DESIGN PUBLIC HEARINGS JUNE 23, 2000
SUPERIOR ALL AROUND:
- Grand new gateway park space.
- No double flyer ramps across Cameron Run; no fly over ramps in northeast quadrant of interchange.
SUPERIOR TRAFFIC SERVICEABILITY:
- Greater/gentler turning radius for all ramps in contrast to FHWA design.
- I-495 "U-turn" capability to avoid bridge WITHOUT existing onto Alexandria surface streets.
- Free flowing ramps local and express/HOV ramps; NO traffic light in middle of interchange, in contrast to the existing, $450 million FHWA Route 1 interchange design.
- True rail accomodatability, without conflict with HOV lanes or express/HOV ramps in need of future demolition.
SUPERIOR BENEFIT TO COST RATIO TO OTHER PROPOSALS:
- "Buries" section of surface I-495 in strategic location to restore Alexandria, where highway isolates southern edge of Alexandria from waterfront at Hunting Creek, creating new green space for a TOTAL land recovery where the highway paves over the surface, rather than the basic Wilson Bridge replacement design, where a bridge would soar high up with far fewer support structures.
- Would effectively be a 0 lane I-495 along segment so encased, from west of Route 1 to just west of Royal Street.
- Would cost a fraction of a full river crossing tunnel with modern interchange.
- Creates a monumental Virginia Gateway, while re-uniting Alexandria with her water-front access to Hunting Creek that was lost to the Beltway by the time of the existing bridge's christianing/opening in December 1961.
- Would create a far, far greater public/social benefit:
- Creates several hundred thousand feet of usable open green space for public park use. Would create more open green space from land that is entirely paved over, then the difference in footprint through Jones Point Park between official 12 lane versus 10 lane CSB alternative.
- Is so designed for the official proposal for a pair of 6 lane spans, providing 12 vehicular traffic lanes via two separate roadways in each direction (without ramp conflict for the addition of rail via the shoulder space between the local and express roadways.
- Is adaptable to competing proposals for a 10-12 lane bridge or tunnel crossings in event that one of these is adapted in place of the pair of 6 lane spans.
- Furthermore, the Orb interchange is fully compatible with the concurrent or future addition of rail at the lowest possible cost, with or without deleting the HOV lane, nor requiring the demolition of millions of $$$ in HOV and/or express lane access ramps, either via the median or the shoulder space between the local and express roadways in each direction-thus still leaving each roadway with a full shoulder.
SUPERIOR ABILITY TO BE ADAPTED:
- Does not alter basic configuration of bridge spans, with any changes confined to its profile near Royal Street.
- Design changes limited to general area of the Route 1 interchange and bridge abutment: areas scheduled for demolition/construction AFTER the start of the construction of the southern of the two new spans in the Potomac River.
- Would not delay project if official planners promptly adopt it into the project's planning. The Alexandria Orb could be phased in to project planning without delay to start of bridge construction in middle of Potomac River, as this proposal effectively does not require changing any part of the bridge itself, beyond perhaps the area closest to the abutment at Royal Street, and which indeed, may be so plugged into any basic river crossing design scheme.
FLEXIBILITY OF FUNDING:
- Construction of the Alexandria Orb could be staggered in construction, building the basic interchange WITHOUT the ground covering within the interchange for the circular park, cutting millions of $$$ from its initial construction costs, substantially closing the gap between its costs versus the FHWA Route 1 interchange design, yet still allowing its eventual addition at some point in the future when funding may be more practical. This would be far less expensive than building and later demolishing the existing FHWA design to build the Orb from the ground up at some future date when Alexandria decides to reclaim its southern waterfront.
Douglas A. Willinger
Takoma Park Highway Design Studio