Finally! After a lot of the talk about putting tolls on Interstate 66 inside the Capital Beltway, a group of bipartisan elected official are proposing what I’ve wanted for that corridor for years.
State Sens. Chap Petersen (D), Jill Vogel (R), Richard Black (R), Jennifer Wexton (D), Jeremy McPike (D), along with Dels. Michael Webert (R) and David Bulova (D) all signed the letter, which was released Wednesday. The group represent communities outside of the Beltway.
In the letter they say the state should widen I-66 inside the Beltway where it meets up the Dulles Toll Road. That section of roadway is a huge choke point for Northern Virginia commuters. Their request would modify the McAuliffe administration’s current proposal to begin tolling I-66 inside the Beltway instead of widening it.
The group says that according to estimates by the Virginia Department of Transportation, it would cost $122 million to widen a four-mile section from Mile 67 (West Falls Church) to Mile 71 (Ballston).
Back in 2005, I suggested the same. I was commuting from Pentagon City to Tysons daily (2001 – 2007) and then from Ballston to Tysons (2010 – 2013), using that four mile stretch they propose to widen.
Traffic study shows why I-66 is a mess – The Post
This article notes that the biggest choke point is the section is between exists 67 and 71. My anecdotal observations suggest that a number of cars, probably statistically significant only use that portion of I-66. Not having to change lanes the whole way would help all traffic flow smoother. Put up some helpful overhead signs and I think the situation can be improved without great expense or expanding the roadway’s footprint significantly or at all.
It just makes a lot of sense, much more than a money grab that tolls would be. Making the widening happen, along with the growing Silver Line should provide some relief for the corridor and prepare it growth on other end of it.