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Author Topic: Northern Virginia HOT Lanes  (Read 479569 times)

Plutonic Panda

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Re: Northern Virginia HOT Lanes
« Reply #1850 on: May 21, 2022, 04:08:36 PM »

There's a big noise impact on the surrounding communities too.  Soundwalls would be needed.  Then there's the visual obstruction soundwalls cause. 

With these "lifestyle" issues, it's almost easier to install a tunnel than a 2nd/3rd/4th level roadway corridor.  And combined with the cost, it's why you don't often see these multi-level corridors built.
Which is exactly what they should do like they should have done in Syracuse but apparently the USA can’t build tunnels anymore even though countries like New Zealand can.
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jeffandnicole

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Re: Northern Virginia HOT Lanes
« Reply #1851 on: May 21, 2022, 04:52:18 PM »

There's a big noise impact on the surrounding communities too.  Soundwalls would be needed.  Then there's the visual obstruction soundwalls cause. 

With these "lifestyle" issues, it's almost easier to install a tunnel than a 2nd/3rd/4th level roadway corridor.  And combined with the cost, it's why you don't often see these multi-level corridors built.
Which is exactly what they should do like they should have done in Syracuse but apparently the USA can’t build tunnels anymore even though countries like New Zealand can.

The US does build tunnels when it's the preferred option.  In fact, we may even have more tunnels than New Zealand.

Besides - New Zealand is one of about 200 countries in the world.  No matter what, other countries do what the US doesn't do, and the US does things that other countries don't do.
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bluecountry

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Re: Northern Virginia HOT Lanes
« Reply #1852 on: May 22, 2022, 08:30:35 PM »

^ Not going to happen without some significant (i.e. ten digits) ROW acquisition and construction.  There are choke points at both Newington and Woodbridge.

Or, you could avoid the ROW acquisition but that would require using general purpose lane space to fit bi-directional HO/T lanes in.  Bet that would go over well with drivers...
I disagree, it can be done.  They did in NJ with TP and that is a lot more built up.
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plain

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Re: Northern Virginia HOT Lanes
« Reply #1853 on: May 22, 2022, 09:09:17 PM »

Can be and will be are two different things. The state has already spent boatloads of $$$ in NOVA & Hampton Roads, finding even more money is what's going to be the challenge for anything else.

Even still the HOT lanes doesn't really need to be 2-way south of the Beltway, as most of the employment centers are either inside the Beltway or just outside of it. There aren't that many people commuting from Arlington/Fairfax/etc to Fredericksburg for work.
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Re: Northern Virginia HOT Lanes
« Reply #1854 on: May 22, 2022, 09:29:00 PM »

Can be and will be are two different things. The state has already spent boatloads of $$$ in NOVA & Hampton Roads, finding even more money is what's going to be the challenge for anything else.

Even still the HOT lanes doesn't really need to be 2-way south of the Beltway, as most of the employment centers are either inside the Beltway or just outside of it. There aren't that many people commuting from Arlington/Fairfax/etc to Fredericksburg for work.

There are often delays on weekends when two-way traffic on the HOT lanes would be very useful.
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Re: Northern Virginia HOT Lanes
« Reply #1855 on: May 22, 2022, 09:34:01 PM »

Can be and will be are two different things. The state has already spent boatloads of $$$ in NOVA & Hampton Roads, finding even more money is what's going to be the challenge for anything else.

Even still the HOT lanes doesn't really need to be 2-way south of the Beltway, as most of the employment centers are either inside the Beltway or just outside of it. There aren't that many people commuting from Arlington/Fairfax/etc to Fredericksburg for work.

There are often delays on weekends when two-way traffic on the HOT lanes would be very useful.

Yes, but a GP lane in each direction would be more helpful.
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famartin

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Re: Northern Virginia HOT Lanes
« Reply #1856 on: May 22, 2022, 10:03:16 PM »

Can be and will be are two different things. The state has already spent boatloads of $$$ in NOVA & Hampton Roads, finding even more money is what's going to be the challenge for anything else.

Even still the HOT lanes doesn't really need to be 2-way south of the Beltway, as most of the employment centers are either inside the Beltway or just outside of it. There aren't that many people commuting from Arlington/Fairfax/etc to Fredericksburg for work.

There are often delays on weekends when two-way traffic on the HOT lanes would be very useful.

Yes, but a GP lane in each direction would be more helpful.

Pretty sure the chance of that is about zero.
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Plutonic Panda

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Re: Northern Virginia HOT Lanes
« Reply #1857 on: May 22, 2022, 10:17:44 PM »

Can be and will be are two different things. The state has already spent boatloads of $$$ in NOVA & Hampton Roads, finding even more money is what's going to be the challenge for anything else.

Even still the HOT lanes doesn't really need to be 2-way south of the Beltway, as most of the employment centers are either inside the Beltway or just outside of it. There aren't that many people commuting from Arlington/Fairfax/etc to Fredericksburg for work.

There are often delays on weekends when two-way traffic on the HOT lanes would be very useful.

Yes, but a GP lane in each direction would be more helpful.

Pretty sure the chance of that is about zero.
Why is that? Is Virginia not adding GP lanes anymore in urban areas?
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sprjus4

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Re: Northern Virginia HOT Lanes
« Reply #1858 on: May 22, 2022, 10:56:00 PM »

Can be and will be are two different things. The state has already spent boatloads of $$$ in NOVA & Hampton Roads, finding even more money is what's going to be the challenge for anything else.

Even still the HOT lanes doesn't really need to be 2-way south of the Beltway, as most of the employment centers are either inside the Beltway or just outside of it. There aren't that many people commuting from Arlington/Fairfax/etc to Fredericksburg for work.

There are often delays on weekends when two-way traffic on the HOT lanes would be very useful.

Yes, but a GP lane in each direction would be more helpful.

Pretty sure the chance of that is about zero.
Why is that? Is Virginia not adding GP lanes anymore in urban areas?
Seems to be the trend nowadays.
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Thing 342

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Re: Northern Virginia HOT Lanes
« Reply #1859 on: June 03, 2022, 10:37:03 PM »

During my limited experience on the 95 toll lanes, traffic flows fast enough for a State Trooper to monitor speeds, although the allowance is substantial. I know I was seen doing around 79-81 in a 65, and the trooper didn't even glance.

I've yet to travel the Beltway toll lanes.
The troopers are pretty much there to catch HOV and truck restriction violations rather than deal with sub-misdemeanor (>85mph) speeding tickets.

I think I've seen more semi's get pulled over in the HOT lanes than actual cars.
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davewiecking

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Re: Northern Virginia HOT Lanes
« Reply #1860 on: June 04, 2022, 12:23:21 AM »

Continuation of the HOT lanes on the last 2 miles of the Beltway (Dulles Toll Road to GWPkwy) gets under way this month. The “green arrow/red X lane” (otherwise known as the inside shoulder) closed a few days ago to allow for work in the median to commence. www.495next.org has details.
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Dirt Roads

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Re: Northern Virginia HOT Lanes
« Reply #1861 on: June 04, 2022, 04:01:44 PM »

Yes, but a GP lane in each direction would be more helpful.

Pretty sure the chance of that is about zero.

Why is that? Is Virginia not adding GP lanes anymore in urban areas?

Seems to be the trend nowadays.

It's been a while since I was directly involved with a similar situation, but FHWA has a longstanding regulation that restricts the use of Federal funds for additional general purpose lanes when [fill in the blank].  It is my understanding that the [blank] is related to approval of the Environmental Impact Statement, where the primary issues are related to the Council on Environmental Quality recommendations for additional pollutants and additional noise.  On the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) side, we were looking at 30 year window, so I would presume FHWA has a similar long-term outlook.  Back in the 1990s, there were two primary ways that allowed construction of additional lanes when the EIS wouldn't permit GP lanes:  (1) HOV lanes; and (2) Toll lanes.  Today, we also have that hybrid: (3) HOT lanes.  These options forcibly reduce the long-term capacity of the additional lanes to allow the EIS to be acceptable.

For the record, the FHWA is still using an Environmental Review process developed in October 1987, whereas the FTA is using an Environment Review process last updated in September 2015.
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bluecountry

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Re: Northern Virginia HOT Lanes
« Reply #1862 on: June 06, 2022, 10:26:42 AM »

Can be and will be are two different things. The state has already spent boatloads of $$$ in NOVA & Hampton Roads, finding even more money is what's going to be the challenge for anything else.

Even still the HOT lanes doesn't really need to be 2-way south of the Beltway, as most of the employment centers are either inside the Beltway or just outside of it. There aren't that many people commuting from Arlington/Fairfax/etc to Fredericksburg for work.

There are often delays on weekends when two-way traffic on the HOT lanes would be very useful.

Yes, but a GP lane in each direction would be more helpful.

Pretty sure the chance of that is about zero.
Why is that? Is Virginia not adding GP lanes anymore in urban areas?

I believe VA cannot add a GP lane on 95 where the HOT lanes are without having to potentially compensate the vender of the HOT lanes since in theory adding another GP lane would reduce congestion thereby reducing demand and revenue.  Great contract.
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Jmiles32

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Re: Northern Virginia HOT Lanes
« Reply #1863 on: July 18, 2022, 03:30:48 PM »

https://www.insidenova.com/news/arlington/panel-more-express-lanes-need-to-be-part-of-n-va-transportation-mix/article_c417f426-06af-11ed-96f7-5bbfd6a9d0ed.html
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Northern Virginia has been transformed for the last decade by Express Lanes projects and regional leaders say more of the same is needed – including over the Potomac River and into Maryland – if the metropolitan area is to continue thriving.

Virginia has 62 miles of Express Lanes in service on Interstates 95, 495, 66 and 395 and now are building 33 miles more, including 22.5 miles on I-66 outside the Beltway and 2.5 miles for the 495 NEXT project in McLean, said John Lynch, Northern Virginia District engineer for the Virginia Department of Transportation.

Panelists discussed the situation July 14 at “Shaping the Region: Past, Present and Future of Express Lanes,” a Northern Virginia Transportation Alliance (NVTA) program held July 14 at the Northern Virginia Chamber of Commerce in Tysons.
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VDOT hopes some existing Express Lanes on I-95 can be converted from reversible-direction to bidirectional, allowing traffic headed both ways to use them throughout the day, Long said.

McKay hoped that could be accomplished, saying he from the start had called the reversible lanes there an “enormous missed opportunity.” VDOT officials also are conducting environmental studies, due to be competed in early 2024, about building Express Lanes on the south side of the Beltway connecting them across the Potomac in Maryland. Both spans of the new Woodrow Wilson Bridge include space for future transit options, officials said. High housing costs also are a major challenge facing the region, whose leaders either must concentrate dwellings in the area’s core or keep spreading out as in years past, Clower said.

I am really interested how the heck VDOT plans design-wise to turn the I-95 express lanes bi-directional. Very needed for sure. However, the only feasible idea that I've heard so far was to turn the GP lane's left shoulder of whatever direction the express lanes are not pointed in into a part time express lane. Even then, entrance and exit points could be nightmare. The ultimate design of the proposed southside express lanes will also be interesting to a lesser extent.
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sprjus4

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Re: Northern Virginia HOT Lanes
« Reply #1864 on: July 18, 2022, 09:03:05 PM »

^ It would be more costly, but the ultimate design for I-95 needs to be 2 express lanes in each direction. None of this shoulder stuff should be implemented, there’s just too much traffic for a single lane to be adequate at any time in each direction.
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vdeane

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Re: Northern Virginia HOT Lanes
« Reply #1865 on: July 18, 2022, 09:50:55 PM »

Why do they keep talking about HOT lanes across the Woodrow Wilson Bridge?  Aren't there already express lanes there (albeit free)?
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Re: Northern Virginia HOT Lanes
« Reply #1866 on: July 18, 2022, 11:25:53 PM »

Why do they keep talking about HOT lanes across the Woodrow Wilson Bridge?  Aren't there already express lanes there (albeit free)?

The Express Lane carriageways on the bridge were built wide enough to accommodate either a 3rd lane (at the time, presuming HOV) or rail transit.  Design also accommodates potential future ramps between the bridge Express Lanes and I-295 (via the wider median at both spots) and from the Express Lanes to US 1 (note the gap in the median curb in the middle of the US 1 overpass).
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bluecountry

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Re: Northern Virginia HOT Lanes
« Reply #1867 on: July 19, 2022, 12:04:16 AM »

https://www.insidenova.com/news/arlington/panel-more-express-lanes-need-to-be-part-of-n-va-transportation-mix/article_c417f426-06af-11ed-96f7-5bbfd6a9d0ed.html
Quote
Northern Virginia has been transformed for the last decade by Express Lanes projects and regional leaders say more of the same is needed – including over the Potomac River and into Maryland – if the metropolitan area is to continue thriving.

Virginia has 62 miles of Express Lanes in service on Interstates 95, 495, 66 and 395 and now are building 33 miles more, including 22.5 miles on I-66 outside the Beltway and 2.5 miles for the 495 NEXT project in McLean, said John Lynch, Northern Virginia District engineer for the Virginia Department of Transportation.

Panelists discussed the situation July 14 at “Shaping the Region: Past, Present and Future of Express Lanes,” a Northern Virginia Transportation Alliance (NVTA) program held July 14 at the Northern Virginia Chamber of Commerce in Tysons.
Quote
VDOT hopes some existing Express Lanes on I-95 can be converted from reversible-direction to bidirectional, allowing traffic headed both ways to use them throughout the day, Long said.

McKay hoped that could be accomplished, saying he from the start had called the reversible lanes there an “enormous missed opportunity.” VDOT officials also are conducting environmental studies, due to be competed in early 2024, about building Express Lanes on the south side of the Beltway connecting them across the Potomac in Maryland. Both spans of the new Woodrow Wilson Bridge include space for future transit options, officials said. High housing costs also are a major challenge facing the region, whose leaders either must concentrate dwellings in the area’s core or keep spreading out as in years past, Clower said.

I am really interested how the heck VDOT plans design-wise to turn the I-95 express lanes bi-directional. Very needed for sure. However, the only feasible idea that I've heard so far was to turn the GP lane's left shoulder of whatever direction the express lanes are not pointed in into a part time express lane. Even then, entrance and exit points could be nightmare. The ultimate design of the proposed southside express lanes will also be interesting to a lesser extent.

Dude it's simple:
1.  There is ample ROW south of 234 for bi(hehehe thats whats she said)-directional HOT lanes.
2.  There is also room north of 234, though not in all spots without some taking.  But we aren't talking about the Cross-Bronx which is very dense, the area is more like the 66 corrdior where that was easily done.
3. WORST case, north of 234 just go from being 3 reversible HOT to 2+2.

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sprjus4

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Re: Northern Virginia HOT Lanes
« Reply #1868 on: July 19, 2022, 01:25:44 AM »

Why do they keep talking about HOT lanes across the Woodrow Wilson Bridge?  Aren't there already express lanes there (albeit free)?

The Express Lane carriageways on the bridge were built wide enough to accommodate either a 3rd lane (at the time, presuming HOV) or rail transit.  Design also accommodates potential future ramps between the bridge Express Lanes and I-295 (via the wider median at both spots) and from the Express Lanes to US 1 (note the gap in the median curb in the middle of the US 1 overpass).
My question is how do they plan to accommodate the standard 2 HO/T lanes each way along side the existing 4 lanes each way? Unless they either remove a general purpose lane (which would cause issues on a 2+2, or make it a single HO/T lane (which also would be too low capacity).

It might involve some creative redoing of the lanes (shoulder elimination, lane width reductions in the HO/T to 11 ft (used in other areas on the I-95/I-395 system) or slight bridge widening.

None the less, I do agree the last part of I-495 in Virginia between I-95 and the Maryland state line needs to be expanded to 4 general purpose lanes and 2 HO/T lanes in each direction.
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1995hoo

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Re: Northern Virginia HOT Lanes
« Reply #1869 on: July 19, 2022, 09:57:35 AM »

Why do they keep talking about HOT lanes across the Woodrow Wilson Bridge?  Aren't there already express lanes there (albeit free)?

The Express Lane carriageways on the bridge were built wide enough to accommodate either a 3rd lane (at the time, presuming HOV) or rail transit.  Design also accommodates potential future ramps between the bridge Express Lanes and I-295 (via the wider median at both spots) and from the Express Lanes to US 1 (note the gap in the median curb in the middle of the US 1 overpass).

Another point to note is that the Wilson Bridge's carriageways are not denominated on the signs as "Local" and "Express" but rather as "Local" and "Thru," the latter referring to what vdeane is referring to as the "express" lanes. I remember that back when the signs first went up, I was discussing it with sometimes-forum-participant mtantillo (though we weren't discussing it on this forum, which I don't think existed yet) and he mentioned that the FHWA was trying to transition away from the use of "express lanes" as a description for lanes that simply have fewer exits in favor of using that term for "managed lanes" such as HO/T lanes. One wrinkle is that the use of "Thru" precludes, as a practical matter, the use of the type of sign you sometimes see in New Jersey where it will have a banner saying "All Lanes Thru"—it's arguably contradictory or confusing to post one carriageway as "Thru" and then say "All Lanes Thru." (I see enough people swerving across the gore points at either end of the Wilson Bridge "Local"/"Thru" setup that I've thought VDOT and MDOT ought to figure out some way to indicate that thru traffic to Baltimore or Richmond can use either carriageway. I understand that violates the intent of segregating long-distance traffic, but as a practical matter, the swerving without looking may be a bigger problem.)

Further history.... Traditionally, the reversible HOV carriageway on I-95/I-395 in Northern Virginia (which is now HO/T) was referred to locally as "the express lanes" going back to the 1970s, and there were some signs that referred to them as such (mostly older signs, as over time VDOT started signing them as the "Restricted Lanes"). Back when the I-495 HO/T lanes first opened in late 2012, WTOP traffic reporter Bob Marbourg's main concern was "what are we calling these lanes?" He refused to call them "express lanes" because that name had long referred to the I-395 HOV system, so he took to calling them the "E-ZPass Lanes." I assume, but I don't really recall whether this is right, that he used the "Thru" terminology on the Wilson Bridge as well (I may be wrong about that, and he has now retired anyway).

So to some degree, it's a matter of semantics: The highway departments do not consider there to be "express lanes" across the Wilson Bridge because in their worldview, "express lanes" refer to managed lanes that do not exist there (yet).

I'm interested in learning how, if at all, they plan to reconfigure the two interchanges between Springfield and the existing "Local"/"Thru" split. The one at Van Dorn Street could use improvement due to the problems caused by criss-crossing traffic in a very short amount of space on the ramp exiting the Beltway.
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vdeane

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Re: Northern Virginia HOT Lanes
« Reply #1870 on: July 19, 2022, 01:01:36 PM »

I wonder why "express lanes" came to mean the same thing as managed lanes (or HOT lanes/toll lanes as the rest of us call them) in the US.  IMO, they aren't the same.  One of my first experiences with the concept was actually Toronto.
« Last Edit: July 19, 2022, 09:39:12 PM by vdeane »
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Re: Northern Virginia HOT Lanes
« Reply #1871 on: July 19, 2022, 01:13:10 PM »

Here is how I-270 signs theirs:
https://goo.gl/maps/s3zsMb2mASUJJfLY7

Further along it is more ambiguous:
https://goo.gl/maps/ZQBnDxUvNCQBRqf38 (2021)

this used be less ambiguous:
https://goo.gl/maps/RCc24GRKZvLgqZWm7 (2015)

I-95/495 would be improved if they added Baltimore underneath the Alexandria on the Local BGS approaching the split.
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1995hoo

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Re: Northern Virginia HOT Lanes
« Reply #1872 on: July 19, 2022, 03:58:18 PM »

....

I-95/495 would be improved if they added Baltimore underneath the Alexandria on the Local BGS approaching the split.

I agree with that and I suggested it to a couple of people at VDOT; they said they didn't want to suggest to long-distance traffic that they should add to the congestion in the "Local" lanes. Never mind that a perfectly valid way to reach Baltimore is to use said local lanes to I-295 if you want to use the BW Parkway route (and some mapping software will sometimes suggest just that due to the shorter distance, though there are plenty of reasons not to go that way if you know the roads).

Regarding I-270, mtantillo said the signage there predates the FHWA's adoption of "express" as a term for managed lanes, so that probably explains a lot. Certainly many of us in the DC area are accustomed to thinking of "express" and "local" in the sense used to refer to the trains on the New York subway (e.g., when I go to New York I take the 2/3 express from Penn Station because it's two stops to my destination versus nine stops if I take the 1 local). I-270 uses the terminology in something similar to that sense—all exits are from the local lanes. I tend to agree with vdeane that most of us were accustomed of thinking of "express lanes" in that context and the example cited in Toronto is consistent with that.
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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.

ARMOURERERIC

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Re: Northern Virginia HOT Lanes
« Reply #1873 on: July 19, 2022, 04:37:43 PM »

Is it feasible to go 3 hot lanes with a zipper 2 with rush, one contraflow similar to what is done on 15 in San Diego
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sprjus4

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Re: Northern Virginia HOT Lanes
« Reply #1874 on: July 19, 2022, 04:49:13 PM »

Is it feasible to go 3 hot lanes with a zipper 2 with rush, one contraflow similar to what is done on 15 in San Diego
That’s sort of what the shoulder proposal would be, there would be a HO/T shoulder in each direction that would open up in the off peak direction while the existing reversible would handle the peak direction.

That is what is going to be implemented over the next few years on I-64 in Norfolk where the existing reversible lanes are, and what I believe is proposed for I-95.

The problem with I-95 is that peak directions seem to be both ways especially on busy weekends, that warrants a full 2+2 HO/T buildout.
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