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Author Topic: Interstate 95 Maryland Express Lane Extenstion  (Read 1327 times)

jcn

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Interstate 95 Maryland Express Lane Extenstion
« on: September 30, 2018, 12:25:01 AM »

I feel like this deserves its own thread.  My one question is though, why just northbound?
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Re: Interstate 95 Maryland Express Lane Extenstion
« Reply #1 on: September 30, 2018, 06:12:26 PM »

Beats me. I think it would make more sense to make it reversible like the I-95 HOV lanes from Garrisonville to Springfield in northern Virginia.
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Re: Interstate 95 Maryland Express Lane Extenstion
« Reply #2 on: October 06, 2018, 07:20:40 PM »

Beats me. I think it would make more sense to make it reversible like the I-95 HOV lanes from Garrisonville to Springfield in northern Virginia.

A quad carriageway is far better in my opinion. MD drivers in the aggregate donít have a lot of experience with reversible roadways; the only reversible facility that many MD drivers encounter is the westbound span of the Bay Bridge. If I-95 were built with a reversible carriageway in the center, I would be very concerned about a short-term rash of crashes and accidents while drivers adjust.
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Re: Interstate 95 Maryland Express Lane Extenstion
« Reply #3 on: October 07, 2018, 05:31:57 PM »

Beats me. I think it would make more sense to make it reversible like the I-95 HOV lanes from Garrisonville to Springfield in northern Virginia.

No, no, no - A THOUSAND TIMES no!

The I-95 express lanes in Virginia would do much more good if there were separate non-reversible lanes. 

They are reversible only as a legacy of the lanes that are mostly on what is now signed as I-395 (formerly I-95 from the Capital Beltway into D.C.), which had and has a strongly directional flow of traffic north in the AM and south in the PM.  In the early days, those lanes came to an end just south of VA-644 in the Springfield area of Fairfax County.

In the 1990's, the reversible lanes were extended as far south as VA-234 near Dumfries in Prince William County (HOV-3 restricted during peak demand hours), then Transurban, the private concession holder, extended the lanes south to Garrisonville, currently south of VA-630).  The extended reversible lanes have worked well, but they are not much help with weekend or holiday traffic on I-95, when both sides of I-95 could use the added capacity.

The further away  from Arlington County, Virginia we get, the more the off-peak side could use the added capacity.  This is in part because of the BRAC process (Base Realignment and Closure Commission), which has significantly increased employment (and traffic) at both the U.S. Army's Fort Belvoir and the nearby Fort Belvoir North Area in Fairfax County.  Same story at Marine Corps Base Quantico in Prince William and Stafford Counties, which has experienced a lot of added employment because of BRAC.

Getting back to Maryland, the Defense Department facilities in Harford County (the former Edgewood Arsenal and Aberdeen Proving Ground) have also had a net gain of jobs because of BRAC. 
« Last Edit: October 12, 2018, 02:26:07 PM by cpzilliacus »
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Beltway

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Re: Interstate 95 Maryland Express Lane Extenstion
« Reply #4 on: October 07, 2018, 11:08:39 PM »

In the 1990's, the reversible lanes were extended as far south as VA-234 near Dumfries in Prince William County (HOV-3 restricted during peak demand hours), then Transurban, the private concession holder, extended the lanes south to Garrisonville, currently south of VA-630).  The extended reversible lanes have worked well, but they are not much help with weekend or holiday traffic on I-95, when both sides of I-95 could use the added capacity.

Need 4 general purpose lanes each way between I-295 MP 84 and VA-123 MP 160 (where there are at least 4 each way all the way to I-495).  Could even make the inner lane HOT with the tolls going to Transurban if there would be contractural problems with building more capacity.
« Last Edit: October 07, 2018, 11:11:49 PM by Beltway »
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Re: Interstate 95 Maryland Express Lane Extenstion
« Reply #5 on: October 09, 2018, 10:48:13 AM »

Beats me. I think it would make more sense to make it reversible like the I-95 HOV lanes from Garrisonville to Springfield in northern Virginia.

No, no, no - A THOUSAND TIMES no!

The I-95 express lanes in Virginia would do much more good if there were separate non-reversible lanes. 

They are reversible only as a legacy of the lanes that are mostly on what is now signed as I-395 (formerly I-95 from the Capital Beltway into D.C.), which had and has a strongly directional flow of traffic north in the AM and south in the PM.  In the early days, those lanes came to an end just south of VA-644 in the Springfield area of Fairfax County.

In the 1990's, the reversible lanes were extended as far south as VA-234 near Dumfries in Prince William County (HOV-3 restricted during peak demand hours), then Transurban, the private concession holder, extended the lanes south to Garrisonville, currently south of VA-630).  The extended reversible lanes have worked well, but they are not much help with weekend or holiday traffic on I-95, when both sides of I-95 could use the added capacity.

The further away  from Arlington County, Virginia we get, the more the off-peak side could use the added capacity.  This is in part because of the BRAC process (Base Realignment and Closure Commission), which has significantly increased employment (and traffic) at both the U.S. Army's Fort Belvoir and the nearby Fort Belvoir North Area in Fairfax County.  Same story at Marine Corps Base Quantico in Prince William and Stafford Counties, which has experienced a lot of added employment because of BRAC.

Getting back to Maryland, the Defense Department facilities in Harford County (theformer Edgewood Arsenal and Aberdeen Proving Ground) have also had a net gain of jobs because of BRAC.
Totally agree.  The reversible lanes on I-95 south of DC are ridiculously under utilized and poorly managed.  You see backups on the main carriageways and they do not open the reversibles up.  It is totally ridiculous and the billions should be spent to rectify the situation.
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Beltway

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Re: Interstate 95 Maryland Express Lane Extenstion
« Reply #6 on: October 09, 2018, 11:05:32 AM »

The reversible lanes on I-95 south of DC are ridiculously under utilized and poorly managed.  You see backups on the main carriageways and they do not open the reversibles up.  It is totally ridiculous and the billions should be spent to rectify the situation.

You obviously have no local knowledge of the area.  I have used the reversible roadway many times and they are open about 22 hours of the day (only closed when reversing the direction), and in any peak or near-peak period they are very well traveled. 

If built as 2 lanes each way they would have cost far more to build and they would be less utilized than currently, besides the reversible roadway has 3 lanes north of Dale City.

See my comment a few posts above about needing 4 general purpose lanes each way all the way to I-295.
« Last Edit: October 09, 2018, 11:12:06 AM by Beltway »
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jeffandnicole

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Re: Interstate 95 Maryland Express Lane Extenstion
« Reply #7 on: October 09, 2018, 12:21:32 PM »

Beats me. I think it would make more sense to make it reversible like the I-95 HOV lanes from Garrisonville to Springfield in northern Virginia.

No, no, no - A THOUSAND TIMES no!

The I-95 express lanes in Virginia would do much more good if there were separate non-reversible lanes. 

They are reversible only as a legacy of the lanes that are mostly on what is now signed as I-395 (formerly I-95 from the Capital Beltway into D.C.), which had and has a strongly directional flow of traffic north in the AM and south in the PM.  In the early days, those lanes came to an end just south of VA-644 in the Springfield area of Fairfax County.

In the 1990's, the reversible lanes were extended as far south as VA-234 near Dumfries in Prince William County (HOV-3 restricted during peak demand hours), then Transurban, the private concession holder, extended the lanes south to Garrisonville, currently south of VA-630).  The extended reversible lanes have worked well, but they are not much help with weekend or holiday traffic on I-95, when both sides of I-95 could use the added capacity.

The further away  from Arlington County, Virginia we get, the more the off-peak side could use the added capacity.  This is in part because of the BRAC process (Base Realignment and Closure Commission), which has significantly increased employment (and traffic) at both the U.S. Army's Fort Belvoir and the nearby Fort Belvoir North Area in Fairfax County.  Same story at Marine Corps Base Quantico in Prince William and Stafford Counties, which has experienced a lot of added employment because of BRAC.

Getting back to Maryland, the Defense Department facilities in Harford County (theformer Edgewood Arsenal and Aberdeen Proving Ground) have also had a net gain of jobs because of BRAC.
Totally agree.  The reversible lanes on I-95 south of DC are ridiculously under utilized and poorly managed.  You see backups on the main carriageways and they do not open the reversibles up.  It is totally ridiculous and the billions should be spent to rectify the situation.

They can't just 'open up' the reversibles.  If there's roadwork going on, or traffic is going in the opposite direction, they can't suddenly change it.

I do agree that they should've tried to build lanes in both directions.  Maybe they still can...maybe they can double/triple deck the roadway. Very pricey though.

Are they underutilized?  No...they're supposed to be free-flowing.  Maybe the variable rates are a little high sometimes, but otherwise they're doing their job.

The same complaints were said in the early days of EZ Pass.  People paying cash were complaining that there was no line in the EZ Pass lane.  They seemed numb to the fact that there was supposed to be no line in a lane you didn't need to stop in.  Plus, they wanted to encourage people to get an EZ Pass account.  Having jammed EZ Pass lanes wouldn't accomplish that.
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Rothman

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Re: Interstate 95 Maryland Express Lane Extenstion
« Reply #8 on: October 09, 2018, 12:54:54 PM »

Beats me. I think it would make more sense to make it reversible like the I-95 HOV lanes from Garrisonville to Springfield in northern Virginia.

No, no, no - A THOUSAND TIMES no!

The I-95 express lanes in Virginia would do much more good if there were separate non-reversible lanes. 

They are reversible only as a legacy of the lanes that are mostly on what is now signed as I-395 (formerly I-95 from the Capital Beltway into D.C.), which had and has a strongly directional flow of traffic north in the AM and south in the PM.  In the early days, those lanes came to an end just south of VA-644 in the Springfield area of Fairfax County.

In the 1990's, the reversible lanes were extended as far south as VA-234 near Dumfries in Prince William County (HOV-3 restricted during peak demand hours), then Transurban, the private concession holder, extended the lanes south to Garrisonville, currently south of VA-630).  The extended reversible lanes have worked well, but they are not much help with weekend or holiday traffic on I-95, when both sides of I-95 could use the added capacity.

The further away  from Arlington County, Virginia we get, the more the off-peak side could use the added capacity.  This is in part because of the BRAC process (Base Realignment and Closure Commission), which has significantly increased employment (and traffic) at both the U.S. Army's Fort Belvoir and the nearby Fort Belvoir North Area in Fairfax County.  Same story at Marine Corps Base Quantico in Prince William and Stafford Counties, which has experienced a lot of added employment because of BRAC.

Getting back to Maryland, the Defense Department facilities in Harford County (theformer Edgewood Arsenal and Aberdeen Proving Ground) have also had a net gain of jobs because of BRAC.
Totally agree.  The reversible lanes on I-95 south of DC are ridiculously under utilized and poorly managed.  You see backups on the main carriageways and they do not open the reversibles up.  It is totally ridiculous and the billions should be spent to rectify the situation.

They can't just 'open up' the reversibles.  If there's roadwork going on, or traffic is going in the opposite direction, they can't suddenly change it.

I do agree that they should've tried to build lanes in both directions.  Maybe they still can...maybe they can double/triple deck the roadway. Very pricey though.

Are they underutilized?  No...they're supposed to be free-flowing.  Maybe the variable rates are a little high sometimes, but otherwise they're doing their job.

The same complaints were said in the early days of EZ Pass.  People paying cash were complaining that there was no line in the EZ Pass lane.  They seemed numb to the fact that there was supposed to be no line in a lane you didn't need to stop in.  Plus, they wanted to encourage people to get an EZ Pass account.  Having jammed EZ Pass lanes wouldn't accomplish that.
Baloney.  What I observed, for one example, were pitiful northbound counts as I was headed southbound in a creeping mass.  The lanes were blatantly underutilized.  It wasn't a matter of them just being free flow -- they were obviously not operating in the proper direction.

The operational obstacle of not being able to react to differing flows is a key reason why they should be done away with and traditional carriageways built.

To say that the current situation is acceptable or operating as intended is simply unfounded.  I-95 south of DC is one of the most miserable drives in the country due to the congestion.  A big part of it is because of the decision to have those reversible lanes instead of true added capacity, NJTP-style.
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AlexandriaVA

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Re: Interstate 95 Maryland Express Lane Extenstion
« Reply #9 on: October 09, 2018, 02:30:37 PM »

You need a consistent switchover time, unless you're a fan of people driving into the control arms because they mistakenly thought the HOT lanes were open in their direction.

Listen...the HOT carriageway was built to move commuters from the Virginia suburbs into DC, and it's still doing a good job of that. Anything on top is fine, but don't lose the original focus of things.

Besides, investment in VRE, to turn it more into NJ Transit style rail, would serve reserve commuters better in any regards.

Couldn't care less about long-distance traffic. Take I-81 or drive at night for all I care.
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Re: Interstate 95 Maryland Express Lane Extenstion
« Reply #10 on: October 09, 2018, 02:35:15 PM »

There are two notable right-of-way chokepoints to the idea of having two-way express lanes in the I-95 median:  Newington (vicinity of the VA 286/Fairfax County Pkwy interchange), and Woodbridge (just south of VA 123).
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jeffandnicole

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Re: Interstate 95 Maryland Express Lane Extenstion
« Reply #11 on: October 09, 2018, 02:41:50 PM »

Baloney.  What I observed, for one example, were pitiful northbound counts as I was headed southbound in a creeping mass.  The lanes were blatantly underutilized.  It wasn't a matter of them just being free flow -- they were obviously not operating in the proper direction.

When?

And there could be a reason why.  Let's say an accident occurred, jamming traffic.  Can't do much about.  You didn't see the accident?  Because it was cleared before you got to the scene.
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Re: Interstate 95 Maryland Express Lane Extenstion
« Reply #12 on: October 09, 2018, 02:47:06 PM »

There are two notable right-of-way chokepoints to the idea of having two-way express lanes in the I-95 median:  Newington (vicinity of the VA 286/Fairfax County Pkwy interchange), and Woodbridge (just south of VA 123).

Single-ramp exits (e.g. Shirlington, Seminary Rd) would need to be doubled-up...bridge replacement all the way up and down...
« Last Edit: October 09, 2018, 02:49:15 PM by AlexandriaVA »
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Re: Interstate 95 Maryland Express Lane Extenstion
« Reply #13 on: October 09, 2018, 08:30:54 PM »


Baloney.  What I observed, for one example, were pitiful northbound counts as I was headed southbound in a creeping mass.  The lanes were blatantly underutilized.  It wasn't a matter of them just being free flow -- they were obviously not operating in the proper direction.

The operational obstacle of not being able to react to differing flows is a key reason why they should be done away with and traditional carriageways built.

To say that the current situation is acceptable or operating as intended is simply unfounded.  I-95 south of DC is one of the most miserable drives in the country due to the congestion.  A big part of it is because of the decision to have those reversible lanes instead of true added capacity, NJTP-style.

I have news for you.  The SB main lanes are jammed all over the place during all kinds of daytime hours during the week and on weekends, no matter which way the Express Lanes are pointing.  They do sometimes change the weekend configurations for special events but it is advertised days in advance.  In many cases, switching the direction on a shorter whim (which takes an hour) would just make the other direction become jammed.  DC metro traffic sucks.  After 20 years of commuting from Fredericksburg to Bethesda MD I feel confident in declaring that.

Yes, it would've been nice to have a set of lanes in each direction, but somebody would've needed to have thought of that in the 1960s when the original bus lanes were built which evolved to carpool lanes in 1973 which evolved to what we have today.  Back then the ROW issues would've been fairly easy to overcome, but back then the commuting traffic wasn't nearly as robust as it is now and IMO the reversible roadway was just the freeway version of the very common practice in that era to have surface streets with reversible lanes.

I thought a novel solution for VDOT could be to build the 4th lane each direction down to Fredericksburg but to avoid having to pay Transurban a penalty, only have it open when the Express Lanes are open the other direction.
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Re: Interstate 95 Maryland Express Lane Extenstion
« Reply #14 on: October 09, 2018, 08:48:56 PM »

Experience from reversible lanes in NJ: At the Lincoln Tunnel, there are times when both directions are congested. Both lanes of the center tube are reversible, so you could go 4/2, 3/3, or 2/4. If you go 4/2, one direction will be free flowing and the other will be stopped, and you will think "why not reverse the tube? or at least one lane?" Maybe it looks bad now, but if you went 2/4, it would look MUCH worse in the other direction. For that matter, 3/3 may be more equitable at this hour, but 4/2 may have made more sense an hour ago, or in another hour, and they're not going to constantly switch lanes all day long. You get maybe 3 switches a day.
So I'm sure the reversible lane operators in VA know what typical demands are, and they're not going to reverse the entire roadway just to clear SB traffic and then resume NB operation. They're going to take a medium-term (hours instead of minutes) approach and operate it based on the whole day's traffic. That's what traffic engineering is all about.
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Beltway

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Re: Interstate 95 Maryland Express Lane Extenstion
« Reply #15 on: October 09, 2018, 09:49:04 PM »

I thought a novel solution for VDOT could be to build the 4th lane each direction down to Fredericksburg but to avoid having to pay Transurban a penalty, only have it open when the Express Lanes are open the other direction.

As I suggested before, make it a HOT lane itself.  The dynamic tolls would probably be much lower than that of the reversible roadway.
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Re: Interstate 95 Maryland Express Lane Extenstion
« Reply #16 on: October 10, 2018, 09:17:05 AM »

I thought a novel solution for VDOT could be to build the 4th lane each direction down to Fredericksburg but to avoid having to pay Transurban a penalty, only have it open when the Express Lanes are open the other direction.

As I suggested before, make it a HOT lane itself.  The dynamic tolls would probably be much lower than that of the reversible roadway.

If both your ideas could avoid a potential compensation event, then this may represent the best hope in funding either one of them.

Quote
Transportation Secretary Aubrey Layne, who is taking a new role as finance secretary in the incoming administration of Gov.-elect Ralph Northam (D), said after the construction of the northbound bridge over the Rappahannock, the state will have $232 million left. The Commonwealth Transportation Board will need to decide how to spend the rest of the funds in the corridor, he said.
https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/dr-gridlock/wp/2018/01/10/gov-terry-mcauliffes-final-transportation-deal-10-more-miles-of-toll-lanes-on-interstate-95/?noredirect=on&utm_term=.cddbd8f7ebc4

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Beltway

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Re: Interstate 95 Maryland Express Lane Extenstion
« Reply #17 on: October 10, 2018, 05:37:55 PM »

As I suggested before, make it a HOT lane itself.  The dynamic tolls would probably be much lower than that of the reversible roadway.
If both your ideas could avoid a potential compensation event, then this may represent the best hope in funding either one of them.

VDOT could work a deal out with the private operator to give the tolls to them, or have a formula that would determine what percentage to give to each party, or perhaps the construction of the 4th lane itself could be P3.

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Re: Interstate 95 Maryland Express Lane Extenstion
« Reply #18 on: October 10, 2018, 09:01:21 PM »

I thought a novel solution for VDOT could be to build the 4th lane each direction down to Fredericksburg but to avoid having to pay Transurban a penalty, only have it open when the Express Lanes are open the other direction.


As I suggested before, make it a HOT lane itself.  The dynamic tolls would probably be much lower than that of the reversible roadway.


Building a 4th lane as a HOT lane would have some challenges - it would have to be a separated out lane to prevent people from weaving in and out of toll reader gantry areas.  So in doing that, it makes construction more complicated because whether the new lane is on the inside or the outside, being able to exit the lane to get off 95 would need flyovers (although if on the inside perhaps they could have slip ramps to connect to existing HOT lane ramps).  Unless the thought is that the 4th lane would only have limited exit capability and serve as an express lane for through traffic.

So my question would be if it were feasible to build out a 4th lane as a HOT lane that is separated in both directions of I-95, wouldn't it take about the same ROW solution in the difficult areas to build a parallel set of express lanes to result in 2-way express lanes?
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Re: Interstate 95 Maryland Express Lane Extenstion
« Reply #19 on: October 10, 2018, 09:18:10 PM »

Building a 4th lane as a HOT lane would have some challenges - it would have to be a separated out lane to prevent people from weaving in and out of toll reader gantry areas.  So in doing that, it makes construction more complicated because whether the new lane is on the inside or the outside, being able to exit the lane to get off 95 would need flyovers (although if on the inside perhaps they could have slip ramps to connect to existing HOT lane ramps).  Unless the thought is that the 4th lane would only have limited exit capability and serve as an express lane for through traffic.
So my question would be if it were feasible to build out a 4th lane as a HOT lane that is separated in both directions of I-95, wouldn't it take about the same ROW solution in the difficult areas to build a parallel set of express lanes to result in 2-way express lanes?

Some other areas have inner lanes (one each way) as HOV or HOT lanes, such as Hampton Roads, VA.  Concurrent flow lanes.  They have gantry points over the lane.  In most places on I-95 there is already space on the inside to add a 4th lane.
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Re: Interstate 95 Maryland Express Lane Extenstion
« Reply #20 on: October 10, 2018, 09:24:05 PM »

I thought a novel solution for VDOT could be to build the 4th lane each direction down to Fredericksburg but to avoid having to pay Transurban a penalty, only have it open when the Express Lanes are open the other direction.


As I suggested before, make it a HOT lane itself.  The dynamic tolls would probably be much lower than that of the reversible roadway.


Building a 4th lane as a HOT lane would have some challenges - it would have to be a separated out lane to prevent people from weaving in and out of toll reader gantry areas.  So in doing that, it makes construction more complicated because whether the new lane is on the inside or the outside, being able to exit the lane to get off 95 would need flyovers (although if on the inside perhaps they could have slip ramps to connect to existing HOT lane ramps).  Unless the thought is that the 4th lane would only have limited exit capability and serve as an express lane for through traffic.

So my question would be if it were feasible to build out a 4th lane as a HOT lane that is separated in both directions of I-95, wouldn't it take about the same ROW solution in the difficult areas to build a parallel set of express lanes to result in 2-way express lanes?

Based off my experiences attending a couple of Woodbridge area town halls, I would also argue that perhaps the biggest challenge of all would be convincing the already toll wary public to support even more HOT Lanes. At this point, it seems that the only thing that will fully satisfy the public is an extension of that 4th GP lane, compensation event or not.
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Re: Interstate 95 Maryland Express Lane Extenstion
« Reply #21 on: October 10, 2018, 09:34:56 PM »

Based off my experiences attending a couple of Woodbridge area town halls, I would also argue that perhaps the biggest challenge of all would be convincing the already toll wary public to support even more HOT Lanes. At this point, it seems that the only thing that will fully satisfy the public is an extension of that 4th GP lane, compensation event or not.

True, and part of the project planning studies would be a detailed financial study to estimate what if any impacts would be incurred upon the private operator, and to estimate how much compensation if any would be needed.  Could be anywhere from none to modest to major -- VDOT needs to study it and find out, and then decide what to do.
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