Signs of HOT Lane Construction
During Monday's online discussion, a reader asked, "Whatever happened to HOT lanes on 495 in VA?"
Drivers on the western side of the Capital Beltway in Virginia should be seeing signs of the work now.
Four areas along the Beltway that are owned by the Virginia Department of Transportation are being cleared for storage of equipment. They're at Georgetown Pike, Chain Bridge Road, Interstate 66 and Braddock Road.
At the Georgetown Pike site, you'll see office trailers for the project.
You'll probably be seeing them until 2012, when the HOT (high occupancy or toll) lanes are scheduled to be completed. Construction is scheduled to begin in July.
Two lanes will be added to each side of the Beltway along the 14 miles from Springfield to north of the Dulles Toll Road. Then four inside lanes will be converted for use by carpoolers and buses, traveling for free, and solo drivers willing to pay a toll that varies with the degree of congestion.
When they open, they'll be unique in the Washington region. The intercounty connector in Maryland will have a variable toll, but will not be free to carpoolers. The next step for Virginia will be HOT lanes along I-95/395. That deal is not yet final.
VDOT says that community groups and businesses interested in the Beltway project can arrange for a briefing by calling 877-495-8368, a toll free number. There will be advance notices about lane closures, though planners are hoping that the construction method -- building those outside lanes first -- will keep traffic disruptions to a minimum.
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