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Big Backup on Westbound I-66

by ARLnow.com March 1, 2011 at 8:17 am 2,889 33 Comments

Update at 8:55 a.m. — Both westbound lanes have been reopened. Traffic is starting to move again.

Update at 8:40 a.m. — Almost an hour after the accident, only one lane is getting by. A tow truck has just arrived and should be clearing most of the lanes shortly. Traffic is now backing up to the Rosslyn tunnel.

Traffic is backed up on westbound I-66 from Sycamore Street to North Scott Street due to a multi-car accident.

Arlington police and paramedics are on the scene of a five-car accident on the highway’s westbound lanes near Sycamore Street. At least one injury has been reported.

The accident has slowed traffic to a crawl over much of westbound I-66 inside the Beltway.

Hat tip to @katekirk

  • AllenB

    If only there were more lanes… then more lanes would be blocked.

    • Overgrown Bush

      If only they’d never have built the highway, then no lanes would be blocked! Oh, wait, that’s right. Other community road’s lanes would be choked closed and metrorail would have no easement either.

      • borf

        Yet he didn’t say if only they hadn’t built it, did he?

        • Overgrown Bush

          There needs to be a special sarcasm font for blogs to bring out the proper tone, I think.

          • borf

            Your problem is you offered a straw man argument.


          • Overgrown Bush

            Ok, a lot of Arlingtonians are against widening I66 such as AllenB seems to indicate he is. Yet, a lot of Arlingtonians are indeed utilizing I66 and creating gridlock against outer-county flow of traffic (and with it as well). My straw man position is that a lot of Arlingtonians are for denser development yet are indeed contributing to the perils of it themselves. I find comments such as AllenB’s to be hypocritical. Not on AllenB’s part, because I do not know his specific circumstances. But, on Arlington’s part as a whole because there are indeed Arlingtonians who contribute to gridlock.

            Having a straw man position on this isn’t my problem, but it seems to be yours.

          • AllenB

            Ah, but when you assume you make an ass of you and, well, you. My post was merely joking about posts that were to come blaming the back up on less lanes. Personally, I’ll take heat for this, but I don’t mind widening 66 WEST bound for two reasons – it will mostly stay within the current footprint of the existing road and there are no choke points heading west. EAST bound is what is problematic to me as no matter what widening you do to the road, the bridges are only so wide.

          • borf

            No, that’s not your strawman argument. Your strawman argument was that someone said we shouldn’t have built I-66. Nobody said that here.

            Now you’re on a new tangent. I think people are entitled to use roads in their own county. Yes, people who think we should all drive less should drive less themselves, but not everyone can. And you don’t know if AllenB drives on I-66, or whether he has alternatives. So now you’ve gone from strawman to reaching for straws.

          • Overgrown Bush

            Indeed, when you assume you make an ass out of you. And, you are assuming all commuters eastbound are going into DC. Not true. Arlington has done a wonderful job of building a little city off I66 where commuters go to work. There are no bridges there.

            Personally, I could care less since I only drive westbound in morning rush and only occasionally. Your attitude of only wanting westbound widened for Arlington’s (or your) convenience is odd, because eastbound is choked up inside the beltway in the evening rush for the same reasons. Arlington residents commuting by car to/from Fairfax and Tysons.

          • Overgrown Bush

            borf, so let me understand…. You are saying people are only entitled to use roads only within their own county? Really? Gee… I pay State and Federal taxes and those tax bases pay for Interstate highways. So, I am not entitled to use I66 outside of Arlington? You have got to be kidding me.

          • AllenB

            Frequently wrong but never in doubt, OGB. I never said the reason they shouldn’t widen 66 eastbound is my own personal preference. It’s a fact that the bridges are not being widened, that is the main chokepoint in the morning. So add another lane and they still all funnel to the bridges. True, not everyone is going all the way to DC but that doesnt matter. The people getting off in Ballston or other points will still sit in the same traffic.

            Are you proposing express lanes just to Arlington?

          • Overgrown Bush

            Despite living in Arlington, I just take a more regional perspective. I believe those who wish to isolate Arlington will only serve to drag it down eventually. It is just a matter of philosophy. I know I’d not really like it too much if Fairfax decided to take a negative stance toward me when I travel there for business. That’s the same as DC wanting to impose a “commuter tax” on everyone crossing the river to work and spend their money in their city. The transportation infrastructure is needed for the region. Roads should be PART of the solution. I66 was widened further west with added bridge lanes. More challenging in Arlington, but not unthinkable.

  • Overgrown Bush

    Westbound 66 is backed up in rush hour even without an accident. Lots of Arlingtonians commute to Tysons to work.

    • ClarendonKing

      Or Reston Town Center!

    • cj

      Gee — have they ever considered HOV-2 in that direction too? Or mass transit? Oh, right, that’s for the masses.

      • Overgrown Bush

        I doubt it, but a good idea. Much of the commuting now is burb to burb and not necessarily into DC.

      • borf

        There will be nice, nearly empty Metro trains headed westbound to Tyson’s every morning in a few years.

        • Overgrown Bush

          Don’t count on it. Those folks sitting in I66 west traffic may bail onto the train to get to their job in Tysons. After all, isn’t that one of the arguments for getting on the train eastbound?

          • JamesE

            The first stop on the silver line will be right outside my office so I will be on the metro (when the weather is too bad to drive)

          • Lou

            Even now I’m surprised how many people ride outbound on the Orange line in the AM. I had to go to Dunn Loring a few times last summer and there were bunches of people exiting that station in the AM.

          • Overgrown Bush

            This is what a lot of people close to the city, who only go to DC, don’t realize. The problem isn’t everybody coming in. The problem is everybody…too many of us for the infrastructure at hand, both inbound, outbound, and around-bound.

          • borf

            Yes, that’s the point. The trains going out will be less crowded and ready to accommodate reverse commuters.

          • Overgrown Bush

            Ah, misunderstood. I thought you meant nobody would be riding them.

          • borf

            You and I keep misunderstanding each other.

            Are you my wife?

          • Overgrown Bush

            I thought you were mine!

  • Lacy Forest

    And of course the traffic cams on WTOP.com and the Washington Post traffic section will not load so you cannot survey the situation. It seems like every time there is a real need for technology to function (mobile phones, web sites, etc.) vis a vis 9/11, snowstorms, serious traffic incidents, rallies on the Mall, it doesn’t.

    • SD

      I’ve been having tons of issues on the new website design on WTOP.COM.

      • Glebe Roader

        I agree. It kinda sucks.

      • Easton

        I thought it was just me… most of the time I can’t view their traffic cameras since their site was redone. I’ve started using trafficland.com instead.

        • jan

          That site shows only one I-66 camera and it’s at Nutley

  • JamesE

    This backed up almost all of fairfax dr.

  • JennX

    I totally saw this backup as I whizzed by on my bike on the Custis Trail this morning.

    • borf

      Are you the cyclist who almost got run over by a motorcade?


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