Wednesday, February 25, 2015

I-66 Additional Decking Contemplated In Rosslyn

Eleven companies as reported here, have formally shown interest; these include Akridge, Vornado Realty Trust, Monday Properties, The JBG Cos.  Brandywine Realty Trust.Developers, and Comstock Partners LC- infamous for their 'Hampshires townhouse development project upon the least environmentally impactive route for DC I-95

"Site 4" would likely be the easiest new cover-way to construct, for involving a new roof atop an existing trenched freeway segment and have the best potential for reconnecting existing developed areas.

"Site 3" involves taking the western portion of the existing Gateway Park that was built as the surface atop the cut and cover tunnel segment of I-66.  As this park was part of the design to mitigate I-66 upon downtown Roslyn which is heavily built up, "Site 3" may logically the likeliest to be opposed.

"Site 1" and especially "Site 2"are upon the side of a hill and hence would likely involve either a wall or terracing.  if such were extended to also cover the adjacent George Washington Memorial Parkway, local access to the Potomac River waterfront could be enhanced.

Sites "4", 1, and 2" all involving essentially extending the tunnel portion of I-66 that was built with only 2 lanes plus one shoulder in each direction.

From my recollection of reviewing Washington Post indexes of the controversies regarding the construction of I-66, activists sought to so constrict this, meaning that only 3 lanes per direction without shoulders could be accommodated without relatively expensive reconstruction- whether demolishing the outer walls and constructing replacements spaced further out, or constructing parallel tunnel-ways.  

Given that the Roosevelt Bridge into Washington D.C. has 7 lanes total with a movable center divider to provide 4 lanes in the peak traffic direction, it would be sensible to treat the covered portion of I-66 as at least a potentially 6 lane highway.   Hence, any extension of the tunnel-cap should provide space for at least 3 lanes plus one shoulder per direction, and hence be somewhat wider than the existing facility.

IMHO the focus upon reducing the width of I-66 as misguided, that local concerns were better met with further mitigation, such as additional cover/air rights atop the freeway, as well as a 4 rather than a 2 track WMATA rail line thus providing express service to potentially reduce traffic pressure from the highway..  As that portion of I-66 had been earlier planned with 3 lanes per direction plus one or two shoulders per direction, the decision to construct each of its directional covered carriageways with only 2 lanes and a single shoulder saved nothing in the way of right of way/displacement and simply reflected the dictates of that time.

For more on the history of I-66, see the link from Scott Kozel's site "Roads To The Future":

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