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New Kicks on I-66

Travelers have been using that wider new section of I-66 around Manassas for only a few hours now, and already I've heard from a commuter complaining about a new chokepoint forming around exit 43, which is the Route 29 exit. He says westbound drivers heading home tonight will have to squeeze down from the wider, four-lane section to two lanes just a short way before they exit for Route 29.

This morning, he said, the eastbound drivers heading from Route 29 onto I-66 found the experience as bad as ever for the first three-tenths of a mile on the interstate before it opens up, thanks to the widening.

The next phase of the widening, to Gainesville, is scheduled to begin in the spring, as Eric Weiss reported in today's Post.

These days, most of our highway projects are done in phases. The improvements to Route 29 in the Maryland suburbs offer a similar example. Readers ask me why a project like that improves one section of a commute only to end in the same old congestion.

The answer is money -- or not enough money. The states do a widening here and a new interchange there. The result is a tantalizingly faster commute for a few miles followed by frustration, once the improved stretch ends.

By Robert Thomson  |  November 8, 2006; 11:15 AM ET
Categories:  Congestion  
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