.

Ryan Hall, a spokesman for the Virginia Department of Transportation, told me that it is on track to finish on time, at the end of October, and you can expect to see construction start in spring 2007 on the next phase of the widening, from the Route 234 Bypass to Route 29 in Gainesville.

Two lanes will be added to I-66 in each direction, one regular and one HOV. The inside lane will be reserved for two-person carpools during peak periods. The median will be kept to accommodate barrier-separated HOV lanes or transit at some point in the future, Hall said.

By Robert Thomson  |  September 15, 2006; 6:19 AM ET
Categories:  highways  
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This is great, but when is Va. going to widen/"repave"/fix the stretch of I-66 between the Beltway and Rt. 50? This is the stretch where the shoulder lane is used as a travel lane during rush hour.

The quality of the road surface is horrible - most of it is the original concrete from the early 1960's when the road was originally built. I realize some bridges would have to be replaced to widen it (Cedar Lane, for example).

Speaking of concrete, why must I-66 outside the Beltway be concrete? Yes, it lasts longer but it's difficult to rehabilitate when it goes past its useful life. There is no asphalt repaving equivalent for a concrete road. All other highways in N. Va are asphalt.

My rant of the day...

Posted by: Ffx | September 15, 2006 7:51 AM | Report abuse

Actually, ffx, concrete is far more cost effective than asphalt in the long run. Unfortunately, the governments around here are too short-sighted to spend a little more up front for benefits in the long run. It's not as if the government ever has to do some sort of financial analysis to see what is the greatest benefit - it's just spend what you got!

Posted by: Concrete good | September 15, 2006 8:29 AM | Report abuse

I've heard that concrete costs 2x as much but lasts 3x as long. That may be true, but I can say that when 66 goes to asphalt in Centreville, the ride gets a lot quieter.

And as a Haymarket resident who commutes to Falls Church, I can't wait for this construction to be done.

And the bottleneck at 50 - that is a major problem, but that'll never get fixed, too much money. It'd be more cost effective to run Metro out to manassas with a stop near Fair lakes, and probably Centreville

Posted by: JD | September 15, 2006 8:57 AM | Report abuse

Chill out.
It's going to be a beautiful weekend for a ride in the country. Drive out to Luray, I 66 to US 29, buy some apples then fill your gas tank in Gainesville, where it's ~$2.00/gallon!

Posted by: Bill | September 15, 2006 9:00 AM | Report abuse

We've long placed value in government employment of people to build things, such as paving roads. If you build it to last, it will put too many road pavers out of business!

Posted by: ah | September 15, 2006 9:51 AM | Report abuse

Hey Che,
Comments are kind theory...supposed to be related to the post. I've noticed you've been putting political postings up that have nothing to do with the original post. That's alright, but I think it's rude to use other people's blogs to post stuff like that. Start your own blog, please. I come here to read transportation issues and comments, not the junk you post. Thank you for respecting the whole point of this blog: TRANSPORTATION. Your posts are better off in another forum, although I have a feeling you post them in every single forum, regardless of topic...

As far as I-66, I've travelled this on occasion, preferring to avoid it at all costs. However, when I do use it, I notice people driving in the shoulder during the period when it is marked with a BIG FAT RED "X". Going back to Kindergarden days, RED and "X" generally indicate NO. Wrong. Bad. Stop. So why are these people doing something that clearly could be dangerous for anyone who has to pull off to the shoulder for a car breakdown or emergency? What's more, they do it even when the general use lanes aren't clogged to a standstill. Lanes are moving...just all around weird, and it does give insight into how people could engage in road rage. I'll admit seeing people flaunt the rules intended to keep us all safe does inspire a roiling bitterness...and misanthropy inside me.

The hub and spoke system of the metro area has got to be rethought...

Posted by: CyanSquirrel | September 15, 2006 10:16 AM | Report abuse

"The hub and spoke system of the metro area has got to be rethought..."

Think it's a little late for that big guy.

Posted by: Anonymous | September 15, 2006 10:21 AM | Report abuse

True, concrete is more cost-effective in the long run.

But how do you REPLACE the concrete when it wears out, as it has on this stretch of I-66?

For asphalt, you simply mill and repave. You cannot do this with concrete.

Why build a road with a material that cannot easily be replaced/rehabilitated?

Posted by: Anonymous | September 15, 2006 11:06 AM | Report abuse

Thank You, Thank you for giving us the info on the I-66 expansion! My heart warms a bit more each day as I see the progress being made by the road crews. Any idea on how long the next phase to Gainesville will take?

Posted by: Connie | September 16, 2006 3:17 PM | Report abuse

I have heard that the contractor will have an incentive to complete the widening within 1 year. 1.6 Miles of widening and rehabilitation of the gainesville ramps. They'll have to rebuild the bridges at gainesville, but I think its possible to finish in a year.

My fear is they will have a sharp merge @ the PW bypass during the construction, backing the traffic up for miles during the rush again.

Posted by: only1 | September 25, 2006 12:16 AM | Report abuse

Also, to comment on the improvements needed for the 50 to 495 section of 66, they have quite a conundrum.

They cant really replace the concrete...nowhere to move the traffic to while they are replacing it.

They may not be able to resurface with asphalt if the concrete has deteriorated significantly.

I think Vdot knows this and the repairs they are making to the surface (over the last couple years) is an attempt to reinforce it enough to pave over in the near future.

I wish they would have had enough foresight in the early 80's to widen it sufficiently for today's traffic needs.

Resurfacing existing lanes with asphalt seems the only possible improvement.

Posted by: only1 | September 25, 2006 12:30 AM | Report abuse

There needs to be more discussion on extending the metro at least to Prince William. Also, a lot more stops are needed on the blue line.

Let's not forget the VRE, I ride it daily and it's great.

Posted by: Rob outta haymarket | September 30, 2006 9:46 PM | Report abuse

The comments to this entry are closed.

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