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Author Topic: Virginia  (Read 1371230 times)

Beltway

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Re: Virginia
« Reply #3050 on: May 17, 2018, 02:49:27 PM »

I really hope that they examine tolling all traffic on all lanes of I-81 across Virginia, and in particular not just trucks (I remember when the Star Solutions proposal for I-81 ran off the road and was declared dead).
They should also look at how much Virginia (statewide) motor fuel taxes would have to go up (without tolls) to fund widening all of it to at least six (and some parts probably eight) lanes wide.

Separating the I-81 corridor from the rest of the highway program may have some benefits, but won't that contradict the concept of the new SmartScale funding program?

The EIS/location Tier I study back in the early 2000s had alternatives not just for the separate truck roadways, but also for conventional widening of the current roadways to 3 or 4 lanes.  The TEA-21 pilot program would have allowed tolling the highway, and they had alternatives for tolling either concept and for either trucks only or for all vehicles.

Long-distance trucks cause congestion on I-81, so let's make everyone pay for the required upgrades. Brilliant.

Car AADTs are high enough on weekends Fri-Sun from Memorial Day thru Labor Day, and on other holiday weekends, that 6 lanes are needed thruout the whole route from Knoxville to Harrisburg.
« Last Edit: May 17, 2018, 02:52:09 PM by Beltway »
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Re: Virginia
« Reply #3051 on: May 17, 2018, 06:14:00 PM »

VDOT is not specifically looking at tolls yet, but they are now studying I-81 separately and as a whole to determine improvements and potential revenue sources for this route.

"During the meeting, the launch of the Interstate 81 Corridor Improvement Plan was presented to the board.  As directed in Senate Bill 971, the CTB, supported by OIPI, VDOT and DRPT, will study I-81 to identify priorities along the 325 miles and potential revenue sources that could be dedicated to improvements."

http://www.virginiadot.org/newsroom/statewide/2018/new_director_of_transportation128701.asp

I really hope that they examine tolling all traffic on all lanes of I-81 across Virginia, and in particular not just trucks (I remember when the Star Solutions proposal for I-81 ran off the road and was declared dead).

They should also look at how much Virginia (statewide) motor fuel taxes would have to go up (without tolls) to fund widening all of it to at least six (and some parts probably eight) lanes wide.
Am somewhat ambivalent about this idea (I just want the bloody thing widened, no matter the cost), but good luck getting any part of SWVA, who already feel like they get the short end of the stick, to accept any part of this proposal. Perhaps a few strategically-placed tollbooths (one at each border, and one near each of the I-66, 64, and 77 junctions) would lessen the impact somewhat, however this feels like a complete non-starter.
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Re: Virginia
« Reply #3052 on: May 17, 2018, 08:10:39 PM »

I could go along with tolling I-81 if they'd increase the speed limit to 85 mph.  :bigass:

But then we'd have to renumber it to I-366 and no one would go for that.

I actually meant to type 80. I guess I saw "Virginia" and my mind automatically went all Ethanman on me.
With a speed limit of 85, 1 mph over would get you a reckless driving ticket.


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Re: Virginia
« Reply #3053 on: May 17, 2018, 08:13:13 PM »

I could go along with tolling I-81 if they'd increase the speed limit to 85 mph.  :bigass:

But then we'd have to renumber it to I-366 and no one would go for that.

I actually meant to type 80. I guess I saw "Virginia" and my mind automatically went all Ethanman on me.
With a speed limit of 85, 1 mph over would get you a reckless driving ticket.

Unless the 80mph=reckless law were changed, even 5 under could draw a reckless driving charge.
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Re: Virginia
« Reply #3054 on: May 17, 2018, 09:12:42 PM »

There was a bill last year to allow 80-mph speed limits on toll roads in Virginia. Not surprisingly, it failed to make it out of the subcommittee.
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Re: Virginia
« Reply #3055 on: May 18, 2018, 09:37:57 AM »

Long-distance trucks cause congestion on I-81, so let's make everyone pay for the required upgrades. Brilliant.

Stupid four-wheelers, pickups pulling campers, and short-distance trucks contribute quite a bit to congestion, too. Flatlanders who don't understand hills are a problem, as are people who can't maintain a steady speed even with cruise control. There are those who don't believe you can occasionally exceed the speed limit by a few miles an hour for a short stretch and take forever to pass a car with a 1 MPH speed differential (blocking a whole line of traffic in the left lane behind them). I-81 is the most schizophrenic highway around. At one point you can be in the middle of a large slug of traffic and a few miles down the road (with only maybe a local exit in the stretch) you can be almost alone. You can have someone blow past you at 80 and a few miles down the road pass them doing 60.

If the Star Solutions plans had been a bit more reasonable in execution, we might have six lanes at least in several places where they are desperately needed, like from exit 118 to exit 150 (Christiansburg to Troutville) and around Harrisonburg and Winchester.

Bruce in Blacksburg
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Beltway

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Re: Virginia
« Reply #3056 on: May 18, 2018, 10:25:33 AM »

Stupid four-wheelers, pickups pulling campers, and short-distance trucks contribute quite a bit to congestion, too. Flatlanders who don't understand hills are a problem, as are people who can't maintain a steady speed even with cruise control. There are those who don't believe you can occasionally exceed the speed limit by a few miles an hour for a short stretch and take forever to pass a car with a 1 MPH speed differential (blocking a whole line of traffic in the left lane behind them). I-81 is the most schizophrenic highway around. At one point you can be in the middle of a large slug of traffic and a few miles down the road (with only maybe a local exit in the stretch) you can be almost alone. You can have someone blow past you at 80 and a few miles down the road pass them doing 60.

And huge differences by day.   Many weekdays Mon-Thurs the 4 lanes work well enough if not fine.  At least 20 weekends Fri-Sun per year, 6 lanes the whole length and 8 lanes in a few places would be required for free flowing traffic conditions.  (considering all day Friday part of the weekend for this analysis).

Christiansburg to Troutville and around Harrisonburg and Winchester, plus the I-81/I-77 overlap, are places that should have 8 lanes.

If the Star Solutions plans had been a bit more reasonable in execution, we might have six lanes at least in several places where they are desperately needed, like from exit 118 to exit 150 (Christiansburg to Troutville) and around Harrisonburg and Winchester.

The Star Solutions proposal for dual-divided roadways was in 2002.   Fluor Virginia Inc. in 2003 submitted a proposal to add two car-only lanes in the median of I-81 by 2011 and to pay for it entirely with tolls on cars and trucks on all lanes.

VDOT and FHWA conducted the Tier 1 Draft Environmental Impact Statement from 2003 to 2007, and it evaluated a range of alternatives besides those two.

VDOT's application to toll Interstate 81 under section 1216(b) of TEA-21 was approved by FHWA in 2003.
« Last Edit: May 18, 2018, 10:37:28 AM by Beltway »
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Re: Virginia
« Reply #3057 on: May 18, 2018, 01:20:04 PM »


And huge differences by day.   Many weekdays Mon-Thurs the 4 lanes work well enough if not fine.  At least 20 weekends Fri-Sun per year, 6 lanes the whole length and 8 lanes in a few places would be required for free flowing traffic conditions.  (considering all day Friday part of the weekend for this analysis).

Christiansburg to Troutville and around Harrisonburg and Winchester, plus the I-81/I-77 overlap, are places that should have 8 lanes.

There are several known days when I-81 should be avoided if at all possible -- start and end of Thanksgiving break for Virginia Tech and Radford, Commencement weekend for those schools, and close to move-in weekend for Virginia Tech. JMU probably adds to traffic at that end of the valley, but I've not experienced that.

The I-81/-77 overlap is already 6 lanes -- other than during some heavy traffic periods this seems to be adequate (at least in the times I've passed through there, at various dates and times).

Although it may seem counter-intuitive, adding a third lane northbound down Christiansburg Mountain could alleviate some of the problems that arise when someone wrecks in that stretch. Depending on how bad the wreck, traffic can be tied up for some time, resulting in a long back-up and even more time before that clear out. A third lane could provide enough room to at least open one lane or the shoulder to allow traffic to pass.

Bruce in Blacksburg
 
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Beltway

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Re: Virginia
« Reply #3058 on: May 18, 2018, 02:45:05 PM »

Although it may seem counter-intuitive, adding a third lane northbound down Christiansburg Mountain could alleviate some of the problems that arise when someone wrecks in that stretch. Depending on how bad the wreck, traffic can be tied up for some time, resulting in a long back-up and even more time before that clear out. A third lane could provide enough room to at least open one lane or the shoulder to allow traffic to pass.
Bruce in Blacksburg

The recent widening projects have provided 3 lanes southbound from VA-603 Ironto Exit 128 to a mile south of US-460 Christiansburg Exit 118.

That has been a considerable help but as you say it is needed northbound as well.  Christiansburg to Troutville probably needs 6 lanes today and on weekdays and not just weekends.
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Re: Virginia
« Reply #3059 on: May 18, 2018, 06:06:25 PM »

Here is something else that will impact a section of I-81 (and I-77 for those who miss the memo) this summer, thanks to West Virginia DOT:

Quote
VDOT offers technology tools and suggested detours ahead of West Virginia Interstate 77 paving

BRISTOL— Using technology provided by the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) and following a suggested detour instead of your GPS may save you time this summer on Interstate 77 northbound in Virginia.

An extensive paving project begins Thursday, May 17 in West Virginia on I-77 north and southbound near the Virginia border. A northbound lane closure will be in place during the project, as well as the rerouting of trucks off I-77 at exit 1, through the Town of Bluefield, and back on I-77 at exit 9 in Princeton.

Paving in West Virginia may cause traffic backups into East River Mountain Tunnel.

“Safety concerns prohibit VDOT from letting stopped traffic build up inside the tunnel,” said VDOT Bristol Traffic Engineer Brian Holt, P.E. “When traffic builds up, our tunnel staff will stop traffic outside of the tunnel entrance until the back-ups clear.”

With the anticipation of frequent traffic stops comes the inevitable possibility of major traffic delays northbound. Weekend traffic, especially during the summer months, has the potential to back up significantly.

“If motorists can alter their trips so that you are traveling Monday through Thursday mornings or early afternoons, delays could be lessened,” Holt said.

Motorists can also download VDOT’s 511 app (iPhone or Android) to monitor road conditions. The system uses traffic speeds (green – moving without issues, yellow – slowed, red – moving very slow, and black – stopped) to give motorists information about potential delays. Additionally, there are multiple cameras along the I-77 corridor to allow motorists to view traffic in real time.

There is also an opportunity to detour to avoid potential delays, especially for truck traffic.

VDOT suggests trucks avoid I-77 and access Route 460 directly:

From North Carolina on I-77 north and from points north of Roanoke on I-81: travel I-81 to Exit 118 at Christiansburg to access Route 460 north to West Virginia Exit 9 in Princeton.

From Tennessee on I-81: take I-81 north to Exit 13 in Abingdon to access Route 11 north, to Route 19 north at Claypool Hill, following Route 19/460 to Bluefield/Princeton.   
“A route we ask trucks to absolutely avoid is Route 52, this route is extremely curvy and cannot accommodate tractor-trailers,” Holt said. “Cars can detour using this route, but the route cannot accommodate trucks.”

Beginning the weekend of May 18 and every weekend for the life of the project (Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays from 10 a.m. until 8 p.m.), VDOT will have Safety Service Patrol assisting motorists from mile marker 50 near Big Walker Mountain Tunnel to mile marker 66 at East River Mountain Tunnel. (Additional information regarding VDOT's Safety Service Patrol and the services they provide: http://www.virginiadot.org/travel/safetypatrol.asp)

VDOT’s 24-hour Customer Service Center is available at 1-800-FOR-ROAD (1-800-367-7623) to address motorists’ questions. Follow @VaDOTBristol for traffic updates.

For information regarding WVDOT’s paving project, visit www.wv511.org or download the WV511 Drive Safe app.

See http://www.vdot.virginia.gov/newsroom/bristol/2018/vdot_offers_technology_tools128700.asp
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hbelkins

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Re: Virginia
« Reply #3060 on: May 18, 2018, 06:51:52 PM »

Ugh. I'll have to remember to stay away from the Bluefield/Princeton area this summer.

I wouldn't go all the way to Christiansburg to double back on 460, however. I'd take VA 100 to Pearisburg to access 460. Most of it is four lanes and I don't remember seeing any truck prohibitions on that route.
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Re: Virginia
« Reply #3061 on: May 19, 2018, 07:44:51 AM »

Ugh. I'll have to remember to stay away from the Bluefield/Princeton area this summer.

I wouldn't go all the way to Christiansburg to double back on 460, however. I'd take VA 100 to Pearisburg to access 460. Most of it is four lanes and I don't remember seeing any truck prohibitions on that route.

There is even a runaway truck ramp on VA 100 NB as it descends towards the two-lane narrow portion.


VA 100 was one of the first roads I clinched when I finally got a car I could take to Virginia Tech.  I was always intrigued by this route for some reason.
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ARMOURERERIC

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Re: Virginia
« Reply #3062 on: May 19, 2018, 09:42:07 AM »

I will have to go NB 77 through there Saturday of July 4 weekend for a family medical situation in Pittsburgh.  Hopefully, since it will be around 9 PM, I may be lucky.
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Re: Virginia
« Reply #3063 on: May 21, 2018, 10:35:05 AM »

I will have to go NB 77 through there Saturday of July 4 weekend for a family medical situation in Pittsburgh.  Hopefully, since it will be around 9 PM, I may be lucky.

Where at in the 'Burgh?

Unless they suspend work for the holiday (but if the lane is closed that may not make a difference) there could still be a back-up just about clearing up -- or it could be smooth sailing because many got the word and used the long I-81/US 460 detour (looks like that could be fun times for us here in the New River Valley). If 511 (app, twitter, web site) shows congestion, then VA 100 is a good and shorter alternative. Get off I-77 at I-81 and head north to Dublin and exit 98. VA 100 north is a mostly four-lane road that takes you to Pearisburg and a connection with U.S. 460 to get you on over to Princeton and back on the Turnpike. There is a two-lane section in the middle and you go right through downtown Pearisburg (which are possibly reasons why VDOT didn't recommend that route over 460) but it isn't a bad road in a car.

Bruce in Blacksburg (but a native of the 'Burgh)
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Re: Virginia
« Reply #3064 on: May 21, 2018, 06:48:26 PM »

The HRBT expansion conversation has been moved to the thread that had been previously used for Hampton Roads Toll Crossings and Toll Roads.  -Mark

https://www.aaroads.com/forum/index.php?topic=11915.msg2328933#msg2328933
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hbelkins

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Re: Virginia
« Reply #3065 on: May 21, 2018, 09:05:37 PM »

I wonder how crowded US 52/VA 598/WV 598 will be. That mountain crossing isn't especially treacherous for a passenger vehicle, especially ascending the Virginia side. There are several options available where a northbound motorist on I-77 could bail onto US 52, depending on traffic. I'm not sure how cell service would be, but if it's decent, Waze would be your friend in telling you whether you should exit at Bland or beyond.
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Re: Virginia
« Reply #3066 on: May 21, 2018, 09:19:44 PM »

I wonder how crowded US 52/VA 598/WV 598 will be. That mountain crossing isn't especially treacherous for a passenger vehicle, especially ascending the Virginia side. There are several options available where a northbound motorist on I-77 could bail onto US 52, depending on traffic. I'm not sure how cell service would be, but if it's decent, Waze would be your friend in telling you whether you should exit at Bland or beyond.

No news release on the VDOT website yet.  The article isn't all that clear about what is planned.  I-77 there has an asphalt pavement, and it shouldn't take very many days to mill the pavement and then place two courses of asphalt pavement.

If they were going to repave the roadway in the tunnel, that would be a different matter that could take considerable time; but it doesn't look that is the plan.
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Re: Virginia
« Reply #3067 on: May 21, 2018, 11:51:14 PM »

I wonder how crowded US 52/VA 598/WV 598 will be. That mountain crossing isn't especially treacherous for a passenger vehicle, especially ascending the Virginia side. There are several options available where a northbound motorist on I-77 could bail onto US 52, depending on traffic. I'm not sure how cell service would be, but if it's decent, Waze would be your friend in telling you whether you should exit at Bland or beyond.
Now I know 598 exists as a primary route in both states. Where did that number come from?

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Re: Virginia
« Reply #3068 on: May 22, 2018, 06:12:26 AM »

I wonder how crowded US 52/VA 598/WV 598 will be. That mountain crossing isn't especially treacherous for a passenger vehicle, especially ascending the Virginia side. There are several options available where a northbound motorist on I-77 could bail onto US 52, depending on traffic. I'm not sure how cell service would be, but if it's decent, Waze would be your friend in telling you whether you should exit at Bland or beyond.
Now I know 598 exists as a primary route in both states. Where did that number come from?

I have never found anything speaking to why 598 was chosen.  IMO US 52 should have been put on I-77 at Bland CH and the old route including 598 could've been part of VA 98.

599 was used at least 10 different times (1960-67) to describe primary route projects that had not been assigned their ultimate designations.
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Re: Virginia
« Reply #3069 on: May 22, 2018, 06:22:37 AM »

I wonder how crowded US 52/VA 598/WV 598 will be. That mountain crossing isn't especially treacherous for a passenger vehicle, especially ascending the Virginia side. There are several options available where a northbound motorist on I-77 could bail onto US 52, depending on traffic. I'm not sure how cell service would be, but if it's decent, Waze would be your friend in telling you whether you should exit at Bland or beyond.
Now I know 598 exists as a primary route in both states. Where did that number come from?
I have never found anything speaking to why 598 was chosen.  IMO US 52 should have been put on I-77 at Bland CH and the old route including 598 could've been part of VA 98.
599 was used at least 10 different times (1960-67) to describe primary route projects that had not been assigned their ultimate designations.

I wonder if 595 will be used again.
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Re: Virginia
« Reply #3070 on: May 22, 2018, 08:52:20 AM »

I wonder how crowded US 52/VA 598/WV 598 will be. That mountain crossing isn't especially treacherous for a passenger vehicle, especially ascending the Virginia side. There are several options available where a northbound motorist on I-77 could bail onto US 52, depending on traffic. I'm not sure how cell service would be, but if it's decent, Waze would be your friend in telling you whether you should exit at Bland or beyond.

No news release on the VDOT website yet.  The article isn't all that clear about what is planned.  I-77 there has an asphalt pavement, and it shouldn't take very many days to mill the pavement and then place two courses of asphalt pavement.

If they were going to repave the roadway in the tunnel, that would be a different matter that could take considerable time; but it doesn't look that is the plan.

 :confused:  The press release I posted was from the Bristol district of VDOT, talking about upcoming problems that a West Virginia project will cause. WVDOT is doing major paving work on I-77 just north of the state line with one northbound lane closed. VDOT is being proactive and warning people that this will cause backups and their folks on the scene will not allow the backups to go through the tunnel. WVDOT doesn't have anything on its website about the project.
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Re: Virginia
« Reply #3071 on: May 22, 2018, 10:45:07 AM »

No news release on the VDOT website yet.  The article isn't all that clear about what is planned.  I-77 there has an asphalt pavement, and it shouldn't take very many days to mill the pavement and then place two courses of asphalt pavement.
If they were going to repave the roadway in the tunnel, that would be a different matter that could take considerable time; but it doesn't look that is the plan.
:confused:  The press release I posted was from the Bristol district of VDOT, talking about upcoming problems that a West Virginia project will cause. WVDOT is doing major paving work on I-77 just north of the state line with one northbound lane closed. VDOT is being proactive and warning people that this will cause backups and their folks on the scene will not allow the backups to go through the tunnel. WVDOT doesn't have anything on its website about the project.

OK, I looked there before but must have missed it.

"Beginning the weekend of May 18 and every weekend for the life of the project (Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays from 10 a.m. until 8 p.m.),"

No estimate on how many weekends, but that implies many.  I am trying to recall the pavement type north of the tunnel, sattelite views show asphalt; was it originally concrete that was later overlaid with asphalt?  If so the rehab and repave would be a lot more complex and time consuming than if it is full depth asphalt.
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Re: Virginia
« Reply #3072 on: May 22, 2018, 12:07:44 PM »

The project is in West Virginia and the pavement there is currently asphalt.

2017 WV route-clinching trip Day 4 - 266 by H.B. Elkins, on Flickr

2017 WV route-clinching trip Day 4 - 263 by H.B. Elkins, on Flickr

2017 WV route-clinching trip Day 4 - 264 by H.B. Elkins, on Flickr

2017 WV route-clinching trip Day 4 - 270 by H.B. Elkins, on Flickr

Photos taken last summer.

Presumably, the truck ban is due to the steep nature of the grade.
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Re: Virginia
« Reply #3073 on: May 22, 2018, 03:51:26 PM »

The project is in West Virginia and the pavement there is currently asphalt.

But if was originally concrete and was overlaid with asphalt, that most likely means that concrete pavement repairs need to be done as well before the new asphalt overlay.  IOW many weekends of work instead of just one or two.

The last two photos appear to show concrete pavement joints shadowing thru the asphalt surface.
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Jmiles32

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Re: Virginia
« Reply #3074 on: May 25, 2018, 09:04:20 PM »

https://www.insidenova.com/news/transportation/prince_william/i--bottleneck-anderson-pushes-plan-to-add-shoulder-lane/article_9be6140e-6025-11e8-8e99-7393d3c8d09c.html
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Traffic backs up virtually every day on Interstate 95 southbound where it crosses the Occoquan River entering Prince William County because five lanes are decreased to three.

Prince William Supervisor Ruth Anderson, R-Occoquan, has proposed a solution: Build a reinforced shoulder lane along I-95 south from the Route 123 interchange at Occoquan to the Prince William Parkway. This will keep four lanes available
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Anderson compares the proposed shoulder lane to those on Interstate 66 that open at certain times, although she plans for this lane to be open all the time. She hopes this will alleviate what the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments considers one of the worst bottlenecks in the region
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The project intends to address lingering issues from construction in 2011, which widened I-95 from three to four lanes in both directions between Springfield and the Occoquan River. Drivers were left with a poorly integrated merge lane when traveling south at the interchange with state Route 123. Anderson called the worsening bottleneck an “embarrassment” and said it negatively affects economic opportunity.
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n 2016, Anderson proposed expanding I-95 in both directions between the Occoquan River and the Prince William Parkway to relieve the bottleneck. That proposal was rejected on the grounds that it lacked vision and had an unclear cost, and that the added lanes would deter drivers from using the express lanes. The state Commonwealth Transportation Board feared that the added lane would create a compensation event, which could be a breach of contract with Transurban. The contract that was signed for the express lanes said we couldn’t add capacity to I-95, because they wanted people to use the express lanes,” Anderson said, adding that the shoulder lane is a way to get around that concern.

Overall an interesting idea that I support if indeed no compensation event is required. However, I'm not sure how a "shoulder lane" can still be a shoulder if it's used as a travel lane 24/7. Eliminating the northbound VA-123 to Southbound I-95 loop ramp would help as well IMO.
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