Arlington, VA

(Updated at 1:50 p.m.) The Northern Virginia Transportation Alliance, a persistent critic of Arlington County, is renewing its call for additional lanes on I-66 inside the Beltway.

The Alliance points to the nearly-complete I-66 “spot improvement” — which added a third westbound lane between Fairfax Drive and Sycamore Street in Arlington — as evidence that the county’s stated opposition to widening I-66 is misguided.

“Drive I-66 westbound past Ballston,” the Alliance said in a recent email. “Look to your right. Behold, a new 12-foot lane! Look again. What do you see? Same sound walls. Same trees. Same houses. Same bike path. The sky didn’t fall; the earth remains on its axis.”

“What is different is that soon a major regional bottleneck will be reduced along with travel times of tens of thousands of daily morning work trips, home commutes and weekend trips of all kinds,” the email continued, calling the improvement “a baby step.”

The Alliance says that VDOT should now work to add a third lane in both directions on I-66 from Spout Run to the Dulles Toll Road. Such a move would surely draw opposition from Arlington, which tends to support transit-oriented transportation policies that discourage car use and traffic congestion. Still, the Alliance says the state should push forward despite possible “obstructionism” from Arlington.

“Our region continues to rank #1 in congestion, not for lack of regional solutions, but because localities too often oppose them and the state too often defers to localities,” the group said.

VDOT recently kicked off a study of “multimodal and corridor management solutions (operational, transit, bike, pedestrian, and highway) that can be implemented to reduce highway and transit congestion and improve overall mobility within the I-66 corridor, between I-495 and the Theodore Roosevelt Bridge.”

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