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Author Topic: Northern Virginia HOT Lanes  (Read 479896 times)

1995hoo

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Re: Northern Virginia HOT Lanes
« Reply #1800 on: March 19, 2021, 09:09:08 AM »

I can't believe that the car successfully made it thru the entire series of closed gates and kept on going...

On one hand I wonder if VDOT/Transurban will take another look at the gate system because of this, but on the other hand you can't really design against crazy situations like this...that driver was clearly determined to get thru onto the express lanes, wrong-way or not.

Even if they reinforced the gates, someone could still drive through the median access points for law enforcement and emergency response vehicles. Someone who doesn't care about smashing through the gates surely wouldn't be deterred by the plastic bollards!
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jeffandnicole

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Re: Northern Virginia HOT Lanes
« Reply #1801 on: March 19, 2021, 11:14:00 AM »

I can't believe that the car successfully made it thru the entire series of closed gates and kept on going...

On one hand I wonder if VDOT/Transurban will take another look at the gate system because of this, but on the other hand you can't really design against crazy situations like this...that driver was clearly determined to get thru onto the express lanes, wrong-way or not.

Gate arms are traditionally fiberglass or 1"x3" pieces of wood. They are generally made to breakaway when hit.  They are more of a simple deterrent rather than a hard stoppage.

Example of a typical gate:  https://goo.gl/maps/2jTJxNcV1mKNxz7D7 .  At some ramps, the gate doesn't even go across the entire lane.

The NJ Turnpike has seemingly more meaty barriers, and they generally do go across the lane, but they will snap if a car tries to barrel thru it:  https://goo.gl/maps/mXHGg1GgTEzk4aDY9

But another difference that's relevant here:  The barriers on 95 in Virginia can be rammed by motorists going highway speeds.  65, 75, 85, doesn't matter...they'll snap easily.

I never did care for the gates used down there; they're more like a "well, we trust that people won't do the wrong thing" dissuasion, rather than a strong barrier.
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1995hoo

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Re: Northern Virginia HOT Lanes
« Reply #1802 on: March 19, 2021, 11:30:49 AM »

Heh, regarding gate arms, I remember during the Blizzard of 1996, when I was attending law school, the parking department left the law school parking gate arm operating as normal. Problem was, they also did a half-arsed job of plowing, and the gate is on a slight hill. People got stuck when they had to stop and wait for the arm to rise. The gate arm they had then was wooden and far less robust than the current exit arm, so a couple of guys got together and snapped it off. I imagine nowadays they'd break off the entrance arm.

That was the same snowstorm in which Durham County stopped plowing the roads because the county's only snowplow broke down.
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"You know, you never have a guaranteed spot until you have a spot guaranteed."
—Olaf Kolzig, as quoted in the Washington Times on March 28, 2003,
commenting on the Capitals clinching a playoff spot.

"That sounded stupid, didn't it?"—Kolzig, to the same reporter a few seconds later.

1995hoo

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Re: Northern Virginia HOT Lanes
« Reply #1803 on: March 20, 2021, 10:55:32 AM »

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"You know, you never have a guaranteed spot until you have a spot guaranteed."
—Olaf Kolzig, as quoted in the Washington Times on March 28, 2003,
commenting on the Capitals clinching a playoff spot.

"That sounded stupid, didn't it?"—Kolzig, to the same reporter a few seconds later.

LM117

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Re: Northern Virginia HOT Lanes
« Reply #1804 on: March 20, 2021, 11:19:43 AM »

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jeffandnicole

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Re: Northern Virginia HOT Lanes
« Reply #1805 on: March 20, 2021, 11:44:19 AM »

As we suspected, the woman who caused that crash was riding dirty.

"...at speeds of up to 80 mph"

Or as some people would say...that slow?
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1995hoo

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Re: Northern Virginia HOT Lanes
« Reply #1806 on: March 20, 2021, 11:46:34 AM »

As we suspected, the woman who caused that crash was riding dirty.

"...at speeds of up to 80 mph"

Or as some people would say...that slow?

What’s so stupid is, you’d think if you know you’re a fugitive or otherwise in trouble with the law, you’d make an effort to obey the traffic laws and not stand out. But I guess people like her aren’t known for common sense in the first place. Damn shame she had to kill the man in the pickup to prove her stupidity, though.
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"You know, you never have a guaranteed spot until you have a spot guaranteed."
—Olaf Kolzig, as quoted in the Washington Times on March 28, 2003,
commenting on the Capitals clinching a playoff spot.

"That sounded stupid, didn't it?"—Kolzig, to the same reporter a few seconds later.

cpzilliacus

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Re: Northern Virginia HOT Lanes
« Reply #1807 on: March 20, 2021, 12:05:17 PM »

As we suspected, the woman who caused that crash was riding dirty.

"...at speeds of up to 80 mph"

Or as some people would say...that slow?

What’s so stupid is, you’d think if you know you’re a fugitive or otherwise in trouble with the law, you’d make an effort to obey the traffic laws and not stand out. But I guess people like her aren’t known for common sense in the first place. Damn shame she had to kill the man in the pickup to prove her stupidity, though.

I had not  been in Prince William County for many months (not in the eastern part of the county near I-95 since COVID19 got going) and that night, I had to drive from Silver Spring to Potomac Mills to meet a friend for dinner.

So I took MD-200 to its west end, then south on I-270, I-270Y, I-495 and 495Express, all with no trouble (though there was a crash on 495Express at I-66 blocking a lane with no delay), then south on 95Express from Springfield.  That worked well until coming over the Occoquan River, when it was obvious that there was effectively a hard stop just beyond VA-123 (traffic was being forced out of 95Express at VA-294, Prince William Parkway, my intended destination). 

So I worked my way around, and it was not as bad as I was anticipating, taking  VA-123 (that alone was badly jammed), Old Bridge, Minnieville, Telegraph and then VA-294 to Worth, the north entrance to Potomac Mills.
« Last Edit: March 20, 2021, 12:07:24 PM by cpzilliacus »
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froggie

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Re: Northern Virginia HOT Lanes
« Reply #1808 on: March 22, 2021, 11:56:44 PM »

What’s so stupid is, you’d think if you know you’re a fugitive or otherwise in trouble with the law, you’d make an effort to obey the traffic laws and not stand out. But I guess people like her aren’t known for common sense in the first place. Damn shame she had to kill the man in the pickup to prove her stupidity, though.

As a regular guest of the former show Live P.D. would often say, "it's not the smart ones that they catch"...
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74/171FAN

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Re: Northern Virginia HOT Lanes
« Reply #1809 on: July 09, 2021, 07:31:33 AM »

I was driving I-95 SB overnight last night through the ongoing C/D Road Project, and I thought it was odd that the PCMS was stating for "All Route 17 Traffic" to exit at Exit 133 while US 17 SB comes onto I-95 SB there.  It probably is a non-issue, but I still think it is a bit misleading.
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Mapmikey

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Re: Northern Virginia HOT Lanes
« Reply #1810 on: July 09, 2021, 02:01:50 PM »

I was driving I-95 SB overnight last night through the ongoing C/D Road Project, and I thought it was odd that the PCMS was stating for "All Route 17 Traffic" to exit at Exit 133 while US 17 SB comes onto I-95 SB there.  It probably is a non-issue, but I still think it is a bit misleading.

It is since they took down the sign that says US 17 SOUTH straight ahead during construction.   The misleading scheme is propagated at the bottom of the ramp with no BUSINESS banner on the 17 SOUTH left trailblazer and no indication that 17 SOUTH is straight ahead (under this temp configuration you can go straight and get right back on 95-17 south).

If you do get misled and follow US 17 Business, you will eventually come to a point in Fredericksburg where there are missing US 17 postings to follow the route (although it is worse NB).
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NJRoadfan

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Re: Northern Virginia HOT Lanes
« Reply #1811 on: July 09, 2021, 05:08:39 PM »

VDOT's signing of the US-17 multiplex on I-95 thru Fredericksburg is spotty. Despite new signing, there is still zero mention of it at the VA-3 on-ramps at Exit 130.
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famartin

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Re: Northern Virginia HOT Lanes
« Reply #1812 on: July 09, 2021, 06:03:13 PM »

VDOT's signing of the US-17 multiplex on I-95 thru Fredericksburg is spotty. Despite new signing, there is still zero mention of it at the VA-3 on-ramps at Exit 130.

Yes, its as if they haven't really decided to multiplex it properly. More like they just want 17 Thru Traffic to use 95 but want 17 to maintain its route through downtown Fredericksburg without calling it a business route (though some signage of that does exist). Could be some local politics at play, not sure.
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Mapmikey

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Re: Northern Virginia HOT Lanes
« Reply #1813 on: July 09, 2021, 09:22:40 PM »

VDOT's signing of the US-17 multiplex on I-95 thru Fredericksburg is spotty. Despite new signing, there is still zero mention of it at the VA-3 on-ramps at Exit 130.

Yes, its as if they haven't really decided to multiplex it properly. More like they just want 17 Thru Traffic to use 95 but want 17 to maintain its route through downtown Fredericksburg without calling it a business route (though some signage of that does exist). Could be some local politics at play, not sure.

Unlikely, given multiple turns in both directions on 17 Bus have no 17 signage of any kind within the City of Fredericksburg; there are also a couple stray US 17 signs as if it followed US 1's bypass of Fredericksburg, which it has never done.

More likely a VDOT District thing.

VA 100 is not identified from VA 99 or the Draper exit (District 2).
Fredericksburg is District 6

District 1 (US 58/I-81 and US 11/I-81) the routes are mostly identified
District 8 (US 60/I-64 twice) the routes are mostly identified
District 4 (US 460/I-85) is a mixed bag
District 5 (VA 33/I-64) is identified
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cpzilliacus

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NJRoadfan

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Re: Northern Virginia HOT Lanes
« Reply #1815 on: November 24, 2021, 02:41:34 PM »

Is there any way to get historic pricing on the HOT lanes? Looks like the current website removed that function or hid it well. Last time I was on the I-95 HOT lanes I could've swore the toll was lower then what I was charged, but would like to confirm.
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Mapmikey

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Re: Northern Virginia HOT Lanes
« Reply #1816 on: November 24, 2021, 07:41:30 PM »

Is there any way to get historic pricing on the HOT lanes? Looks like the current website removed that function or hid it well. Last time I was on the I-95 HOT lanes I could've swore the toll was lower then what I was charged, but would like to confirm.

It appears to no longer be accessible anywhere.  I tried web archive but the calendar feature doesn't work on that page.

One thing to note that for some entrances it is possible to enter the lanes with a posted price at/near the entrance but the price changes before you reach the first toll gantry.

Another potential way to have a question for a non-local is that if you enter I-95 Express Lanes SB from either direction on the beltway you pass through the tail end of a toll segment that people don't always realize which is usually $2-3 before reaching the Springfield to Dale City segment
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NJRoadfan

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Re: Northern Virginia HOT Lanes
« Reply #1817 on: November 26, 2021, 04:00:49 PM »

I got on in Woodbridge at Exit 161 and exited at the Dale City crossover. So, one segment.
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sprjus4

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Re: Northern Virginia HOT Lanes
« Reply #1818 on: December 02, 2021, 06:48:09 PM »

VDOT will initiate an environmental study to extend the HO/T lanes on I-95/I-495 along the southside of the Beltway from the Springfield Interchange (I-95/I-395/I-495), across the Woodrow Wilson Bridge, to MD-210 in Maryland.

Alternatives will include a no build option, one express lane in each direction, and two express lanes in each direction (consistent with the current design west of I-395). All options will "reserve a lane for transit in each direction on the Woodrow Wilson Bridge".

VDOT Announces I-495 Southside Express Lanes Study
Quote
Richmond – As the northern Virginia region readies itself for more than 90 miles of express lanes by the end of 2022, the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT), in cooperation with the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) and other federal, state and local agencies in Virginia and Maryland, will initiate an environmental study to potentially extend the Express Lanes System on the Capital Beltway, from the Springfield interchange (I-95/I-395/I-495) by approximately 11 miles to MD 210 in Prince George’s County, Maryland. This was identified in the Commonwealth Transportation Board’s adopted I-95 Corridor Improvement Plan as an area for additional study.

“The express lanes are expected to provide additional travel choices, and to provide a key component of the overall transportation network in the region,” said Virginia Secretary of Transportation Shannon Valentine. “This segment of the Capital Beltway will provide an opportunity to expand a regional system that already provides key components of the transit system, connecting activity centers with dedicated access points to transit hubs.”

The environmental study – which is included in VDOT’s current Six-Year Improvement Program (SYIP) and also included the National Capital Region's Visualize 2045 Constrained Long Range Plan (CLRP) – will evaluate a one-lane express lanes alternative, a two-lane express lanes alternative, a no build alternative, and be informed by agency and public input. All options in the study will reserve a lane for transit in each direction on the Woodrow Wilson Bridge.

The Woodrow Wilson Bridge fully opened to traffic in December 2008.  The design of the bridge included additional space for future transportation needs, and was designed to accommodate future rail across the bridge.

This study will be informed by a Transit and Transportation Demand Management Study to be initiated by the Virginia Department of Rail and Public Transportation (DRPT) and coordinated with the Maryland Transit Administration.

In the coming weeks and months VDOT will begin to gather information for the study and to coordinate with key stakeholders, agencies, organizations, and the public.
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famartin

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Re: Northern Virginia HOT Lanes
« Reply #1819 on: December 02, 2021, 06:50:15 PM »

So would they convert the existing express lanes along the bridge to toll?
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sprjus4

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Re: Northern Virginia HOT Lanes
« Reply #1820 on: December 02, 2021, 06:54:42 PM »

So would they convert the existing express lanes along the bridge to toll?
I'm not sure how the bridge would be dealt with. There's only currently room for one additional lane in each direction. It would certainly receive significant public opposition and backlash, along with cause more issues than help, if they were to fully convert all the "through" lanes into HO/T lanes. That's all existing, free, well utilized capacity that would be taken away, reducing the general purpose lanes on an extremely busy section of I-95 and the Beltway to a mere 2 in each direction, along with an auxiliary lane.
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froggie

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Re: Northern Virginia HOT Lanes
« Reply #1821 on: December 02, 2021, 08:36:18 PM »

Inside shoulder on the WWB Express Lanes is wide enough for another lane plus retaining a full shoulder.  With a design variance, they could squeeze in two.

Bridge isn't the problem.  It's the taper on the Maryland side that will be the problem.
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jeffandnicole

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Re: Northern Virginia HOT Lanes
« Reply #1822 on: December 02, 2021, 10:16:05 PM »

Alternatives will include...one express lane in each direction....

The sooner they can eliminate this option, the better.  There's always gonna be that one person that decides 5 below the limit is safer, and that'll destroy an entire rush hour.
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sprjus4

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Re: Northern Virginia HOT Lanes
« Reply #1823 on: December 02, 2021, 10:32:50 PM »

Inside shoulder on the WWB Express Lanes is wide enough for another lane plus retaining a full shoulder.  With a design variance, they could squeeze in two.
The inside shoulder is only roughly 16-18 feet, meaning you could fit in at best a lane and a 4-6 ft left shoulder.

Any 2nd HO/T lane addition would require eliminating some of the general purpose right shoulder along with reducing at least the HO/T lanes lane width to 11 ft as was done on I-395 and I-95 on their 3 lane reversible segments. That might be feasible though for them, given VDOT is planning to reduce the general purpose shoulder on I-64 in Norfolk to 2 ft on either side to accommodate HO/T lanes… :rolleyes:
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1995hoo

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Re: Northern Virginia HOT Lanes
« Reply #1824 on: December 03, 2021, 08:45:54 AM »

I wondered when they would start exploring this end of the Beltway. Our district's past member of the Board of Supervisors, Dana Kauffman (two supervisors ago now—he was succeeded by Jeff McKay around 2007 or 2009; McKay is now Chairman and Rodney Lusk is the new supervisor), used to call this end of the Beltway the "forgotten portion."

It seems to me that converting the existing "Thru" lanes on the Beltway entirely to HO/T would massively defeat the purpose of the way the road is designed through that area. Segregating the local traffic that's exiting and entering from the long-distance traffic that just wants to pass through the area was a major motivation for the current design. It still backs up heading to Maryland in the evenings even with the new design, although the backups are far less severe than they used to be. (Once upon a time the backups would regularly stretch to Van Dorn Street. That seldom happens anymore unless there's a wreck.)

If they decided to proceed (and I have little doubt they will), I'll be keenly interested in how they configure the interchanges and other connections. The Van Dorn Street interchange could use a rebuild anyway, so maybe this will provide the opportunity to do that. It's only had two significant changes since it was originally built in the 1960s (the wider Beltway doesn't count, IMO, because the basic interchange design didn't change)—at some point a new ramp was added from northbound Van Dorn to the Outer Loop to eliminate the need to wait for a left turn, and at some point an "authorized vehicles only" ramp was added to access the salt dome on the Inner Loop side (I used that ramp once to look at new signage waiting to be posted, but there was a cop there so I had to leave quickly). The big problem with the Van Dorn interchange is the exit to Van Dorn—the ramps from both loops merge and traffic has to criss-cross in a relatively short area depending on which way you're going on Van Dorn.
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"You know, you never have a guaranteed spot until you have a spot guaranteed."
—Olaf Kolzig, as quoted in the Washington Times on March 28, 2003,
commenting on the Capitals clinching a playoff spot.

"That sounded stupid, didn't it?"—Kolzig, to the same reporter a few seconds later.

 


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