New I-66 lanes opening
The Interstate 66 widening project in Gainesville is set to open all four of the westbound lanes in their new configuration next Thursday afternoon, the Virginia Department of Transportation says. Drivers will then have three regular lanes and one HOV lane from the 234 Bypass exit (Exit 44) through the Route 29 Gainesville exit (Exit 43).
This is part of the project that was stymied for a while by lack of funds for the overall congestion-relief effort. Then VDOT split it up into more manageable segments. Travelers often asked why the first phase of the widening in 2006 hadn't pushed through to Gainesville. The answer was that the state didn't have the money to do it at that point. It just built what it could afford.
The opening of the westbound configuration won't mark the end of the work. VDOT says the final asphalt paving on the interstate and its ramps will start in mid-April when the temperatures are high enough to allow it. The paving will be done one lane at a time, with lane closings during the day.
To accommodate the traffic shift into the new pattern next Thursday, VDOT will close two westbound lanes on I-66 from 9 p.m. Wednesday to about 1 p.m. Thursday. During that time, the new pavement markings will be applied and the new lanes tied into the four lanes currently available at Exit 44, thanks to the earlier phase of the widening.
Here are some options for getting around the westbound congestion that is likely to result from the work on Wednesday night and early Thursday.
-- Use Exit 47B to 234 Business north, then turn left onto Route 29 north though the Manassas Battlefield.
-- Use Exit 47A to 234 Business south, then turn right onto Balls Ford Road and Wellington Road to Gainesville.
-- Use Exit 44 to 234 Bypass south, then turn right onto Balls Ford Road and Wellington Road to Gainesville.
March 18, 2010; 12:10 PM ET
Categories: Congestion , Construction , Driving , highways | Tags: Dr. Gridlock, I-66
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