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Author Topic: I-495 and I-270 P3 Program  (Read 4585 times)

sprjus4

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Re: I-495 and I-270 P3 Program
« Reply #100 on: June 12, 2019, 01:18:52 PM »

Yeah, don't have the problem of having to drive west to go north, so going up the Delmarva is still not worth the CBBT toll, works for you being that the bay is your obstacle.  Just like the Mixing Bowl years, will adjust routes and timing to not get caught in this mess to come.
Originating a trip from Durham, of course not, going CBBT is out of the way. I thought you were referring as to if you were in Hampton Roads going north.
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BrianP

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Re: I-495 and I-270 P3 Program
« Reply #101 on: June 12, 2019, 01:29:13 PM »

Quote
Based on Virginia's HO/T lanes and considering 6 lanes plus 2 toll lanes in each direction, roughly a 270 foot footprint is needed. That could fit through that area, just with narrow buffers. That's the land that they're talking about taking. No homes should be needed to get taken, nor should a 2-level highway be needed.
 
That stretch of highway currently only has a width of at most 240 feet.  And you also have to fit in ramps to/from I-370 in addition to the 12 lanes / 270 ft you mention.  And I-370 being a key connection would need ramps to/from both the GP lanes and the toll lanes.  Which sounds to me like you could need upwards of 300 feet. 
Quote
Currently the Toll Lanes are only being built up to I-370. Nothing north of there is getting built for the time being, though it's on the long range plan. Probably just 2 Toll lanes with 2-3 general purpose lanes.
That seems like it may be changing.  Nothing has been decided yet.  But it sounds like the plan is changing to expand up from the legion bridge straight up to Frederick and put off the rest of the beltway until later. 
https://bethesdamagazine.com/bethesda-beat/transportation/state-board-advances-i-270-widening-delays-beltway-plans/
(which was linked to up thread)
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1995hoo

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Re: I-495 and I-270 P3 Program
« Reply #102 on: June 12, 2019, 02:29:06 PM »

....

What bugs me the most is down here in Hampton Roads, they are expanding the HRBT for $4 billion using taxpayer dollars, and only building HO/T lanes. Same with the High Rise Bridge expansion by adding a HO/T lane. So we have to pay to use what our tax dollars already funded. Those tax dollars should have funded at least 1 additional free lane on both the HRBT and High Rise Bridge corridor. At least the HO/T lanes are privately funded.

I haven't paid very close attention to the projects in that area because it's not a part of the state I have reason to visit very often at all, so correct me if I'm mistaken on this: Is it not the case that they are indeed widening those roads such that there will be the same number of "free" or "general-purpose" lanes as there already are, plus some new HO/T lanes?

If that is the case, then I don't buy the argument about "pay[ing] to use what our tax dollars already funded" because you would still have the same access to what you already had. A lot of people made that argument in claiming to oppose the I-495 HO/T lanes: "Our tax dollars paid for this road, so you can't toll it." But the road had previously had four lanes per side open to all traffic aside from some restrictions on HAZMAT carriers. After the HO/T lanes were built, the road still had at least four lanes per side open to all traffic aside from some restrictions on HAZMAT carriers, one segment with five general-purpose lanes on the Inner Loop, and two new HO/T lanes in each direction. In other words, when they expand the road and impose restrictions on the new portion they've added, while preserving what already existed, I don't see a lot of basis for complaint. (The I-95/I-395 project is very different in that respect because it did indeed take away lanes that were open to almost all traffic outside of HOV hours and impose a 24/7 toll. I think there's a more legitimate basis for complaint there, though not as to the new segment south of Route 234 because those lanes didn't exist before.)

In other words, if the HRBT is currently two lanes each way open to all traffic with possible HAZMAT exceptions, and if the expansion is to preserve two general-purpose lanes each way while adding HO/T lanes, I don't see the basis for claiming you have to pay to use what tax dollars funded.

(Or, put differently, most rational people don't dispute the idea that the Commonwealth of Virginia would be perfectly entitled to widen the highway to add an HOV lane or two. There are some idiots who bleat about HOV lanes somehow being "unconstitutional," but 99% of the time people who use that word have never read the Constitution and have no clue what they're talking about. Anyway, if there's nothing wrong with adding a new lane and putting an HOV restriction on it, I don't see how there can be anything wrong with adding that same lane with that same HOV restriction and then saying, "BTW, if you don't qualify for HOV status, we'll let you use it if you're willing to pay." It's essentially just a different way of restricting the lane.)

It seems to me your comments are more or less underscoring exactly what the point of the variable tolling system is! The toll rises as more people enter the HO/T lanes with the intent being that as the toll rises, more and more people will say "it's too much, I won't pay that," which in turn means fewer people entering the lanes such that traffic keeps moving.
Sounds like a great system. It keeps people free-flowing at highway speeds and makes sure there's no congestion.... but in reality it pushes more people into the general purpose lanes clogging those even more. And VDOT doesn't seem to have any interest working to fix those and widen them. Just giving the job to a private company to build toll lanes in the median.

....

I don't think this is necessarily the case. "Pushes more people into the general-purpose lanes" is an oversimplification. On I-95 and I-395 I can agree with this proposition outside of the old HOV hours. That is to say, the southbound HOV hours were (still are for now on I-395) from 3:30 to 6:00. After 6:00, anyone could go in the HOV lanes (except for large trucks south of Potomac Mills because they have to go to the weigh station). Now you have to pay a toll after 6:00, and it's certainly clear that traffic does slow at Turkeycock due to people exiting to the mainline to avoid paying a toll. But during HOV hours, which is when you expect the traffic to be the heaviest overall anyway, it's certainly not the case that toll operations "push[  ] more people into the general-purpose lanes" because there's no logic whatsoever to that idea. Anyone who was using the HOV lanes legally as an HOV before can continue to do so—you just get an E-ZPass Flex. Other people who could not use those lanes before but who are willing to pay the toll can now do so (I've certainly done that from the Beltway to the Franconia–Springfield Parkway when the Beltway east of Springfield is backed up). Of course there are some people who had HOV exemptions before who no longer do (vehicles with Clean Fuel plates lost their HOV exemption), so they might cancel out the toll-payers a bit in terms of shifted capacity. But I don't give a lot of credence to the idea that the end of the Clean Fuel exemption is somehow unfair to those cars' owners, as it was always clear all along that it was never guaranteed to be a permanent exemption.

On the Beltway, I think "pushing more people into the general-purpose lanes" is a nonsensical proposition because it lacks a valid point of comparison. That is, there were no express lanes on the Beltway before. Everybody was in the general-purpose lanes or was using alternate routes like Backlick Road to Gallows Road (a fairly direct route from Springfield to Tysons). There was nowhere from which "more people" could have been "pushed" out into the general-purpose lanes.

In other words, what I'm trying to say is that the only time an HO/T project "pushes more people into the general-purpose lanes" is if you (1) take existing lanes that were open to all traffic and (2) impose a new full-time HO/T restriction on them. I-95 does that outside the old HOV hours. I-495 doesn't do that because its HO/T lanes are entirely new capacity that didn't exist before. I-66 inside the Beltway doesn't do that either because it's a part-time HO/T restriction, such that anyone who was using it legally before can still use it, though the Clean Fuel owners might have to pay a toll, and anyone who was not using it legally before can now use it legally if he's willing to pay (so, in other words, more people should be on I-66 than was the case under the old rules).
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sprjus4

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Re: I-495 and I-270 P3 Program
« Reply #103 on: June 12, 2019, 03:34:38 PM »

I haven't paid very close attention to the projects in that area because it's not a part of the state I have reason to visit very often at all, so correct me if I'm mistaken on this: Is it not the case that they are indeed widening those roads such that there will be the same number of "free" or "general-purpose" lanes as there already are, plus some new HO/T lanes?

If that is the case, then I don't buy the argument about "pay[ing] to use what our tax dollars already funded" because you would still have the same access to what you already had. A lot of people made that argument in claiming to oppose the I-495 HO/T lanes: "Our tax dollars paid for this road, so you can't toll it." But the road had previously had four lanes per side open to all traffic aside from some restrictions on HAZMAT carriers. After the HO/T lanes were built, the road still had at least four lanes per side open to all traffic aside from some restrictions on HAZMAT carriers, one segment with five general-purpose lanes on the Inner Loop, and two new HO/T lanes in each direction. In other words, when they expand the road and impose restrictions on the new portion they've added, while preserving what already existed, I don't see a lot of basis for complaint. (The I-95/I-395 project is very different in that respect because it did indeed take away lanes that were open to almost all traffic outside of HOV hours and impose a 24/7 toll. I think there's a more legitimate basis for complaint there, though not as to the new segment south of Route 234 because those lanes didn't exist before.)

In other words, if the HRBT is currently two lanes each way open to all traffic with possible HAZMAT exceptions, and if the expansion is to preserve two general-purpose lanes each way while adding HO/T lanes, I don't see the basis for claiming you have to pay to use what tax dollars funded.

(Or, put differently, most rational people don't dispute the idea that the Commonwealth of Virginia would be perfectly entitled to widen the highway to add an HOV lane or two. There are some idiots who bleat about HOV lanes somehow being "unconstitutional," but 99% of the time people who use that word have never read the Constitution and have no clue what they're talking about. Anyway, if there's nothing wrong with adding a new lane and putting an HOV restriction on it, I don't see how there can be anything wrong with adding that same lane with that same HOV restriction and then saying, "BTW, if you don't qualify for HOV status, we'll let you use it if you're willing to pay." It's essentially just a different way of restricting the lane.)
I'm not complaining about the general purpose lanes and taxpayers funded them, blah blah. That's a poor argument, and I agree. My issue is that taxpayer dollars are paying for the construction of the new HO/T lanes as well. The High Rise Bridge corridor project between I-664 and I-64 is a $409 million dollar project that will add a new HO/T lane in each direction and construct a new high-rise bridge, currently under construction. That project is fully 100% taxpayer funded, and the only capacity it's adding are HO/T lanes. SOV vehicles have to pay to use the lanes, yet their tax dollars payed for them already. The HRBT expansion that will cost nearly $4 billion will simply add 1 HO/T lane in each direction, along with a 2nd HO/T shoulder lane during rush hour. Out of the almost $4 billion, only $345 million are coming from bonds. Almost $3.5 billion is coming from taxpayer dollars to build HO/T lanes, and SOV vehicles have to pay to use what their tax dollars funded.

Taxes were raised here in 2013 when the HRTAC (Hampton Roads Transportation Accountability Commission) was created to generate revenue for highway projects in the area. Granted, some toll free projects have been constructed, like the massive I-264 / I-64 interchange reconstruction, but the I-64 expansions, funded by tax dollars, will only add HO/T lanes.

My point is that new lanes constructed with tax dollars should be general purpose lanes - we already paid for them. Any new HO/T lanes should be either privately funded or funded via a bond. Plus, the I-64 High Rise Bridge corridor should be expanded to 6 general purpose lanes before any HO/T lanes are built. Right now, it will be a 2 GP + 1 HO/T in each direction when completed. Even better - when Phase #2 is constructed around 2030, it will add a 4th lane in each direction. Another HO/T lane... 2 GP + 2 HO/T. Tax dollar funded.

I think the 8-lane config should be 3 GP + 1 HO/T if any HO/T at all, not 2. It would also match the 3 GP + 1 HOV it ties into west of I-464. And the current 6-lane widening should be 3 GP in each direction - that's it. Add the one HO/T lane later. Just like on the Peninsula - they're adding a 3rd -general purpose- lane in each direction all the way to north of Williamsburg on I-64. In the future, they want to add a 4th HOV lane to the current widening. Do the same here in Hampton Roads.

And technically, they could do that. Since it's all tax dollar funded, they can choose however they want to manage it. All they need to change is signage and lane striping. The lane is being built whatever it becomes, but as of now, it's set to be a HO/T lane.

Tax dollars funding billions of dollars of HO/T lane projects that will ultimately just collect tolls either way... and it leaves other freeway projects such as widening VA-168, VA-164, or expanding I-664, upgrading corridors such as US-17 and US-58 leaving the area, widening I-64 to Richmond, massive system interchange improvements, buying out the tolls on the tunnels and maybe even the other toll freeways (VA-168, US-17), etc. unfunded because the limited tax dollars are funding HO/T lanes. And they say the HO/T lane toll revenue will come back and pay for future projects... yet so far I haven't seen any plans for that money. It just seems to disappear suddenly... maybe into someone's pocket?
« Last Edit: June 12, 2019, 03:45:15 PM by sprjus4 »
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Beltway

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Re: I-495 and I-270 P3 Program
« Reply #104 on: June 12, 2019, 03:52:23 PM »

My point is that new lanes constructed with tax dollars should be general purpose lanes - we already paid for them.

All the Virginia HOV lanes pre-HOT were built with 100% road use taxes on I-95, I-395, I-64, I-564 and I-264.

The 7.5 miles of Beltway unopened managed lanes on the Woodrow Wilson Bridge Project were built with tax funds as well.  They definitely will not be used for general purpose lanes.
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Scott M. Kozel
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sprjus4

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Re: I-495 and I-270 P3 Program
« Reply #105 on: June 12, 2019, 04:58:18 PM »

My point is that new lanes constructed with tax dollars should be general purpose lanes - we already paid for them.

All the Virginia HOV lanes pre-HOT were built with 100% road use taxes on I-95, I-395, I-64, I-564 and I-264.

The 7.5 miles of Beltway unopened managed lanes on the Woodrow Wilson Bridge Project were built with tax funds as well.  They definitely will not be used for general purpose lanes.
All of the HOV lanes you mention where only restricted at rush hour, here in Hampton Roads that's 7am - 9am and 4pm - 6pm. Free to all at all other times. Not with HO/T lanes. Tolled 24/7. Also, HOV lanes didn't collect tolls. HO/T lanes do. The toll revenue collected on new HO/T lane construction should be used to pay back that specific project. If tax dollars are paying for the new lane, why toll it?

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Beltway

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Re: I-495 and I-270 P3 Program
« Reply #106 on: June 12, 2019, 08:19:29 PM »

My point is that new lanes constructed with tax dollars should be general purpose lanes - we already paid for them.
All the Virginia HOV lanes pre-HOT were built with 100% road use taxes on I-95, I-395, I-64, I-564 and I-264.
The 7.5 miles of Beltway unopened managed lanes on the Woodrow Wilson Bridge Project were built with tax funds as well.  They definitely will not be used for general purpose lanes.
All of the HOV lanes you mention where only restricted at rush hour, here in Hampton Roads that's 7am - 9am and 4pm - 6pm. Free to all at all other times. Not with HO/T lanes. Tolled 24/7.

Not tolled for HOV-3+ (NoVA) and HOV-2+ (H.R.).  Minimally tolled in low volume hours.

Also, HOV lanes didn't collect tolls. HO/T lanes do. The toll revenue collected on new HO/T lane construction should be used to pay back that specific project. If tax dollars are paying for the new lane, why toll it?

Because part of the tax dollars came from state-issued toll revenue bonds?
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Scott M. Kozel
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sprjus4

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Re: I-495 and I-270 P3 Program
« Reply #107 on: June 12, 2019, 09:12:55 PM »

My point is that new lanes constructed with tax dollars should be general purpose lanes - we already paid for them.
All the Virginia HOV lanes pre-HOT were built with 100% road use taxes on I-95, I-395, I-64, I-564 and I-264.
The 7.5 miles of Beltway unopened managed lanes on the Woodrow Wilson Bridge Project were built with tax funds as well.  They definitely will not be used for general purpose lanes.
All of the HOV lanes you mention where only restricted at rush hour, here in Hampton Roads that's 7am - 9am and 4pm - 6pm. Free to all at all other times. Not with HO/T lanes. Tolled 24/7.

Not tolled for HOV-3+ (NoVA) and HOV-2+ (H.R.).  Minimally tolled in low volume hours.

Also, HOV lanes didn't collect tolls. HO/T lanes do. The toll revenue collected on new HO/T lane construction should be used to pay back that specific project. If tax dollars are paying for the new lane, why toll it?

Because part of the tax dollars came from state-issued toll revenue bonds?
The High Rise Bridge expansion project is 100% funded publicly. No bonds.

Per the project website...
Quote
Construction Cost
Approximately $409.6 million

Funded by Hampton Roads Transportation Accountability Commission, Virginia's SMART SCALE Program and the Federal Highway Administration
Now, the HRTAC may have bonds internally to get these projects done on a fast pace, but it's the tax money from the 2013 tax hike in Hampton Roads that's repaying those bonds, not toll revenue.

I really don't see the need for HO/T lanes on the High Rise Bridge corridor. I drove on it earlier during rush hour. The main problem is simply not enough lanes and too much cars. If there were 3 GP lanes and maybe 1 HO/T lane added later, it would operate just fine. It's not I-95 where you need 10 lanes each way to even lighten up. At that point, HO/T lanes make sense. But like I said, 3 -general purpose- lanes each way plus 1 HO/T, it would be fine. And that HO/T should come apart of Phase 2. Right now, it should only be 1 -general purpose- being added for "immediate relief". Just like on the peninsula. And guess what - it's worked there. And very similar traffic counts too. The HRBT is the same way, though I can understand that more because of restrictions with lane configs due to the tunnel
« Last Edit: June 12, 2019, 09:16:09 PM by sprjus4 »
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sprjus4

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Re: I-495 and I-270 P3 Program
« Reply #108 on: June 12, 2019, 09:17:35 PM »

Not tolled for HOV-3+ (NoVA) and HOV-2+ (H.R.).  Minimally tolled in low volume hours.
Why toll at all during non-peak hours? The I-64 reversible HO/T lanes here in Hampton Roads are only tolled during peak hours. Free all other hours.
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Beltway

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Re: I-495 and I-270 P3 Program
« Reply #109 on: June 12, 2019, 09:39:30 PM »

The High Rise Bridge expansion project is 100% funded publicly. No bonds.
Per the project website...
Quote
Construction Cost
Approximately $409.6 million
Funded by Hampton Roads Transportation Accountability Commission, Virginia's SMART SCALE Program and the Federal Highway Administration
Now, the HRTAC may have bonds internally to get these projects done on a fast pace, but it's the tax money from the 2013 tax hike in Hampton Roads that's repaying those bonds, not toll revenue.

Money is fungible.  If that is the case then they may plan to use the tolls to help service the bonds.

Or to toll the lanes to manage congestion in that lane and use the revenues for other highway projects.

I really don't see the need for HO/T lanes on the High Rise Bridge corridor. I drove on it earlier during rush hour. The main problem is simply not enough lanes and too much cars. If there were 3 GP lanes and maybe 1 HO/T lane added later, it would operate just fine. It's not I-95 where you need 10 lanes each way to even lighten up. At that point, HO/T lanes make sense. But like I said, 3 -general purpose- lanes each way plus 1 HO/T, it would be fine. And that HO/T should come apart of Phase 2. Right now, it should only be 1 -general purpose- being added for "immediate relief". Just like on the peninsula. And guess what - it's worked there. And very similar traffic counts too.

Maybe so, but the transportation planners in the Hampton Roads area seem to have decided to develop a system of Interstate highway managed lanes (which could be HOV, HOT or ETL or even changed to GP by a simple administrative change).

Not tolled for HOV-3+ (NoVA) and HOV-2+ (H.R.).  Minimally tolled in low volume hours.
Why toll at all during non-peak hours? The I-64 reversible HO/T lanes here in Hampton Roads are only tolled during peak hours. Free all other hours.

In an area like metro D.C. there is enough 24/7 traffic that a non-peak incident in the GP lanes could cause congestion that could overload the HOT lanes if they were not tolled.

I am one of the people who will pay that low toll (IIRC $1.50 on I-495) in the low volume hours just to have an easier cruise and to avoid the rare case that something will go wrong (Murphy's Law) in the GP lanes.
 
« Last Edit: June 12, 2019, 09:43:46 PM by Beltway »
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Scott M. Kozel
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sprjus4

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Re: I-495 and I-270 P3 Program
« Reply #110 on: June 12, 2019, 09:52:37 PM »

Maybe so, but the transportation planners in the Hampton Roads area seem to have decided to develop a system of Interstate highway managed lanes (which could be HOV, HOT or ETL or even changed to GP by a simple administrative change).
Exactly - the whole idea is to have a HO/T system stretching from I-64 at Bowers Hill to Hampton. The I-64 High Rise Bridge widening adds 2 HO/T lanes ultimately, then the plan is to convert the existing HOV to HO/T, then the existing HO/T lanes, then the HRBT HO/T lanes.

My concept satisfies that though either way. Under the current ultimate plan, if you were heading west (eastbound) towards the High Rise, you'd have 3 GP lanes and 1 HO/T lane. Then, it would shrink to 2 GP lanes, but then now 2 HO/T lanes.

My concept on the other hand maintains 3 GP and 1 HO/T lane through the entire thing. No lane changes. Keeping that lane drop like they want to do is only going to make traffic -worse-. The HOV lane currently drops off, that doesn't cause problems, then it's simply 3 GP lanes. It flows smoothly. Then it drops to 2 GP lanes, and it's traffic hell all the way through. Why not make this under construction lane a continuous 3rd -general purpose- lane and keep it consistent? Immediate traffic relief - much like the Peninsula widening which has very similar traffic volumes. It worked perfectly there. Then, when you want to build the ultimate 8-lane concept with the HO/T system, extend the existing HOV lane as a separate facility, and maintain the continous 3 lane pattern for the -general purpose-. Same as proposed on the Peninsula. They built the 3rd GP lane for immediate relief, and plan on adding a "managed" lane later.

Hopefully I'm making sense, it's hard to explain. But basically the current plan has flaws that will only cause congestion not help it. Much like the infamous lane drop VDOT put in at Woodbridge on I-95 which was a mistake. Coincidentally, the HO/T lanes opened soon after, making it impossible for SOV long distance traffic to bypass the newly created VDOT backup during off-peak hours for free.
 
In an area like metro D.C. there is enough 24/7 traffic that a non-peak incident in the GP lanes could cause congestion that could overload the HOT lanes if they were not tolled.
The existing HOV lanes on I-95 operated smoothly being free during off-peak hours. Sure, if there's a wreck, turn on the toll. But if there's no traffic, don't charge a toll. I'm not saying get rid of the toll. Just when there's no traffic, just make it "Toll $0.00". If a wreck happens, back up to "Toll $X.XX"
« Last Edit: June 12, 2019, 09:55:12 PM by sprjus4 »
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Re: I-495 and I-270 P3 Program
« Reply #111 on: June 14, 2019, 12:21:31 AM »

Exactly - the whole idea is to have a HO/T system stretching from I-64 at Bowers Hill to Hampton. The I-64 High Rise Bridge widening adds 2 HO/T lanes ultimately, then the plan is to convert the existing HOV to HO/T, then the existing HO/T lanes, then the HRBT HO/T lanes.

Ultimately all the way to the VA-199 interchange south of Williamsburg, after 8-lane widening north of VA-143 Jefferson Avenue.

The existing HOV lanes on I-95 operated smoothly being free during off-peak hours. Sure, if there's a wreck, turn on the toll. But if there's no traffic, don't charge a toll. I'm not saying get rid of the toll. Just when there's no traffic, just make it "Toll $0.00". If a wreck happens, back up to "Toll $X.XX"

I can't find an exact statement on expresslanes.com about what is the minimum possible toll.  It says that the tolls are 24/7 but it could go down to zero for all I know.

The times I have traveled it at very low volumes like 1:00 am it did have a low toll but being I-95 and I-495 the whole highway was still carrying significant volumes, and the HOT lanes were carrying low but significant volumes as well.  So they still do get used.  Even at the very low hours you don't know if a major incident might happen after you are on that segment, and the HOT lanes provide more 'insurance' of a trouble free trip, so there are people like me that still find express lanes with widely spaced interchanges to be a better grade of highway than the GP lanes.  Even when the GP lanes are free-flowing I still find it nice to use 38 miles of express lanes that are more like a rural freeway than an urban freeway.

24/7 tolling would be part of the overall pricing and tolling system.  HOV-3+ and motorcycles get to ride toll free, and the others pay a higher toll to help support the free riders.  Very low volume times still attract customers who are willing to pay the low toll.  Obviously not everyone is happy with such a system, it is a series of tradeoffs.
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Scott M. Kozel
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sprjus4

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Re: I-495 and I-270 P3 Program
« Reply #112 on: June 14, 2019, 12:47:05 AM »

Ultimately all the way to the VA-199 interchange south of Williamsburg, after 8-lane widening north of VA-143 Jefferson Avenue.
I liked how that was done. They added a GP lane for immediate relief, then later they'll do the HO/T lane.

If only they would do that with the High Rise Bridge - immediate relief GP lane for now... then with the 8-lane later, add -one- HO/T lane.

And they still could... All that's under construction now is a single lane in each direction. It's there choice to put up the gantries and tubes separating the lanes. They don't have to. Tax dollars funded that lane - there's no toll contract it's locked into. But it's not even worth trying to convince them to do it. VDOT's mind is set on making that a HO/T lane. I could write them a long, descriptive email about reasons why to do it and how it'll be more beneficial. They'll just respond saying that was a decision made through years of studying, etc. blah, blah. It's quite obvious an immediate relief GP lane would work. Hell, US-58 going to Suffolk carries almost 80,000 AADT, and operates at a continuous 65 - 70 mph speed and has only 3 general purpose lanes in each direction. And it's not even a freeway! I'm shocked when they evaluated making that an 8-lane freeway, they didn't consider the new lane as a HO/T lane - just a regular 4th general purpose lane. And there's no reason TWO HO/T lanes are ultimately needed. 1 HO/T and 3 GP as the final buildout would work fine and give traffic more breathing room. It's planned to work on the Peninsula. And the traffic volumes are both around 90,000 AADT on both facilities.

The times I have traveled it at very low volumes like 1:00 am it did have a low toll but being I-95 and I-495 the whole highway was still carrying significant volumes, and the HOT lanes were carrying low but significant volumes as well.  So they still do get used.  Even at the very low hours you don't know if a major incident might happen after you are on that segment, and the HOT lanes provide more 'insurance' of a trouble free trip, so there are people like me that still find express lanes with widely spaced interchanges to be a better grade of highway than the GP lanes.  Even when the GP lanes are free-flowing I still find it nice to use 38 miles of express lanes that are more like a rural freeway than an urban freeway.
I could say the same about the I-64 HO/T lanes during off-peak hours and on weekends. The highway is still very busy, especially on summer Saturdays, yet the lanes flow fine at 65+ mph even with heavy traffic and no tolls in place.
« Last Edit: June 14, 2019, 12:58:06 AM by sprjus4 »
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Re: I-495 and I-270 P3 Program
« Reply #113 on: June 14, 2019, 01:19:52 AM »

The times I have traveled it at very low volumes like 1:00 am it did have a low toll but being I-95 and I-495 the whole highway was still carrying significant volumes, and the HOT lanes were carrying low but significant volumes as well.  So they still do get used.  Even at the very low hours you don't know if a major incident might happen after you are on that segment, and the HOT lanes provide more 'insurance' of a trouble free trip, so there are people like me that still find express lanes with widely spaced interchanges to be a better grade of highway than the GP lanes.  Even when the GP lanes are free-flowing I still find it nice to use 38 miles of express lanes that are more like a rural freeway than an urban freeway.
I could say the same about the I-64 HO/T lanes during off-peak hours and on weekends. The highway is still very busy, especially on summer Saturdays, yet the lanes flow fine at 65+ mph even with heavy traffic and no tolls in place.

I-64 doesn't have the tractor-trailer volumes that the I-95 corridor has, after all I-64 is basically a long spur to a metro area near the ocean, and I-95 handles the whole eastern seaboard.  Also metro D.C. 6.2 million people and H.R. 1.6 million.

Besides I was referring to times like 12:00 midnight to 4:00 am, not off-peak hours and on weekends.
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Re: I-495 and I-270 P3 Program
« Reply #114 on: June 14, 2019, 04:31:56 PM »

Ultimately all the way to the VA-199 interchange south of Williamsburg, after 8-lane widening north of VA-143 Jefferson Avenue.
I liked how that was done. They added a GP lane for immediate relief, then later they'll do the HO/T lane.
If only they would do that with the High Rise Bridge - immediate relief GP lane for now... then with the 8-lane later, add -one- HO/T lane.

That works with small overpass bridges, but on a long high-level bridge it will generally be a lot less expensive to build one 4-lane bridge rather than a narrower bridge that is then widened later.  And we are talking about 3 directional lanes being needed now and 4 in the future.

When I say 'generally' I would allow for an engineering decision that showed otherwise, but that would be rather unlikely.
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Re: I-495 and I-270 P3 Program
« Reply #115 on: June 14, 2019, 04:46:13 PM »

Ultimately all the way to the VA-199 interchange south of Williamsburg, after 8-lane widening north of VA-143 Jefferson Avenue.
I liked how that was done. They added a GP lane for immediate relief, then later they'll do the HO/T lane.
If only they would do that with the High Rise Bridge - immediate relief GP lane for now... then with the 8-lane later, add -one- HO/T lane.

That works with small overpass bridges, but on a long high-level bridge it will generally be a lot less expensive to build one 4-lane bridge rather than a narrower bridge that is then widened later.  And we are talking about 3 directional lanes being needed now and 4 in the future.

When I say 'generally' I would allow for an engineering decision that showed otherwise, but that would be rather unlikely.
They're currently building one new 4-lane High Rise Bridge south of the existing bridge. When the project is finalized in 2021, the new bridge will carry 3 lanes of westbound (east direction) traffic with future capacity of 4-lanes, and the existing bridge will be retained and used for 3 lanes of eastbound (west direction) traffic.

In the future, they'll demolish the older High Rise Bridge and build another new 4-lane bridge, and then all 8-lanes will be in service across both bridges. While the existing bridge is being demolished in Phase #2, the 4-lane bridge with full shoulders being built now will hold all 6-lanes of traffic during construction with no shoulders. Then, when Phase #2 is completed, there will be 8-lanes with full shoulders on both sides across two fixed span 4-lane bridges.

Either way, they can still do 6 general purpose lanes at the conclusion of the first project without any HO/T lanes. Add -one- HO/T lane later, and not two. The bridge plans can still accommodate that. 

Actually, at the conclusion of this project, by the official plans, there will be 2 GP lanes and 1 HO/T lane in each direction, along with a shoulder -general purpose- lane during peak hours between I-464 and US-17 / US-17 Business carrying across the bridge.

Generally, my comment comparing this project to the Peninsula project was saying they're adding a -general purpose- lane initially, then a HO/T lane. On this project, only HO/T lanes are added in both phases, no general purpose lanes added even in the ultimate build. The bridge is of course being built to accommodate 4-lanes in the future.
« Last Edit: June 14, 2019, 04:49:52 PM by sprjus4 »
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Re: I-495 and I-270 P3 Program
« Reply #116 on: June 14, 2019, 10:17:39 PM »

Actually, at the conclusion of this project, by the official plans, there will be 2 GP lanes and 1 HO/T lane in each direction, along with a shoulder -general purpose- lane during peak hours between I-464 and US-17 / US-17 Business carrying across the bridge.
Generally, my comment comparing this project to the Peninsula project was saying they're adding a -general purpose- lane initially, then a HO/T lane. On this project, only HO/T lanes are added in both phases, no general purpose lanes added even in the ultimate build. The bridge is of course being built to accommodate 4-lanes in the future.

The High Rise Bridge currently is 4 lanes, and the proposed ultimate 8-lane design would be 3 GP lanes and 1 HOT lane each way, so there will be an increase in GP lanes.

Current project widening to 2 GP lanes and 1 HOT lane each way, will match the widening west there.

The I-464 area is where the transition will be between 6 lanes west of there and 8 lanes east of there, subsequent to the current widening project.
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Re: I-495 and I-270 P3 Program
« Reply #117 on: June 14, 2019, 10:33:30 PM »

The High Rise Bridge currently is 4 lanes, and the proposed ultimate 8-lane design would be 3 GP lanes and 1 HOT lane each way, so there will be an increase in GP lanes.
Incorrect. The proposed ultimate 8-lane design is 2 GP lanes and 2 HO/T lanes each way.

My argument is that it should be 3 GP lanes and 1 HO/T lane, like you're saying, but currently that's not the ultimate 8-lane design.

The decision was made by the CTB on March 18, 2015. The preferred alternative was Alternative #2 which would add two lanes in each direction with some or all managed. The options for the new lanes were to have 1 GP + 1 HOV, 2 HO/T, or all lanes including the existing ones tolled. The resolution indicated the management option would be selected later on, and they ultimately went with the HO/T lane option. Phase #2 would bring the corridor ultimately to 2 GP + 2 HO/T in each direction.
http://www.virginiadot.org/VDOT/Projects/Hampton_Roads/asset_upload_file31_80998.pdf

My belief is that the 1 GP + 1 HOV option should be selected, but then convert that HOV to HO/T. It simply makes more sense, considering east of I-464, they're considering turning the -one- HOV lane into -one- HO/T lane. Ultimately having 3 GP + 1 HO/T lane would keep a consistency of lanes from I-264 near Military Circle to I-664 at Bowers Hill - 3 GP + 1 HO/T all the way through. In combination with an overhauled Bowers Hill Interchange, I-464 / VA-168 / US-17 Interchange, and I-264 Interchange, this would be a massive improvement for the better along the entire I-64 corridor. Having a lane drop in the general purpose lane at I-464 and a lane add on the HO/T lanes simply makes no logical sense when you consider it as one network.

Current project widening to 2 GP lanes and 1 HOT lane each way, will match the widening west there.

The I-464 area is where the transition will be between 6 lanes west of there and 8 lanes east of there, subsequent to the current widening project.
Currently, I-64 has 3 GP lanes and 1 HOV lane each way east of I-464, and it currently drops to 2 GP lanes each way west of I-464. I believe the current widening should be a -general purpose- lane addition, to ease that transition - only the HOV lane would drop off, and traffic would continue flowing in the 3 GP lanes. Currently, there's a daily 3 mile backup when it transitions from 3 GP lanes to 2 GP lanes. It makes sense to extend that GP lane throughout the entire corridor to I-664 as -immediate relief-. The current project instead extends the HOV lane as a HO/T lane to I-664, which is not going to relieve the daily backup that could EASILY be fixed by extending the GP lane instead. I don't have an issue with having a maximum of 1 HO/T lane in the ultimate 8-lane build, but it should be added later, not now.

The Peninsula widening is following that strategy - adding a general purpose lane as relief now, then later adding one HOV / HO/T lane. The same should be done here. Both the Peninsula segment and High Rise Bridge corridor have 90,000 AADT. I don't get why there's a desperate need for a HO/T lane here, which isn't going to relief much, whereas on the Peninsula, they just added a general purpose lane, and traffic has gotten so much better across all lanes.

The High Rise Bridge corridor, just like the Peninsula, has low enough traffic counts (90,000 AADT) where adding 1 general purpose lane will ease things significantly itself. You don't need to start adding HO/T lanes in the equation until there's a minimum of 6 general purpose lanes, especially with only 90,000 AADT.
« Last Edit: June 14, 2019, 10:46:21 PM by sprjus4 »
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Re: I-495 and I-270 P3 Program
« Reply #118 on: June 14, 2019, 10:45:35 PM »

^ I believe you're confusing it with the HRBT project.  HRBT will be 2 GP + 2 HO/T.  VDOT's High Rise Bridge FAQ (last question under "Project Benefits") mentions that project will normally have 2 GP + 1 HO/T, but the outside shoulders will be improved between 17 and Great Bridge Rd (i.e. over the High Rise) to serve as a 3rd GP in each direction during periods of "heavy congestion".
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Re: I-495 and I-270 P3 Program
« Reply #119 on: June 14, 2019, 10:49:01 PM »

^ I believe you're confusing it with the HRBT project.  HRBT will be 2 GP + 2 HO/T.  VDOT's High Rise Bridge FAQ (last question under "Project Benefits") mentions that project will normally have 2 GP + 1 HO/T, but the outside shoulders will be improved between 17 and Great Bridge Rd (i.e. over the High Rise) to serve as a 3rd GP in each direction during periods of "heavy congestion".
I'm talking about the ultimate 8-lane build in 2030+. The plan for I-64 between Bowers Hill and I-464 is to have 2 GP + 2 HO/T lanes ultimately, plus those shoulder lanes you mentioned.

Those shoulder lanes will be wonky unless they drop the way the lanes drop. The left lane drops, as the shoulder lane would pick up on the right. Unless they are changing the lane drop to be on the right, then transition to the shoulder during rush hour, it will create issues. That will help significantly, I agree, but still believe there should also be a -general purpose- lane being added now, then -one- HO/T lane later. I disagree with the overall 2 GP + 2 HO/T ultimate concept, and the fact they're adding the new lane now as a HO/T lane, not general purpose immediate relief, as seen has been very successful on the Peninsula.

My argument is the lane config ultimately should be 3 GP + 1 HO/T which would match the lane config to the east of the project, and that this Phase #1 project under construction now should only be a -general purpose- widening as immediate relief - just like the Peninsula widening. Both segments of I-64 carry around 90,000 AADT, and the immediate relief project on the Peninsula has drastically helped, and no HO/T lanes were added.

As for the HRBT project, it's 2 GP + 1 HO/T, then an additional HO/T lane during rush hour. I was not confusing the two projects. See my edits above.
« Last Edit: June 14, 2019, 10:52:29 PM by sprjus4 »
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Re: I-495 and I-270 P3 Program
« Reply #120 on: June 14, 2019, 11:34:14 PM »

The High Rise Bridge currently is 4 lanes, and the proposed ultimate 8-lane design would be 3 GP lanes and 1 HOT lane each way, so there will be an increase in GP lanes.
Incorrect. The proposed ultimate 8-lane design is 2 GP lanes and 2 HO/T lanes each way.
My argument is that it should be 3 GP lanes and 1 HO/T lane, like you're saying, but currently that's not the ultimate 8-lane design.
The decision was made by the CTB on March 18, 2015. The preferred alternative was Alternative #2 which would add two lanes in each direction with some or all managed. The options for the new lanes were to have 1 GP + 1 HOV, 2 HO/T, or all lanes including the existing ones tolled. The resolution indicated the management option would be selected later on, and they ultimately went with the HO/T lane option. Phase #2 would bring the corridor ultimately to 2 GP + 2 HO/T in each direction. http://www.virginiadot.org/VDOT/Projects/Hampton_Roads/asset_upload_file31_80998.pdf

No, it does not specify that there will be two HOT lanes each way --

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the Preferred Alternative for this project be approved as Alternative 2, addition of two additional lanes of capacity in each direction including the construction of a new bridge and eventual replacement of existing bridge, with a decision as to the management option to be made at a later date. 

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that CTB shall be briefed on and have the opportunity to determine the future management option(s) once additional studies and financial analyses have been concluded.


I.e. undecided at this time.

There are currently 3 GP lanes and 1 HOT lane each way between the I-464 area and the transition to the reversible roadway at I-264.  Unless they convert one existing GP lane each way to HOT (which is very unlikely), it will not match the 2+2 scheme that you propose.
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Re: I-495 and I-270 P3 Program
« Reply #121 on: June 15, 2019, 01:28:19 AM »

No, it does not specify that there will be two HOT lanes each way --

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the Preferred Alternative for this project be approved as Alternative 2, addition of two additional lanes of capacity in each direction including the construction of a new bridge and eventual replacement of existing bridge, with a decision as to the management option to be made at a later date. 

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that CTB shall be briefed on and have the opportunity to determine the future management option(s) once additional studies and financial analyses have been concluded.


I.e. undecided at this time.
The EIS for the corridor indicated an ultimate build of 2 GP + 2 HO/T lanes. That may well change though, and I'm hoping it does. I'm disappointed the current project is a HO/T lane addition and not immediate relief general purpose widening, however if the ultimate build eventually constructs a 3rd GP lane in each direction, that would still work out in the long run. Ultimately, I don't see the need for more than one HO/T lane in each direction, and certainly see the need for more than 2 GP lanes.

There are currently 3 GP lanes and 1 HOV* lane each way between the I-464 area and the transition to the reversible roadway at I-264.  Unless they convert one existing GP lane each way to HOT (which is very unlikely), it will not match the 2+2 scheme that you propose.
Agreed. I wasn't proposing a 2+2 scheme, I was indicating it was shown in the EIS that way, and from prior talks with members of the project team, they had indicated as well the ultimate 8-lane including a 2+2 scheme, which I disagree with completely for the reasons above.

*FTFY
« Last Edit: June 15, 2019, 01:47:28 AM by sprjus4 »
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Re: I-495 and I-270 P3 Program
« Reply #122 on: June 15, 2019, 08:22:01 AM »

There are currently 3 GP lanes and 1 HOV* lane each way between the I-464 area and the transition to the reversible roadway at I-264.  Unless they convert one existing GP lane each way to HOT (which is very unlikely), it will not match the 2+2 scheme that you propose.
Agreed. I wasn't proposing a 2+2 scheme, I was indicating it was shown in the EIS that way, and from prior talks with members of the project team, they had indicated as well the ultimate 8-lane including a 2+2 scheme, which I disagree with completely for the reasons above.

How and where was it shown that way and it what level of EIS?  It doesn't match what is already there to the east.  Single managed lane each way.
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Re: I-495 and I-270 P3 Program
« Reply #123 on: June 15, 2019, 07:33:02 PM »

There are currently 3 GP lanes and 1 HOV* lane each way between the I-464 area and the transition to the reversible roadway at I-264.  Unless they convert one existing GP lane each way to HOT (which is very unlikely), it will not match the 2+2 scheme that you propose.
Agreed. I wasn't proposing a 2+2 scheme, I was indicating it was shown in the EIS that way, and from prior talks with members of the project team, they had indicated as well the ultimate 8-lane including a 2+2 scheme, which I disagree with completely for the reasons above.

How and where was it shown that way and it what level of EIS?  It doesn't match what is already there to the east.  Single managed lane each way.
He said EIS. Prove that the EIS does not show it.

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Re: I-495 and I-270 P3 Program
« Reply #124 on: June 15, 2019, 08:04:31 PM »

How and where was it shown that way and it what level of EIS?  It doesn't match what is already there to the east.  Single managed lane each way.
http://www.virginiadot.org/projects/resources/hampton_roads/64HighRiseDocuments/Alternatives_Development_Technical_Report.pdf

It was indicated in the Final Environmental Assessment - Alternatives Development Technical Report on Page 49. Two general purpose lanes and two managed lanes each way. On the bottom, it even says "HOT Lane Scenario"



Those typical sections correlate with the alternative they selected - managed lanes. They indicated in what you posted above they would choose at a later time the type of management - HO/T lanes, HOV lanes, or all lanes tolled. They have since gone with the HO/T lane alternative - meaning it would follow this typical section ultimately. Unless they change it, that's what it currently is now. I'm hoping they will use common sense and change it to 3+1 each way, but that's where it stands now.

From various Facebook and community groups I'm involved with here in the area, and from speaking to friends of mine about this project, I can say the HO/T concept is not favored in Hampton Roads, and many say they don't want this area to become like Northern Virginia. Many wanted the current Phase #1 widening to be GP only, and don't favor the current 1 lane HO/T addition. One of the reasons I support converting this current lane into a GP lane, then adding -one- HO/T lane later. The current approved typical section ultimately of 2+2 each way is highly disliked, and quite frankly doesn't make sense judging by the 3+1 each way east of VA-168.
« Last Edit: June 15, 2019, 08:10:07 PM by sprjus4 »
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