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I-66 shoulder opened overtime to ease congestion

During our noontime discussion on Monday, a reader asked this:

Arlington, Va.: I was on I-66 East yesterday (Sunday) headed back into Washington from Fairfax and to my great surprise the green arrow lane was open. Do you know why?

It was a special occasion. VDOT spokeswoman Joan Morris says the shoulder lane was opened on Sunday from about 7 p.m. until 10:15 p.m. to help ease congestion. It was just volume, she said, not an accident or a lane closure for a road project.

Normally, the shoulder lanes are open to traffic only during the peak periods on weekdays.

By Robert Thomson  |  October 29, 2009; 2:06 PM ET
Categories:  Driving , highways  | Tags: Dr. Gridlock, VDOT, shoulder use  
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Boo. Opening the shoulder lanes creates added danger, especially to broken-down cars. As it is, they are misused outside the approved hours, making for dangerous merging/exiting.

Posted by: ah___ | October 29, 2009 2:44 PM | Report abuse

I-66 is always congested. Instead of having the extra lanes closed unless there's an exceptional reason to open them, they should normally be open unless there's an exceptional reason to close them (e.g., stalled cars, route needed for emergency vehicles). That would provide the greatest relief for the most hours, without costing a dime in new construction.

Posted by: jd_lambert | October 30, 2009 8:10 AM | Report abuse

I'm pretty sure those shoulder lanes aren't designed to handle regular traffic. The pavement is a different type than the rest of the lanes and would probably deteriorate quickly under the increased volume.

Posted by: ckstalk | October 30, 2009 8:55 AM | Report abuse

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