Sunday, February 22, 2009

Virginia's Inside the Beltway Corridor Chock Epidemic

It's not only within D.C. where railroad industry personal subvert highway competition

- spot improvement project was to add an axillary lane between on and off ramps in the westbound direction to better serve local traffic, yet do nothing about the infamous eastbound I-66/Dulles Access 267 merge
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Oscar Voss
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More options Feb 21, 3:09 am
Newsgroups: misc.transport.road
From: "Oscar Voss">
Date: Sat, 21 Feb 2009 03:09:41 -0500
Local: Sat, Feb 21 2009 3:09 am
Subject: VA - I-66 "spot improvements" in limbo
The Metropolitan Washington Council of Government's Transportation Planning Board voted this week to remove three proposed "spot improvements" to westbound Interstate 66 inside the Capital Beltway from next year's transportation improvement plan. Work on the first project, to create a westbound auxiliary lane connecting the Fairfax Drive on-ramp to the Sycamore Street off-ramp (that stretch is one of the worst off-peak chokepoints), would have started next year.

This decision was supposedly driven by VDOT's failure to fully fund a $15 million study of transportation alternatives in the I-66 corridor. VDOT points out, however, that the projects were never tied to completion of that study. My sense in any case is that the expensive and time-consuming study ($15 million and three-four years, as a precondition for projects totaling about $75 million which have already been talked about for ages, seem disproportionate) was sought as a stalling tactic, by people (lots of them in my Arlington County, including the county government) who will be dead set against the projects no matter what the study ends up concluding.

This decision could be revisited later, but VDOT seems resigned to having the projects put on hold for a few more years.

"Vote to Forgo I-66 Expansion Imperils Federal Funds, Increases Ire,"

see also:

Oscar Voss - - Arlington VA

my Hot Springs and Highways pages:
Hawaii Highways:


Allen Muchnick said...


Besides the fact that WMATA has official opposed widening I-66, what's your evidence that "railroad industry personal (sic) subvert highway competition along I-66"?

Yes, VDOT's westbound-only "spot improvements" would be counterproductive and would worsen traffic congestion along eastbound I-66.

BTW, it has been VDOT, not Arlington, that has delayed fixing I-66 congestion for at least the past 8 years, by failing to complete a full, fair, and transparent multimodal alternatives feasibility study for the I-66 inside the Beltway corridor. (The nonsense about needing a $15 million EIS is just VDOT's lame excuse for inaction).

The four-lane I-66 through Arlington is the type of urban freeway that you advocate. It does not need to be any wider because it could be made perpetually uncongested quickly, inexpensively, and permanently with more effective travel demand management, such as congestion pricing.

Douglas A. Willinger said...

Zimmerman continues a tradition of railroad interests working to subvert the competition that goes back at least to the 1960s with railroad industry law firm Covington & Burling's participation in numerous anti freeway law suits, including the particularly merit less opposition to the B&O rr low level North Central Freeway.

The 1970s Coleman Agreement is intrinsically flawed by not recognizing the reality of the 267 merge. Accepting a 4 lane I-66 between the Beltway and 267, along with the HOV restructions should not mean accepting the eastbound merge as now exists.

Eastbound I-66 should be 4 lanes and then 3 lanes as far east as feasible. Ideally there should have been a further split to a 4 Mile Rune Highway to Chrystal City and then an underwater tunnel to 295. All of that actually should happen, and can happen with new drilled tunneling technologies as being done in Seattle.

The canceled project only dealt with the westbound direction, and only with an axillary lane connecting the on and off ramps.

Left unsaid by the opponents is that such an axillary lane most serves the local traffic, and the sheer idiocy that was so obsessed with keeping things narrow that it overlooked adding a 3rd or 4th track to the WMATA rail for express service.

Fortunately the right of way can basically handle an 8 lane I-66 for the most part. Reduced emissions from cleaner autos are also an important factor overlooked by the Coleman decision.