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VDOT Working to Ease I-66 Sore Point

The Virginia Department of Transportation says it's trying to ease the congestion stemming from this week's redesign of the merge at eastbound Interstate 66 onto the inner loop of the Beltway.

The traffic shift at the interchange is part of the construction plan for the HOT lanes and is scheduled to remain in effect till 2011. But the results weren't pretty, as VDOT acknowledged today. Since the start of the new pattern on Monday, average travel times on I-66 between Route 50 and the Beltway between 7 a.m. and 9:30 a.m. have increased from 20 minutes to 43 minutes, VDOT said.

"That's unacceptable and we are working to make it less painful for motorists," VDOT project engineer Larry Cloyed said in a statement today.

The New Pattern
Since Monday, the HOV lane and regular lane have merged into one lane on the ramp to the Beltway's inner loop. Before that, the lanes had merged separately into the Beltway. (Sometimes, that was challenging enough.)

Here's what VDOT plans to do: Add yield signs on the ramp and re-stripe the pavement where the lanes merge. The merge will switch so that HOV traffic (about 400 vehicles per hour) will now yield to traffic in the regular lane (about 2,000 vehicles per hour). Also, message signs on I-66 will alert HOV traffic heading to Tysons Corner that continuing east on I-66 to Route 7 is an alternative.

Tonight, both the I-66 east left HOV exit ramp and the right general-purpose exit ramp to the inner loop will be closed from 11 p.m. to 2 a.m. to adjust sign and pavement markings. Detours will be in place. Both exit ramps will reopen to motorists by 2 a.m. Saturday. This link takes you to do the VDOT map showing the detours.

By Robert Thomson  |  September 18, 2009; 2:00 PM ET
Categories:  Advisories , Congestion , Construction , Driving  | Tags: Dr. Gridlock, HOT lanes, Interstate 66, VDOT  
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Next: The Week Ahead in Traffic, Transit


Why not let non-HOV traffic continue as far as Route 7, at least for the time being?

Posted by: gfriday | September 20, 2009 9:39 PM | Report abuse

The changes didn't seem to help this morning. Even at 6:15 AM, the lanes were more blocked up than usual, even taking into account the return of "full" traffic from the summer. It's added 10-15 minutes to my commute from Bristow, & I leave at 5:45. Can't imagine what it's like later in the morning. Guess I'm going to have to get up at 4:45 for the next 2 years.

Posted by: DK_NoVa | September 21, 2009 9:37 AM | Report abuse

Dr G, perhaps you could make a visit out here to further enlighten VDOT as to what a mess this still is, even after the "traffic adjustment" from last weekend?

As the previous poster spoke to, the adjustments made over the weekend seem to have little to no effect. I left Chantilly at 6:00am and traffic was just as bad as last week. I am highly considering using 28 to the Toll Road as an alternate for the next 2 years (ARGH!)... at least this route has move available lanes throughout. The traffic light at Frying Pan Rd is still a big headache though.

Posted by: xyv1027 | September 23, 2009 9:02 AM | Report abuse

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