Hallelujah! I-66 Inside Beltway Widening Accelerated!
Today’s announcement that Virginia will begin immediately to construct a new eastbound I-66 lane between the Dulles Connector and Ballston is great news for motorists and transit users as well as our region’s economy and quality of life.
A new eastbound lane also means less traffic on North Arlington neighborhood streets and improved accessibility to the Rosslyn-Ballston corridor, a major driver of Arlington’s economic engine.
I-66 inside the Beltway is one of the region’s most congested and unreliable corridors. This compromise is an excellent example of executive-legislative branch, bi-partisan cooperation to advance the greater public good for a much needed improvement. Congratulations to Governor Terry McAuliffe, Transportation Secretary Aubrey Layne, Delegate Jim LeMunyon, Senator Chap Petersen and others for making this common sense solution a reality.
Peak direction AM/PM tolling will give solo drivers an important option and eliminate HOV violators. However, congestion and unreliable travel conditions exist throughout the day, including weekends. The acceleration of construction of a third eastbound lane now solves this problem sooner rather than later.
A third westbound lane between Ballston and the Dulles Connector already exists. Construction occurred within the existing right-of-way. No homes were taken. The same can be done in the eastbound direction.
The Northern Virginia Transportation Alliance has always advocated adding a third lane in each direction on I-66 inside the Beltway and taken the position that any tolling proposal must be tied to concurrent widening.