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Author Topic: New crossings of the Potomac River between Md. and Va.?  (Read 66777 times)

cpzilliacus

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Re: New crossings of the Potomac River between Md. and Va.?
« Reply #75 on: September 19, 2012, 08:32:36 AM »

Leesburg Today: Board Doesn’t Back Potomac River Bridge Study

Edit: Made it clear that the above link was from Leesburg Today.
« Last Edit: September 19, 2012, 02:29:26 PM by cpzilliacus »
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cpzilliacus

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cpzilliacus

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Re: New crossings of the Potomac River between Md. and Va.?
« Reply #77 on: September 20, 2012, 09:10:31 AM »

TOLLROADSnews: Northern extension of Beltway Express Lanes discussed, Maryland study of Tysons/I-270 XLs

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2012-09-19: With the Capital Beltway's toll express lanes due to open by December there will be twelve traffic lanes (2x4 free lanes and 2x2 toll lanes) between northern Virginia's Springfield Interchange at I-95 and just beyond the Dulles Toll/Access Road VA267 near Tysons Corner - 14 miles. From there for three miles north to the Potomac River it's back to eight (2x4) lanes.

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Reasonably enough people are asking about the big lane drop just north of Tysons Corner. How will 12 go into 8 lanes, or more precisely six northbound lanes go into four. The American Legion bridge across the white water section of the Potomac into Maryland at Cabin John has ten (2x5) lanes but the fifth lane each direction is  dedicated to travel on and off the George Washington Parkway - Marylanders major route to Washington DC, CIA HQ and the Pentagon.

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Then north of the bridge there's another four miles of the Beltway in Maryland with over 200k/day up to the I-270/Beltway split.

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Berliner suggested as an interim measure shoulder lanes should be used to provide extra highway capacity, perhaps for buses and HOVs.

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A problem: the American Legion Bridge itself has no shoulder. The travel lane edges are hard up against the bridge curb and concrete median.

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The Beltway in this stretch is eminently widenable. Few buildings are close to it.

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It's a tony area of large houses on large lots in a treed setting. Of course that doesn't mean there won't be NIMBY-type local opposition.
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cpzilliacus

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Re: New crossings of the Potomac River between Md. and Va.?
« Reply #78 on: September 20, 2012, 10:38:13 AM »

WTOP Radio: Should a tunnel connect Loudoun and Montgomery cos.?

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For decades, there has been talk of a second Potomac River crossing. But what about a tunnel that would connect Va. 28 in Loudoun County with Interstate 270 in Montgomery County?

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Virginia Delegate Randy Minchew, a Republican who represents part of Loudoun County, has floated the idea. He requested the state study the idea when he asked the state to study a bridge across the river.
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Doctor Whom

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Re: New crossings of the Potomac River between Md. and Va.?
« Reply #79 on: September 24, 2012, 01:24:51 PM »

TOLLROADSnews: Northern extension of Beltway Express Lanes discussed, Maryland study of Tysons/I-270 XLs

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It's a tony area of large houses on large lots in a treed setting. Of course that doesn't mean there won't be NIMBY-type local opposition.
We're talking about Montgomery County.  NIMBY-type opposition is a given.
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cpzilliacus

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Re: New crossings of the Potomac River between Md. and Va.?
« Reply #80 on: November 23, 2012, 09:21:36 PM »

Bacon's Rebellion: VDOT to Study Potomac Crossings

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Three days ago the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) issued an innocuous press release announcing that it would sponsor and fund a study of future travel demand across the Potomac River. Specifically, the study will focus on cross-river traffic and demand between the Route 15 crossing north of Leesburg to the Route 301 crossing some 60 miles to the southeast.
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cpzilliacus

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Re: New crossings of the Potomac River between Md. and Va.?
« Reply #81 on: December 05, 2012, 12:04:05 PM »

TOLLROADSnews: Virginia DOT study of Potomac River crossings, Maryland not interested for now

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Virginia DOT is doing forecasts of future pressure on Potomac River crossings but Maryland on the other side of the river isn't cooperating - so far. The Virginia study announced last month is described by VDOT as aimed to "develop a common set of data from which Virginia, D.C. and Maryland can discuss approaches to ease congestion and increase multi-modal mobility among the three jurisdictions."

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VDOT's study will look at traffic at crossings between Point of Rocks MD some 38 miles upstream of the center of Washington DC and the US301 Nice Bridge 36 miles south of Washington DC. By our count there are nine bridges carrying 54 lanes of traffic in total.

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Area transport planners see the highest priority as a new crossing  to link the Intercounty Connector tollroad MD200 at I-270 in Gaitherburg MD to VA28 Sully Road in Sterling VA.  There's a missing 13 mile link in an expressway standard route from I-95 west around the northern and western portions of the Washington DC metro area.

It would directly link the area's most populous counties - Montgomery County MD and Fairfax County VA.

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One local official who asks not to be named says the "environmentalist" label of the groups opposing transport improvements here is "largely bogus" adding: "They are bunch of very wealthy old-money families on inherited estates who use the 'green' mantras to keep the riff-raff out." One of their favorite lobby organizations is called the Piedmont Environmental Council. He says they also use the mantras of so-called 'smart growth' to manipulate land use zonings to keep minorities confined to the District of Columbia.

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Forcing trucks and cars to travel circuitous routes and getting them stuck in congestion is clearly bad for the environment as well as reducing redundant routes for emergencies, and an ongoing liability to the economy of the area, he notes.
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BrianP

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Re: New crossings of the Potomac River between Md. and Va.?
« Reply #82 on: December 05, 2012, 06:51:22 PM »

Maryland isn't interested because there is nowhere to put a new highway to connect to I-270.  The furthest place south along I-270 that I can see it happening is around Clarksburg.  It would have to pass on the west side of Little Seneca Lake.  And if that's the case then I'm not sure it's worth it.  It's missing one important thing that the ICC had which is a right of way.  A new metro crossing connecting the red line to the new silver line could happen since that could be underground. 

The likeliest scenario roadwise I think is widening the beltway to I-270 and widening the I-270 spur. 
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cpzilliacus

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Re: New crossings of the Potomac River between Md. and Va.?
« Reply #83 on: December 05, 2012, 08:45:08 PM »

Maryland isn't interested because there is nowhere to put a new highway to connect to I-270.  The furthest place south along I-270 that I can see it happening is around Clarksburg.  It would have to pass on the west side of Little Seneca Lake.  And if that's the case then I'm not sure it's worth it.  It's missing one important thing that the ICC had which is a right of way.
 

The Outer Beltway did have land in reservation up to the 1970's.  But thanks to elected officials like the late Idamae Garrott, we don't any longer.

A new metro crossing connecting the red line to the new silver line could happen since that could be underground. 

The land use does not support Metro - and, by the way, there's no reason that a highway cannot be undergrounded, though it is much more expensive than on the surface.

The likeliest scenario roadwise I think is widening the beltway to I-270 and widening the I-270 spur. 

That would work as an extension of the HOV/Toll lanes from Virginia.
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froggie

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Re: New crossings of the Potomac River between Md. and Va.?
« Reply #84 on: December 08, 2012, 01:17:52 PM »

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The Outer Beltway did have land in reservation up to the 1970's.  But thanks to elected officials like the late Idamae Garrott, we don't any longer.

As I understand it, the reservation land was all east of I-270 because there was uncertainty on Virginia's part on where to put the river crossing, documented quite well in the 1969 Northern Virginia Major Thoroughfare Plan.

But Brian's right.  There just isn't any good place to place a new crossing where it'd do the most good.  Between suburban residential development on both sides of the river (especially in North Potomac) and the parks along/adjacent to the river, there is no way anymore to directly connect the ICC/I-370 with either 28 or Fairfax County Pkwy.  And even if it were supported, it would be such a massively expensive endeavor that the real-estate costs alone makes it cost-prohibitive.

If you include the Great Falls area downstream and facilities on the Virginia side upstream, the physical reality prevents any new crossing between the Beltway and about Leesburg.  Both the political and fiscal realities are such that the best we can hope for is improvements to the existing American Legion and Point of Rocks Bridge crossings.

I agree that the land use does not support Metro. But there's enough latent demand plus intervening smaller nodes to where an LRT extension of the planned Purple Line from Bethesda to Tyson's becomes feasible.
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cpzilliacus

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Re: New crossings of the Potomac River between Md. and Va.?
« Reply #85 on: December 09, 2012, 12:30:58 PM »

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The Outer Beltway did have land in reservation up to the 1970's.  But thanks to elected officials like the late Idamae Garrott, we don't any longer.

As I understand it, the reservation land was all east of I-270 because there was uncertainty on Virginia's part on where to put the river crossing, documented quite well in the 1969 Northern Virginia Major Thoroughfare Plan.

At more than a few meetings that led up to the never-completed 1998 InterCounty Connector Draft Environmental Impact Statement, the late state Sen. Idamae Garrott (D-19) proudly held forth about her efforts (back then, as a member of the Montgomery  County  Council) how she and her anti-highway and anti-mobility colleagues on that council would journey to meetings of the Loudoun and Fairfax County  Boards of Supervisors and lobby them to remove any mention of new crossings of the Potomac River between the I-495 American Legion Bridge (known as the Cabin John Bridge back then) and White's Ferry.  The implicit sales pitch she made then was that those same tactics would be successful in stopping the  InterCounty Connector from ever being built (beyond the short I-370 segment, which she also opposed).  She went to her grave in 1999 thinking she had won the battle of the ICC.

But Brian's right.  There just isn't any good place to place a new crossing where it'd do the most good.  Between suburban residential development on both sides of the river (especially in North Potomac) and the parks along/adjacent to the river, there is no way anymore to directly connect the ICC/I-370 with either 28 or Fairfax County Pkwy.  And even if it were supported, it would be such a massively expensive endeavor that the real-estate costs alone makes it cost-prohibitive.

The subject has not been studied (on  the Maryland side) since the early 1970's, when Garrott and her allies got away with removing the Rockville Facility and new crossings of the Potomac River from the Master Plan of Highways.  Much of the land is not developed, and claims that it will "harm" the Montgomery County Agricultural Preserve are just that - claims. I-270 (completed and opened to traffic in the late 1950's as the U.S. 240 Washington National Pike freeway) has crossed the Agricultural Preserve since it was created by the Montgomery County Council with little public debate in the 1970's).

If you include the Great Falls area downstream and facilities on the Virginia side upstream, the physical reality prevents any new crossing between the Beltway and about Leesburg.  Both the political and fiscal realities are such that the best we can hope for is improvements to the existing American Legion and Point of Rocks Bridge crossings.

Great Falls is a park on both  sides (as is the entire C&O Canal on the Maryland side from Cumberland to Georgetown). But the American Legion Bridge has not adversely  affected the C&O Canal and its towpath.

I agree that the land use does not support Metro. But there's enough latent demand plus intervening smaller nodes to where an LRT extension of the planned Purple Line from Bethesda to Tyson's becomes feasible.

I disagree, for the following reasons.

(1) You think there's well-funded NIMBYist opposition to new river crossings? I suggest you consider communities west of Md. 355 (Wisconsin Avenue) and all along Md. 190 (River Road).  They are going to oppose any rail transit project that runs near their homes.

(2) The demand for travel is not from Bethesda to Tysons Corner.  The Metrobus Route 14 service that was 100% funded by Maryland (thanks to then-Gov. Parris Glendening) had no patronage at all, and was discontinued shortly after he left office for that reason.  People wanting to get from Maryland to jobs along the Va. 267 corridor are not coming  from downtown Bethesda.

(3) A lot of the heavy traffic on the Beltway between Va. 267 and I-270Y in the afternoons is due to Dulles Airport, which is an afternoon peaking airport because of all of the international traffic first arriving from Europe and then  departing a little later in the evenings.

(4) If Montgomery County is going to have any chance of attracting more and new private sector jobs, it needs to upgrade its ground access to Dulles Airport.  Managers of private-sector firms that make location decisions are just not that interested in being near rail transit stops, no matter how fervently planners and the elected officials that oversee them would like to believe that. In spite of Montgomery County's claim of being committed to Life Sciences, the American Type Tissue Collection moved from Rockville to Prince William County just outside of Manassas (moving them significantly closer to Dulles), and the Howard Hughes Medical Institute (long headquartered in the Chevy Chase area of Montgomery County) did not even consider Montgomery County when they established the Janelia Farm Research Campus in Ashburn, Loudoun County, overlooking the Potomac River (and Montgomery County's Agricultural Preserve) and a short, easy drive to Dulles).

(5) Finally, you are making an assumption that has been going on in the metropolitan Washington area since the 1960's, that rail transit can replace limited access freeway-class roads.  I believe that is wishful thinking.  The biggest beneficiary of such have been the counties of Northern Virginia, especially Fairfax and Loudoun Counties, but also Arlington County (home to National Airport and the Pentagon) and Prince William County.
« Last Edit: December 09, 2012, 12:36:55 PM by cpzilliacus »
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cpzilliacus

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Re: New crossings of the Potomac River between Md. and Va.?
« Reply #86 on: December 24, 2012, 10:01:01 AM »

Transportation Nation (includes WAMU Radio) reports on VDOT's efforts to build new highway capacity on the western side of the region:

Northern Virginia Planning Big ‘Outer Beltway’ Road Expansion (Part 1)

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In a massive undertaking that would transform the face of Northern Virginia, state transportation planners are unveiling plans to create a “north-south corridor of statewide significance.” Some are calling it a potential beginning of an “outer Beltway,” others say it’s essential infrastructure for the region’s economy. Critics call it a big waste of money, unnecessary and poorly planned.

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The proposal would add a path between I-95 in Prince William County to Route 7 in Loudoun County, arcing west of Dulles International Airport and connecting to I-66, Rt. 50, and the Dulles Greenway.

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Neither the exact route of a new highway, the cost, nor the number of lanes has been decided, but the agency’s objective is coming into focus: to dramatically expand Northern Virginia’s road capacity to benefit commerce, namely the growth of Dulles Airport into the east coast’s largest freight hub.

Northern Virginia Road Expansion: Betting on Dulles Airport as Freight Hub (Part 2)

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To elected officials and Virginia transportation planners, Dulles International Airport is an untapped well of economic growth. However, maximizing its potential will necessitate major improvements of the surrounding road network.  That includes completion of a “north-south” corridor which is now in the conceptual stages.

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On Dec. 12 the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority unveiled its intentions to pursue development of airport properties, including 400 acres on Dulles’ western side and sixteen acres around the future Rt. 606 stop of the Silver Line. The goal is to enhance the airport’s industrial capacity as a freight hub.

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“We are the only airport on the east coast with that kind of land available to us for development purposes. Cargo is down at Dulles right now, but it is down because of the economic uncertainty in Europe,” said Loudoun County Supervisor Ralph Buona (R-Ashburn). “The problem we have today is there is no easy access from the airport. The only access we have today is Rt. 28 and 28 is very limited.”

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At their monthly board meeting, MWAA officials emphasized the importance of both expanding the Dulles Loop – Routes 606, 28, and 50 – and eventually connecting it to the north-south corridor.  Studies to expand all three roadways are underway.
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cpzilliacus

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Re: New crossings of the Potomac River between Md. and Va.?
« Reply #87 on: December 28, 2012, 10:01:07 AM »

Washington Post's State of NoVa blog: Plans for Loudoun-Prince William highway move forward; crossing to Md. under discussion

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The major North-South highway that is being planned for Loudoun and Prince William counties got a public rollout of sorts last week. “Open houses” were held at Stone Bridge High School in Ashburn and the Four Points Sheraton in Manassas. There were no formal presentations for this new “Northern Virginia North-South Corridor,” just a series of informational boards that showed roughly where the limited-access highway would go and why local and state officials think it’s needed.

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This is not just the previously discussed Tri-County Parkway between I-66 and Route 50. This is the whole enchilada: a 45-mile limited-access highway from Route 7 in Ashburn all the way to I-95 in Dumfries. And the discussion is now officially beginning about extending this road across the Potomac River into Maryland, which makes the warnings from environmental and smart-growth groups of an emerging “Outer Beltway” connecting with the Intercounty Connector and then I-95 in Maryland seem more plausible.
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bsmart

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Re: New crossings of the Potomac River between Md. and Va.?
« Reply #88 on: December 31, 2012, 05:01:29 PM »




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This is not just the previously discussed Tri-County Parkway between I-66 and Route 50. This is the whole enchilada: a 45-mile limited-access highway from Route 7 in Ashburn all the way to I-95 in Dumfries. And the discussion is now officially beginning about extending this road across the Potomac River into Maryland, which makes the warnings from environmental and smart-growth groups of an emerging “Outer Beltway” connecting with the Intercounty Connector and then I-95 in Maryland seem more plausible.

I wonder who he thinks the discussion is beginning with?  I cannot remember anytime when there has been interest in crossing the Potomac in that area from Maryland.  There is just too much political clout against it.
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Re: New crossings of the Potomac River between Md. and Va.?
« Reply #89 on: January 01, 2013, 06:26:37 PM »

stonefort:  Northern Virginia doesn't need more roads.  It needs better existing roads.  The problem isn't getting from Dumfries to Manassas or Dulles...the problem is getting from any of the three to the Beltway or inside the Beltway.
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cpzilliacus

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Re: New crossings of the Potomac River between Md. and Va.?
« Reply #90 on: January 01, 2013, 07:29:10 PM »

stonefort:  Northern Virginia doesn't need more roads.  It needs better existing roads.  The problem isn't getting from Dumfries to Manassas or Dulles...the problem is getting from any of the three to the Beltway or inside the Beltway.


Eliminating at-grade signalized intersections on Va. 286, Va. 234, Va. 294 and (most of) Va. 28 would certainly help - a lot. 

I think there is room to get rid of most of them on most of thee above, excepting Va. 28 through Manassas and Manassas Park.
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hbelkins

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Re: New crossings of the Potomac River between Md. and Va.?
« Reply #91 on: January 04, 2013, 09:24:55 AM »

...and (most of) Va. 28...

And then turn it into I-366!
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Re: New crossings of the Potomac River between Md. and Va.?
« Reply #92 on: January 04, 2013, 12:54:56 PM »

And raise the speed limit to 85.
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cpzilliacus

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Re: New crossings of the Potomac River between Md. and Va.?
« Reply #93 on: March 03, 2013, 04:00:29 PM »

[This from Dr. Gridlock is (in part) related to severe Capital Beltway congestion crossing and near the American Legion Bridge]

Washington Post's Dr. Gridlock: Daunting commutes, streetcar plans, date spots

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A question during Monday’s online chat illustrated a common problem for couples in the D.C. region: “My husband and I are contemplating purchasing a home, and the best neighborhood we can come up with to meet our budget works well on every factor except his commute. He would be driving from a Silver Spring neighborhood near the Beltway to the Worldgate Centre in Herndon . . . but we’re trying to get a sense of how to make this workable and what . . . commute times might be.”

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The morning rush won’t be so bad, considering that it’s about 26 miles on the Capital Beltway and Dulles Toll Road. The trip home at rush hour is likely to be ghastly, especially on the Beltway’s inner loop from the American Legion Bridge through Bethesda, one of the region’s worst bottlenecks. I’d allow about an hour and 15 minutes for the morning trip, though that might go quicker, and two hours for the afternoon.
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cpzilliacus

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cpzilliacus

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Re: New crossings of the Potomac River between Md. and Va.?
« Reply #95 on: June 26, 2013, 03:50:22 AM »

WTOP Radio: Another bridge across Potomac River unlikely

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A new bridge across the Potomac River has been a commuter pipe dream for decades, but it may never happen.

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Another crossing between the American Legion Bridge and Point of Rocks over the Potomac River could alleviate the traffic-riddled Interstate 495 by taking traffic away from the Capital Beltway, but differences between Maryland and Virginia on how to handle the congestion may make that impossible.

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David Versel, a researcher at George Mason University, says traffic over the American Legion Bridge has increased 13 percent since 1990 and is forecasted to increase even more. While the bridge continues to see more drivers, local traffic between Fairfax County, Va., and Montgomery County, Md., has declined according to the study.
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Re: New crossings of the Potomac River between Md. and Va.?
« Reply #96 on: July 03, 2013, 02:56:24 PM »

Bacon's Rebellion: No Easy Answers for American Legion Bridge

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The last bridge built to span the Potomac River in the Washington region was the American Legion Memorial Bridge, part of the Capital Beltway, in 1962. The population of Montgomery and Fairfax counties, which the bridge connected, totaled about 600,000. In the intervening six decades, the combined populations now exceed 2.1 million, accounting for 36% of the region’s population and 44% of its personal income.
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Re: New crossings of the Potomac River between Md. and Va.?
« Reply #97 on: November 19, 2013, 01:46:36 PM »

Dr. Gridlock in the Washington Post: Learn more about plan to open Beltway shoulder

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The Virginia Department of Transportation has scheduled an information session Tuesday night on its plan to allow rush hour traffic on the left shoulder of the Capital Beltway’s inner loop south of the American Legion Bridge.

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The project would open the shoulder for a mile and a half north of where the 495 Express Lanes end. This plan is one of the reasons I think it’s meaningless to judge after one year whether the express lanes are a success. The Northern Virginia transportation network keeps evolving. The major changes will be the opening of the Metro Silver Line and the 95 Express Lanes. But the opening of the shoulder is another small piece of the jigsaw puzzle.
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cpzilliacus

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Re: New crossings of the Potomac River between Md. and Va.?
« Reply #98 on: June 03, 2015, 01:14:26 PM »

Dr. Gridlock in the Washington Post: Hey, Maryland. It’s your turn to ease congestion on the Capital Beltway.

Question from a reader:

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Can you please give us an update on the inner loop’s express lanes extension? It’s been over a year since the construction began. It looks like there is an end in sight, but I’ve not heard anything definitive.

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Also, what’s the chance that, by having the new merge right before the American Legion Bridge, the fees and traffic on the inner loop express lanes will increase? Won’t having a left-lane merge from the express lanes at the same place as a right-lane merge from the George Washington Parkway create a larger bottleneck, as well as a greater chance for accidents just before the bridge?

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I’m sorry to sound so cynical, but I believe that the only way to alleviate rush-hour traffic in that area of the Capital Beltway is to widen the bridge. Perhaps if the additional express lanes continued to the Interstate 270 split, traffic could significantly improve.

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That, as well as connecting Route 28 in Northern Virginia to Interstate 370 in Montgomery County, really need to be done as long-term solutions to ease congestion. (Although I don’t see that happening in the foreseeable future.)

Some of Dr. Gridlock's response (emphasis added):

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In recent years, the state government said it wanted to focus its transportation programs on preserving what we already have and on finding multimodal solutions to mobility problems. “Multimodal” means giving people more choices about how to get around, so they aren’t always stuck in their cars.

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This is an acknowledgment of the realities of financing transportation improvements in this era and also a more sophisticated way of thinking about how to move people.

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But Maryland has no serious program to accomplish those things on the west side of the Beltway.

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For years, the Maryland government has shown no interest in building a new Potomac River crossing to the west of the Beltway, because it would only worsen problems with suburban sprawl. At this point, the state’s stand is no more than an excuse for inaction.

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If there won’t be a new Potomac crossing for the foreseeable future, then something has to be done to upgrade the existing crossing, at the Legion Bridge and its connecting interstates through Bethesda.
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cpzilliacus

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Re: New crossings of the Potomac River between Md. and Va.?
« Reply #99 on: July 14, 2015, 12:01:30 PM »

Washington Post: See which Potomac River crossings need the most relief

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A Virginia Department of Transportation study recommends that the state work with Maryland to address traffic congestion on the American Legion Bridge, but its numbers also make a good case for relieving the Rosslyn tunnel transit jam.

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The VDOT study of the traffic on 11 Potomac River crossings, underway since 2013, will be presented to Virginia’s Commonwealth Transportation Board on Wednesday. The only recommendation is that high-occupancy toll lanes across the Legion Bridge to Interstate 270 be the top priority for addressing crowding on the western Potomac crossings: “With concurrence of the board, staff will begin outreach to Maryland to determine interest in examining options for extending HOT lanes to the 270 spur.”

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So far, the Maryland state government has shown no interest in a HOT lanes project involving the Legion Bridge. It was not part of the highway spending program outlined by Gov. Larry Hogan (R) in June.

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The VDOT staff noted that the study does not rule out the possibility of creating a new river crossing farther to the west at some point.
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