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Today's read: Untangling the Tysons commute

Money to ease road-work barrier: "People are going to start feeling some real pain," said Chris Arabia, manager of mobility programs for the Virginia Department of Rail and Public Transportation, which is offering businesses with at least 250 workers $50,000 to start or expand tele-work programs and smaller ones up to $30,000. The money comes from a $94 million pot set aside to ease traffic congestion while the Dulles rail extension, high-occupancy toll lanes and three other road mega-projects are built in Northern Virginia. (Lisa Rein)

Some useful links for Tysons Corner commuters
Access Tysons
OmniRide's Tysons Express
Fairfax Connector bus service
VDOT's guide to lane closings for the HOT lanes project.
Construction guide for the Dulles Metrorail project
TYTRAN, the Tysons Transportation Association

By Robert Thomson  |  December 10, 2009; 9:00 AM ET
Categories:  Commuting  | Tags: Dr. Gridlock, Today's read  
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Dear Dr. Gridlock-

Do you know any thing about when there will be a new traffic pattern where I-66 E intersects with I-495 North. About 2 months ago, they redid the ramp from 66 to 495 and its just horrible. Now the 2 very full lanes of traffic merge into one lane and then they merge the HOV lanes (BOTH north and south) into the same one lane before dumping us all onto 495. This one change and the associated backup created has added 15 minutes to my already long commute each day.

Do you know if there are any plans to change this merge pattern any time soon?

Posted by: KPLVA | December 10, 2009 9:12 AM | Report abuse

You're looking at several more years of tieups, KPLVA. Eventually you won't need to make that left-lane merge onto the Beltway, as part of the HOT lane project calls for modifying the ramps so that regular (non-HOT) traffic merges onto the Beltway in the right lane. Also, the new right-hand entrance will add an auxiliary lane to the Beltway that will extend all the way to the VA-7 interchange, meaning that people going from eastbound I-66 to Tysons won't have to change lanes on the Beltway.

The existing left-hand exit from I-66 (i.e., the ORIGINAL ramp from I-66 to the Inner Loop) will remain in place but will be used only for access to the HOT lanes in both directions.

Unfortunately, all this takes a long time. Last projection I heard for the completion of all the work was 2013.

You can find a map of the planned interchange at the URL below. If you then click where it says "Fact Sheet" you'll get a .PDF containing a description of the work they're doing.

(BTW, I find it interesting to note that the maps appear to show that the long-abandoned original portion of the left-hand exit from the Inner Loop to I-66, the part that merges into the left lane of I-66, will evidently be rehabilitated and reopened as part of the HOT-to-66 connection. That might be wrong, though; given all the other reconfiguration, they may just knock down that whole ramp and build a new one.)

Posted by: 1995hoo | December 10, 2009 10:04 AM | Report abuse

Actually, most people going from I-66 to Tysons take 123. Certainly faster than that painful merge onto the Beltway.

I think VDOT's thoughts were that the HOV lane isn't packed solid with traffic, since its HOV only and carries fewer vehicles. In theory, that is correct, but in reality, it is not. HOV often moves at the same speed as the other lanes and has just as many cars.

If you can time your commute to avoid I-66 inside the beltway HOV hours (which, for whatever strange reason, don't match the hours outside the Beltway), then just stay on I-66 to Route 7, turn left, and either access I-495 north or Tysons from there.

Posted by: thetan | December 10, 2009 11:48 AM | Report abuse

HOW do we get in touch with VDOT and get them to offer our companies $$$ for this???

Posted by: sigmagrrl | December 10, 2009 1:53 PM | Report abuse

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