66°Overcast

Extra I-66 Lane Expected to Open Tonight

by ARLnow.com — December 5, 2011 at 3:46 pm 4,794 128 Comments

A third “auxiliary” lane will open tonight on westbound I-66, between Fairfax Drive and Sycamore Street.

The lane was built as part of a 18 month, $14 million VDOT “spot improvement” project. Gov. Bob McDonnell (R) is touting the lane opening as a relief for drivers who face frequent heavy delays on that stretch of highway.

From a press release, issued this afternoon:

By 7 p.m. tonight, motorists will have some much-needed congestion relief on westbound I-66 between Fairfax Drive and Sycamore Street in Arlington County with the opening a two-mile auxiliary lane.  It is the first of three spot improvements designed to reduce congestion and increase safety on westbound Interstate 66 inside the Beltway, according to the Virginia Department of Transportation.

“Our Administration is focused on helping Virginians spend more time at work and with their families, and less time stuck in traffic,” said Governor McDonnell.  “This spot improvement is another step forward in that effort. When it opens this evening, all motorists heading west out of Arlington will find a slightly smoother commute, and hopefully gain a little more time off the road. Through improvements like this one we are continuing to make progress in getting traffic moving again in the Commonwealth.”

The westbound acceleration and deceleration lane between Fairfax Drive and Sycamore Street has been lengthened to form a continuous auxiliary lane between the two ramps. The improvement includes a new 12-foot wide shoulder constructed with full-strength pavement so that it is capable of carrying traffic during emergency situations. The $14 million improvement took 18 months to complete.

Future spot improvements, not part of this contract, are planned from Haycock Road to Westmoreland Street, and from Lee Highway to Glebe Road. These next phases of spot improvements will reduce congestion and travel times during peak periods, and increase safety by lengthening merge areas and reducing the risk of stop-and-go accidents.

The estimated cost for the second and third spot improvement projects is $49.6 million. These will be funded after the I-66 multimodal study is completed next year.

  • TGEoA

    About time. Suck on that Zimmerman.

    • drax

      Be sure to report back here on the level of improvement in traffic congestion please.

      • SomeGuy

        McDonnell, a Republican, just announced an improvement, much as you were asking for here:
        http://www.arlnow.com/2011/11/30/i-66-traffic-causing-spill-over-onto-local-streets/#comment-102956

        Do you not support this, drax?

        • drax

          No. In the long run it will be a waste and counterproductive. And they’ll be wanting a fourth lane soon, and then a fifth….

          • drax

            Clarification – I don’t support plans for a full lane. Spot improvements may indeed help.

      • KalashniKEV

        I will tear it up tomorrow in the AM and deliver my feedback in the comments.

        <3 KEV

        • LVGuy

          Wild guy you are, going against rush hour. Tear that S*** UP.

          • Maria

            Apparently you’ve never driven that stretch on westbound 66 around 8am.

  • NPGMBR

    Ummm….Doesn’t it go back down to two lanes at West Falls Church Metro? If so all it does is move the choke point a few miles to the West. Then again I guess some improvement is better than none.

    • Grognak

      It should alleviate the merge issue coming from Fairfax Drive, which is what causes the initial back-ups through there. And people getting off at Sycamore can get the heck over sooner, and out of everyone’s way. Think of it as a long merge from Fairfax Drive. Traffic will move faster once people get the hang of it.

      I’m sure at peak times it will still look jammed, but that extra lane of cars means less on the side streets.

      • charlie

        theoretically that is true, but DC drivers are well versed in crossing solid white lines to exit/enter a roadway. If I had a dollar for everytime some diphead from Maryland stayed on the GW Parkway in the far left lane until it was almost too late, prior to exiting to Spout Run… and then cut over…

        • TGEoA

          Heh. I take pleasure in boxing those that do that in. Ive managed to force some onto Spout Run.

          Good times.

          • charlie

            is there any other reason to live? i’ve done it too. one person chased me down and i ditch her in Maywood. I think she’s still in there somewhere.

    • Mr Neutron

      LOL at you fools who are crowing about this, all you’ve done is shift a choke point a few 1000 yards down the road … this is going to do little or nothing in the long run, so the ones who will be choking will be those stuck in traffic (still).

  • Brian

    Yes … but 1million bucks says you will still have idiots that think need to merge ASAP … happens on the ramp from Sycamore to DTR too.

  • Southeast Jerome

    Well I-66 runs relatively smooth from the bridge to Fairfax Drive where lots of people that work in Arlington enter the highway.

    By allowing this merge to happen over a much longer span of road should really help.

  • Jack

    You’re right, NPGMPR. It’s really just a long on ramp from Fairfax/Glebe Rd. that becomes an off ramp to Sycamore St. If you’re going farther west than Sycamore, you have to merge into the left two lanes, which will undoubtedly back up as the road goes from three lanes to two. So it’s not much help to commuters, unless you happen to be exiting at Sycamore (as I do, once in a while), in which case you could avoid a bit of the back ups.

    So, $14 million spent, and almost no improvement in traffic congestion. Well done, Governor!

    • Brian

      How do you know there will be no improvement? I say it’s to early to tell, and the first month will be as people learn to use the long ramp for what it is.

      • Jack

        The ramp only diverts Sycamore-bound traffic, which is a very small part of the overall traffic volume. Moving the chokepoint a couple of miles to the west, as this project does, is just a waste of money.

        • pkripper

          Wrong.

          I live in Ballston, 66 west often backs up before Fairfax exit, and leaves all Ballston commuters in traffic when PM rush backs up. The way I see this, it takes all Arlington, Falls Church, and McLean traffic off 66 at Fairfax/Sycamore. I do agree with others that a 3rd, continuous lane is needed on 66, however this is a good start that should’ve happened long ago.

          • Jack

            This new lane won’t help you at all. It doesn’t start until after the Fairfax/Glebe exit at Ballston. So you’ll be off 66 before the new lane starts. The only commuters that it helps, and then only marginally, are the ones exiting at Sycamore.

  • John Fontain

    This means the death of the natural environment in Arlington County as we know it.

    Looks for all plant life and animals to perish over the coming months due to this.

    • Richard Cranium

      Dr. Peter Venkman: This city is headed for a disaster of biblical proportions.
      Mayor: What do you mean, “biblical”?
      Dr Ray Stantz: What he means is Old Testament, Mr. Mayor, real wrath of God type stuff.
      Dr. Peter Venkman: Exactly.
      Dr Ray Stantz: Fire and brimstone coming down from the skies! Rivers and seas boiling!
      Dr. Egon Spengler: Forty years of darkness! Earthquakes, volcanoes…
      Winston Zeddemore: The dead rising from the grave!
      Dr. Peter Venkman: Human sacrifice, dogs and cats living together… mass hysteria!
      Mayor: All right, all right! I get the point!

      • drax

        Mayor: Is he right?
        Dr. Venkman: Yes, I”m afraid so – this man has no dick.

  • wow

    I’m still amazed that one lane for that stretch costs $14 million. That stretch is 2 miles. So $7 million a mile for asphalt and some light poles? I’ll never understand how these road construction costs add up. Ridiculous.

    • Rard

      I’d say $7million/mile is a bargain. That’s $43M LESS per mile than the projected streetcar project …

      • Southeast Jerome

        +43MM

    • zippychance

      To repave, reinforce, re-stripe, re-sign and pay for labor, it doesn’t sound like that bad of a deal.

    • Josh S

      I’m not opining on whether or not this was a reasonable price, but the work involved quite a bit more than that. There were a lot of new drains put in, quite a bit of landscaping work, etc.

      I wonder how much it would have cost to get it done in a more reasonable time frame – like maybe 3-4 months?

      • GC

        Just wondering if your questions should really be how much it would cost if it was not state employees / unionized contractors. Maybe it was a private contractor open to a bidding process – I don’t know and don’t have time to look into it – but then I would believe $14 million to be the true cost. But if it was state employees or a union, then you can assume the cost overrrun was paying for expensive employee benefits.

        • TCE

          So $14mil would be ok if it was a private contractor using cheap illegal/slave labor instead of someone with decent employee benefits??? You admit you don’t have a clue who built the road but are willing to say that $14 million might be ok just based on who did the work? The real question should simply be, is this worth $14 million no matter who did the work!

        • drax

          So the lowest bid is always the best, huh GC?

  • dallynd

    Runs right past my house. It probably won’t change a thing. I’ll post a pic of the relief during broad daylight tomorrow at Patrick Henry.

    • Maria

      Okay, but it’s not going to change in one day.

  • Alex

    Nice. 20 years late but nice. Would have cost 1/12th as much 20 years ago.

    • Grognak

      Wilder would have never had the foresight to do this project though.

  • G

    Please. Until we have some kind of smart highway grid that drives our cars for us, 66 is going to remain congested.

    So almost $64 million for 3 “spot” improvements? That’s more than half the increase in trolley costs reported recently and about 25% of the total cost.

    • JamesE

      They should spend $64 million on a robot that senses slow cars in the left lane and beats the drivers to death.

      • bb

        I’d say a giant robotic Hungry Hungry Hippo. Slow drivers are taken off of the road like a marble. Drivers are extracted from the car, and cars are crushed into a cube.

        • Bluemontsince1961

          Shoot, I’ll drink to that too!

        • dk

          +1

      • drax math

        +infinity

        I’ll do it for $128 million – that way you save 50%

        • drax

          Not my math, son.

      • NPGMBR

        Funniest Comment of the Day….and I’d fully endorse the robot!

      • RA

        Fanned big time for your robots to conquer left lane campers. Notice how they’re all deadfoot drivers anyway, which on hilly Arlington roads makes things worse.

      • Bluemontsince1961

        I’ll drink to that!

    • Rick
      • LVGuy

        These are great if they’re implemented correctly. Many countries in Europe have signage like this, adjusting the speed limit as necessary, to prevent stop and go traffic from backing up the highways. Really doesn’t make sense to speed up to 65 mph if there’s a backup half a mile ahead, all it leads to is worse traffic and more wasted gas.

        I didn’t realize that these had been proposed. It may be one of the few projects I support coming from VDOT.

    • Burger

      Of course, more people take 66W than would take the trolley car and the dollar cost per mile per person is significantly cheaper than most mass transit systems.

      • drax

        You’re making the same old mistake of not accounting all the costs.

        • Misty Malarky Ying Yang

          Correct. Since the final costs for the trolley are not established it is impossible to make this comparison.

        • http://www.exactcom.com.au/proofs/KombiPics/Wrecks/bayBushOvergrown.jpg Overgrown Bush

          True. The environmental costs of the coal burning electric trolley are not really fully known. We know the pollution is greater somewhere else, but we don’t yet know the long term impacts and costs associated with it and the strip mining that goes along with it.

          • Josh S

            This is remarkable. Using environmental concerns to argue against a public transportation option and in favor of continued reliance on single-occupant automobiles. Just remarkable. How misguided can you be?

          • http://www.exactcom.com.au/proofs/KombiPics/Wrecks/bayBushOvergrown.jpg Overgrown Bush

            You can thank drax for your enlightenment. Look at Table 1.1 in his cited link. You will see the elecric trolley has less CO2 emissions per passenger mile than the average car trip. Given only 4 agencies were used to generate the trolley data point, I’d say that is in the noise as the same. So….to flip the coin over on you….. you can’t use an environmental argument to say the trolley is cleaner.

            While I was intending to be over the top, I was merely demonstrating that what appears to be obvious isn’t always. Certianly if you consider the wash environmental factor as compared to the massive cost, the trolley is not the solution unless you REALLY want the feel of riding on a trolley.

          • http://www.exactcom.com.au/proofs/KombiPics/Wrecks/bayBushOvergrown.jpg Overgrown Bush

            I meant to say the trolley has only slightly less CO2 emissions than the average car trip.

          • Zoning Victim

            “I meant to say the trolley has only slightly less CO2 emissions than the average car trip.”

            Which probably would not be true at all if cars were running on CNG instead of gasoline since CNG is roughly twice as clean as gasoline and far cheaper. Studies like this never take into account the amount of CO2 created during the construction of the all of the infrastructure needed for rail systems, and there is this:

            “Note that the calculation of passenger miles per gallon of fuel and btu/pass-mi for electric modes (heavy rail, light rail, trolley bus) is based on kilowatt hours of delivered electricity and therefore does not account for the total fuel energy used to generate the electricity.”

          • drax
  • Tre

    Theoretically it should help a lot allowing Glebers to get up to the proper speed and then have more room to merge over with out causing too much of a chain reaction.

    In reality, everyone entering the highway will just try to get ahead and merge at the last second and f**k everything up. I’ll give it a shot tomorrow morning and report back.

    • Bluemontsince1961

      “In reality, everyone entering the highway will just try to get ahead and merge at the last second and f**k everything up.”

      Yep. Every afternoon when I come home and get on 66 East from where the Toll Road merges until past the narrowing before the N. Westmoreland exit, and every morning getting on 66 West from Washington Blvd/Lee Highway….yahoos (usually in SUVs or big luxury cars) insist on zooming ahead and trying (forcing) themselves in at the last second. Just gotta get those two or three car lengths ahead ’cause a second or two of being late would waste their “precious” time.

      • Tre

        So the on ramp from Glebe to 66W was empty as opposed to the usual 5 to 10 minute backup. The metering lights were operating about twice as fast based on unscientific measures. However, 66 was still slow going… I may stay with my top secret alternate route to Tysons.

        • Bluemontsince1961

          “I may stay with my top secret alternate route to Tysons”

          Ditto for me! :)

          • Rory

            please share

          • Bluemontsince1961

            From the Lee Highway/Washington Boulevard interchange to get on to 66 West, go straight instead of going down the ramp to get on 66 West. You’ll be on Westmoreland St. Take left at the light, which will be Williamsburg Blvd heading toward Falls Church. Keep going until you get to Great Falls Street in Falls Church. Make a right on Great Falls Street. You can keep going on Great Falls Street to Dolley Madison/Rt. 123 and then make a left on 123 to head to Tysons. Alternately, make a left off Great Falls Street onto Haycock, Idylwood, or Magarity and follow any of the three to Rt. 7 then right on Rt. 7. Both 7 and 123 have their moments traffic wise, but they are often less aggravating than being in a hot mess backup on 66.

  • OX4

    An extra lane = additional cars = same congestion.

    • Lou

      But you will probably spend less time in the congestion, which is an improvement.

    • KalashniKEV

      “An extra lane = additional cars”

      Are you saying that this lane will instantly attract extra drivers just because they want to check it out, or are you saying that the increased throughput heading west will create additional jobs which may attract east-dwelling commuters who will travel in additional cars????

      • Joey

        I’m assuming he’s suggesting standard induced demand theory.

        In my mind, it’s not that “additional jobs” “will [be] create[d]” so much as that additional car trips will be created that might not have taken place otherwise.

        Those additional car trips could be because, on the margins, companies seeking young inside-the-beltway employees might choose to move to Tysons rather than stay in Arlington, where before the commute was too painful.

        Or someone who currently carpools, takes transit, or telecommutes a few days a week might be less inclined to do so, because there’s extra road capacity available. (Or someone who would today seek jobs closer to home might start looking at jobs farther away.)

        In the end, after several years of this, the road ends up just as filled as it was before, only with three lanes of gridlock instead of two.

        (The same thing happens with transit, or even sidewalks, of course. The Orange Line is crushed precisely because it was built.)

        I think the issue is that the region is going to grow. If we’re going to have to make transportation investments (which will invariably fill up), do we prefer to build freeways, arterials, bike routes, transit, or sidewalks? The job will be created, most likely, regardless of WHICH transportation investment is made. The question is WHERE it will be located (and where the employees will live).

        The choice of mode we build (or expand) will dramatically affect how the land is built out in terms of density, and also different modes fill back up to capacity at different rates.

        (If we’ve decided as a society that we’d prefer to invest more in freeways for capacity and future growth, choosing lower car-dominated density instead of shorter-distance commutes and walkable land use, so be it. But a lot of Arlingtonians are frustrated by this I-66 “improvements” because the externalities of the decision–additional cars and pollution–might primarily help outsiders and might negatively affect the county residents who have chosen to sacrifice size/space/cars in order to live here.)

        • KalashniKEV

          Thank you for the detailed response. While it’s true that by strangling transportation throughput and not making the necessary infrastructure investments, the opponents of growth in Arlington *might* be able to cause some suffering for the exurbs, I think there are a lot of other things driving it.

        • Burger

          Exactly. The DC metro area is going to double in population over the next 20 years. Where are those people going to live. Some of that will be solved in more density around Metro stations but that won’t completely solve the problem. That means additional roads will be needed. That means expanding roads but also more local mass transit options.

          Second, 66W expansion does help locals. More people on 66W means less people driving on Lee highway or route 55. Less people on Lee Highway means less people (usually locals) not driving on the residential throughways – like 26 St.

        • dk

          I agree with this analysis, and I’ll just add on a very micro level: I typically avoid 66 like the plague. But if this change makes it pretty quick for me to drive from DC to Glebe Road, then I’ll likely change my ways. Until this route clogs up again.

      • http://www.exactcom.com.au/proofs/KombiPics/Wrecks/bayBushOvergrown.jpg Overgrown Bush

        And if you build a six lane highway through the middle of Nebraska, will it fill with cars and congestion? No.

        • Josh S

          Yes, there are certain assumptions required for induced demand to work. And?

          (ProTip: It doesn’t mean it’s not valid.)

  • KalashniKEV

    Thank you, Governor McDonnell!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • zzzzz

      Didn’t the planning for this start way before McDonnell became governor? It had nothing to do with him.

      • Rick

        The plan was done years ago but he was the only one with the sack to tell Zimmerman to beat it when he tried to mount a protest.

        • drax

          Wait until they want another lane, and another, and another, and see whose sack is involved.

          • http://www.exactcom.com.au/proofs/KombiPics/Wrecks/bayBushOvergrown.jpg Overgrown Bush

            The County Board’s for continuing to approve high density living in Arlington where people live and get in their car to drive to Tysons?

          • drax

            Get in their car to drive to Tyson’s? Alongside the brand new Metro line to Tyson’s?

          • http://www.exactcom.com.au/proofs/KombiPics/Wrecks/bayBushOvergrown.jpg Overgrown Bush

            Yes, because metro will not fit for everyone involved. It won’t even fit for those who use it regularly all the time. So, more cars will be added regardless of metro and they come about from added Arlington density in one direction, added western density in the other.

  • jslanger

    I don’t know anything about traffic flow patterns, etc, but I fail to see how widening and then narrowing the road back down to 2 lanes again will make a difference in overall traffic…supposedly traffic does share some properties of flow with fluids, and if you release a bottleneck and then recreate it, you won’t have any net change in overall flow.

    Of course, I don’t know enough on the topic, but if someone does, please explain! Otherwise this seems like a very expensive, long, on-ramp.

    • charlie

      because every car that gets on the extra lane in ballston will be paired with a car that gets off at Sycarmore. yeah, right.

    • Lou

      You can’t equate it to water. Water is dumb. Cars have drivers, each with an agenda on where to go. Giving the drivers more blacktop gives them more time to smoothly get to the lane(s) that take them where they are going so they do not have to prematurely slow down and hold up people behind them.

      • KalashniKEV

        +1

        This will improve the flow of traffic by mitigating the bottleneck, not by improving total throughput.

      • D

        Water is dumb… and drivers are smart? When was the last time you drove anywhere?

      • Pique

        Well, they don’t use the word “flow” to describe how traffic moves for nothing.

        • drax

          They use it for lack of a better term.

          • http://www.exactcom.com.au/proofs/KombiPics/Wrecks/bayBushOvergrown.jpg Overgrown Bush

            I think Pique’s point is proven.

  • Arlwhenver

    I bypassed the backed up Fairfax Drive onramp to I66 this morning, taking Lee Highway west to the Interstate instead. When the spot improvement is in place Fairfax Drive backups will be relieved and I won’t have to worm around on County streets nearly so often.

  • Brian

    WJLA reports the lane was not open as of 7:11pm …. so no dice thus far

  • Greg

    Why on earth did they not extend this another 1 or 2 miles?

    • charlie

      the bridge over Williamsburg Blvd cannot accommodate four lanes without major major major changes. and you’d need four lanes for the three travel lanes and the continous merge from Lee Hwy/Wash Blvd., which was one of the first spot improvements shoved up our butts.

      • Burger

        I never got that argument 4 lanes for 3. I agree that 4 lanes should be provided at all spots with 3 lanes for travel and 1 for a breakdown lane. But, I think for ease, they can eliminate the breakdown line on the overpasses. Maybe a car breaks down there but that is a very rare incident.

        • charlie

          there simple isn’t the physical room. Right now that bridge is three lanes with two 1/4 lanes on each side. it is the squeeze point — just like the Rosslyn tunnel that protects Arlington.

        • Phil

          There aren’t 3 lanes because that was the deal back in the 60′s when I-66 was conceived. The Arlington neighborhoods would not allow a bigger highway to proceed. It was basically 2 lanes each way, or nothing. I don’t know if Arlington is singing a different tune now about the number of lanes, or not.

          • drax

            It is not. Arlington opposes breaking that agreement.

  • Clarendon Cruiserq

    Anybody else notice that the third exit sign is spelled ‘Syacmore’ street? Check it out next time, the sign just before the exit.

    • Nitin

      I saw that too this morning.

    • idiocracy

      HILARIOUS!!! Maybe VDOT employees should be required to spend some time in APS classrooms!

  • Deb

    Yes, I just love the new I66 lights…shine into my bedroom all night long! I hate that road…so happy so many of you like it though. What do I as a taxpayer get for it? Reduced sleep and increased stress.

    • Burger

      Don’t but a house near a major highway nor in an urban area. problem solved.

      • drax

        Why do you assume she didn’t move here before I-66 was built?

    • Maria

      That stinks, but you could get some blackout curtains.

  • Ceara

    Not to be insensitive, but did you buy your home before I66 was built? If not, why did you buy next to an Interstate highway?

    • charlie

      i’ve been in my house since BEFORE I-66 was approved, stopped, approved, redesigned, stopped and then built.

      In fact when we moved into our house there were still houses, apartment buildings, and railroad tracks in the I-66 right-of-way.

      Why do you ask?

      • drax

        The question was for Deb.

        • charlie

          yeah, but Caera needs to know that not everyone moved here in the 21st century.

          • Sell Sell Sell

            If it bothered you Charlie, you have had plenty of time to sell your home. I imagine you would make a hefty profit selling it, even with the market a little down, especially considering what you paid for it that long ago.

          • charlie

            i shouldn’t have to sell my house.
            i can’t keep my windows open any more because of the soot from I-66. the noise is like a mountain stream. repeat.

            people have a responsiblity for their decisions, yes.
            but people also have the responsiblity to guide their communities. and if they don’t like something they have the right to change it.

            and btw, our family all lives here, all love it. change be good. very good.

          • Ceara

            I meant the question for Deb. It is a valid question for her, given her complaint. You have a reason to complain for sure. Does she if she had the ability to control where she lived? Sure, but not nearly as much.

          • drax

            Okay, we’re on the same page.

      • http://www.exactcom.com.au/proofs/KombiPics/Wrecks/bayBushOvergrown.jpg Overgrown Bush

        A number of Arlington residents have been, and are against the road especially if they own a house that used to not have a highway in the back yard. That said, it is difficult to be too sympathetic for Deb if she just moved into the place knowing a highway was next to it. I think that is all Ceara is saying….or asking.

        • Josh S

          Somehow I thought Deb was perhaps complaining about the new placement of the lights associated with this project? Maybe the old lights didn’t shine in her bedroom and the new ones do? In which case, she has reason to complain. I’m not sure much can be done about it.

          • drax

            Yes, her reference to “the new I-66 lights” is a tip off. Thanks for noticing, Josh.

          • Maria

            But the point that she bought a house right next to a major interstate would still apply (if, in fact, she did).

          • Josh S

            Well, perhaps on the issue of noise.

            Light pollution is quite real. It would quite likely be possible to install lamps alongside the highway that provided adequate illumination to the roadway without also shining into nearby homes.

            Also, if the residential neighborhood predated the existence of the highway (it did), I would think it would be the responsibility of the highway to attempt to mitigate its presence, not the responsibility of the neighbors to suck it up because they happened to have the misfortune of having an interstate built in their backyard.

  • BallstonNOTBoston

    As everyone on here predicted – this extra lane (open this morning) did ZIPPY to help with the rush hour commute this morning and just backed everything up at the “Syacmore” (really?!?!).

    FAIL.

    • Daniel

      That’s what I expected….too bad Sycamore is my exit….I guess I’ll be swerving around a couple last-minute-mergers tonight.

    • Misty Malarky Ying Yang

      The real test is whether it is moving people through there quicker. You can not tell that just by looking at the road and noting there are lots of cars on it.

      • formerbristow

        Yah I saw almost no one in that lane around 7:15am this morning but people could catch on and use some of it, give it time. Ramp was a tad faster though from Fairfax Dr than usual. One sample..

    • Bluemontsince1961

      I’m not surprised.

    • JamesE

      I took it at 8:22 to McLean and got there in 14 minutes, and Fairfax Dr was not backed up at all.

      • Tre

        I thought i saw your ‘vette on the on ramp. Why do I feel weird now? I should probably take a break from monitoring all comments on ARLnow for a while.

        • JamesE

          It was nice actually being able to go above 5 mph on the ramp

  • Jim

    Give it a month and it will be just as clogged. Build it and the cars will come.

  • Arlingtron

    I used this Tuesday morning. It did relieve a little of the traffic. I entered at Fairfax and stayed in the lane until I got closer to Sycamore (did not notice the misspelled sign). The lane was quite empty and moved at twice the speed of the left lanes. I suppose people are getting used to it. There will be a new backup when through traffic moves left just before the exit ramp. Especially the “me first” drivers in luxury vehicles forcing their way over at the very end of the merge area and not smoothly merging when there’s an opening.

    • Jack

      There you go — a minimal improvement in congestion, and only for those exiting at Sycamore. Otherwise, you have to make the often difficult merge back to the left two lanes, and then you’re stuck in traffic again.

      This was worth $14 million???

      • T

        I agree. It should be a full third lane all the way to the Toll Road, but the reason it helps is that it eliminates the chain reaction traffic jam that is there about 12 hours a day. How many times have you ever come through that stretch without seeing brake lights right after the Glebe exit?

        It has very little to do with people exiting at Sycamore.

  • Josh S

    Passing on the Orange line westbound last night around 5 PM. Traffic was flowing fairly smoothly (of course it’s in the middle of the HOV only time period) but I noticed not a single car in the new lane the entire way from where the train comes out of the tunnel (basically where the new lane starts) all the way to the Sycamore exit. I thought that was interesting.

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