I-66 Outside the Beltway
I-66 is the region’s most congested corridor with over 200,000 vehicle trips per day. The Alliance supports a major upgrade of I-66 outside the Beltway to a new multi-modal facility with three conventional and two managed/express lanes, plus a hardened shoulder in each direction with preservation of median for future transit extension between U.S 15 and I-495. Additionally, the existing 60-year old road foundation should be rehabilitated.
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I-66 Outside the Beltway Overview
Interstate 66 stretches 76-miles from the Theodore Roosevelt Bridge in the District of Columbia to I-81 near Winchester. Virginia segments west of the Beltway were completed between 1958 and 1964.
The Problem: A Crisis in the Making
I-66 is the region’s most congested corridor with over 200,000 vehicle trips each day Most of the road’s foundation is more than 60 years old. The foundation is crumbling. A $50 million Federal stimulus dollar pavement rehabilitation project between US 50 and the Capital Beltway completed in 2012 greatly improved surface conditions but has simply postponed the need for reconstruction.
The only practical way to keep at least three lanes in each direction open during reconstruction is to construct additional lanes.
Proposed Improvements — Transform I-66 Outside the Beltway
Two Environmental Impact Studies have assessed a combination of more than 40 improvement concepts including safety and operational upgrades.
Based on the results of these studies, VDOT has recommended phased construction of a “preferred alternative” for the 25 mile upgrade of I-66 between U.S. Route 15/Haymarket and I-495 that consists of a combination of various alternatives that were evaluated during the two studies:
- Two express lanes in each direction for HOV-3, toll and transit;
- Three general purpose lanes in each direction;
- Median space reserved for future center-run transit;
- Direct access ramps to and from the express lanes;
- Safety and operational improvements at key interchanges throughout the corridor;
- New and expanded transit services such as new and expanded park and ride lots and high-frequency bus services; and,
- Corridor-wide bikeway, trail and sidewalk improvements.
Due to the cost and complexity of the improvements, the Commonwealth Transportation Board approved a phased implementation approach. Phase 1 will:
- Implement the above configuration, including transit improvements, for 22 of the original 25 miles, between I-495 and University Boulevard/Gainesville, and then transition to a traditional HOV lane in each direction out to US Route 15 (with widening of the median to accommodate future transit extension west of Route 28 will be left to future phases); and
- Retain and convert existing ramps and bridges at Monument Drive and Stringfellow Road to express lanes access points.
Phase 1 Proposed timeline
- Complete environmental work: early 2016
- Identify funding sources and receive federal approval: 2016
- Construction starts: 2017
- Estimated Phase 1 completion: 2021
Dependent upon funding and traffic demand, by 2040, future phases will:
- Extend the express lanes from University Boulevard to U.S. Route 15 Haymarket;
- Reconstruct the Monument Drive and Stringfellow Road express lanes access points;
- Widen I-66 west of Route 28 to accommodate future transit; and,
- Expand park-and-ride lots to include ultimate number of spaces.
The Alliance supports the preferred alternative.
Active Traffic Management (ATM) System
In September 2015, VDOT opened an Active Traffic Management (ATM) system on I-66 between the Theodore Roosevelt/Bridge and US 29 in Gainesville/ Prince William County. The goal of this new system is to improve safety and incident management throughout the corridor. The improvement included new sign gantries, shoulder and lane control signs, speed displays, incident and queue detection, and increased traffic camera coverage.
I-66 Widening between US Route 15 in Haymarket to US Route 29 in Gainesville
A project to widen and construct an HOV lane and an additional general purpose lane between US 15 (James Madison Highway) and US 29 (Lee Highway) in Gainesville is underway. When complete in August 2016, the 25 miles of I-66 from I-459 to US Route 15 will have three regular lanes and one HOV lane in each direction.
- Construction start: August 2014
- Estimated Construction completion: August 2016
- Estimated cost: $73.5 million
1999 Major Investment Study
A 1995 -1999 Major Investment Study of the I-66 corridor between the Capital Beltway (I-495) and Route 15 in Haymarket produced the following recommendations.
- Add a general purpose lane with full shoulders in each direction between the Beltway and Route 50.
- Convert the existing peak period HOV lane to a general purpose lane between Route 50 and the end of barrier separated lanes.
- Significantly improve corridor bus service.
- Extend Metrorail from Vienna to Centreville.
- Construct two barrier-separated reversible HOV lanes from I-495 to the Route 28 Bypass or beyond.
- Coordinate corridor improvements with the upgrading of the I-66/I-495 interchange.
2013 Environmental Impact Statements (EIS)
A Tier I EIS of I-66 Outside the Beltway (I-495 to US Route 15 Haymarket) was completed in November 2013. Read the Tier 1 Draft EIS here.
Invest in a Better I-66 Outside the Beltway
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Transportation planning is dispersed at multiple levels (state, regional, sub-regional, and local) and further by mode of travel. No one entity or level has ultimate responsibility for planning. More about transportation planning in the DC Metro Area.