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Author Topic: Northern Virginia HOT Lanes  (Read 303022 times)

Beltway

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Re: Northern Virginia HOT Lanes
« Reply #25 on: September 05, 2012, 02:01:57 PM »

I-81 across Virginia, West Virginia, Maryland and Pennsylvania cries out for tolling (of all traffic, not just trucks) - all the way from Bristol, Va. to someplace in Pennsylvania (Hazleton, or Scranton perhaps?).

The collective voice of motorists cry against such tolling...

But I think the truck-only tolling that was studied in Virginia's part of the I-81 corridor ultimately failed (in part) because it was perceived as unfair to the trucking industry, even though  Virginia is one of the few states that imposes a higher Diesel fuel tax on heavier trucks, which must pay an additional 3.5¢ per gallon.

They cried against it when it was revised to tolling all vehicles, and they are crying against it now that the TEA-21 pilot project has been transferred to VA I-95.  They cry against it everywhere ... :-(
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Scott M. Savage
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cpzilliacus

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Re: Northern Virginia HOT Lanes
« Reply #26 on: September 05, 2012, 02:58:24 PM »

I-81 across Virginia, West Virginia, Maryland and Pennsylvania cries out for tolling (of all traffic, not just trucks) - all the way from Bristol, Va. to someplace in Pennsylvania (Hazleton, or Scranton perhaps?).

The collective voice of motorists cry against such tolling...

But I think the truck-only tolling that was studied in Virginia's part of the I-81 corridor ultimately failed (in part) because it was perceived as unfair to the trucking industry, even though  Virginia is one of the few states that imposes a higher Diesel fuel tax on heavier trucks, which must pay an additional 3.5¢ per gallon.

They cried against it when it was revised to tolling all vehicles, and they are crying against it now that the TEA-21 pilot project has been transferred to VA I-95.  They cry against it everywhere ... :-(

As I have told you in the past, I am indifferent as to how the maintenance and expansion of the highway system is funded. 

But most states (including Virginia) will need to choose between [higher] motor fuel taxes, tolls or perhaps a VMT tax (similar to the TollCollect.de system used to collect tolls from heavy trucks on the German autobahn network and certain other highways).
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cpzilliacus

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Re: Northern Virginia HOT Lanes
« Reply #27 on: September 05, 2012, 04:42:16 PM »

The proposed Massaponax terminal for the reversible roadway is logical, because any directional split south of there wouldn't typically occur at times that are oriented toward D.C. area weekday peak commuting hours.

Though I have [recently] seen single-family homes for sale in Caroline County, Va. that were clearly being marketed to residents of the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area.  Not sure that this justifies a barrier-separated roadway south to (and beyond) Thornburg - but just putting that out there.

Not very many people would make a 70+ mile commute, not to where it would significantly impact a 6-lane Interstate.

Plenty of people commute from the Eastern Panhandle counties (Jefferson and Berkeley) of West Virginia to D.C. and places in its orbit, including Loudoun and Fairfax Counties in Virginia and Frederick and Montgomery Counties in Maryland.  The Maryland Department of Transportation's MARC commuter rail system even provides service between Martinsburg, W.Va. and Washington Union Station (according to Google Maps, that's better than 80 miles by highway). 

Real estate agents in those West Virginia counties routinely market properties to residents of jurisdictions closer to D.C. (and frequently tout how far it is from a property to the nearest MARC stop).
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cpzilliacus

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Re: Northern Virginia HOT Lanes
« Reply #28 on: September 05, 2012, 05:19:00 PM »

[Full disclosure - I know Lon Anderson somewhat personally]

WTOP Radio: AAA renews debate on length of I-95 Express Lanes

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Construction of the new Express Lanes on Interstate 95 in Northern Virginia has reopened the debate on why the project won't go all the way to the D.C. line.

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On WTOP, AAA Mid-Atlantic spokesman Lon Anderson again pointed the finger at Arlington County for filing a lawsuit that led to a decision to shorten the Express Lanes.
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Beltway

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Re: Northern Virginia HOT Lanes
« Reply #29 on: September 05, 2012, 05:47:12 PM »

Not very many people would make a 70+ mile commute, not to where it would significantly impact a 6-lane Interstate.

Plenty of people commute from the Eastern Panhandle counties (Jefferson and Berkeley) of West Virginia to D.C. and places in its orbit, including Loudoun and Fairfax Counties in Virginia and Frederick and Montgomery Counties in Maryland.  The Maryland Department of Transportation's MARC commuter rail system even provides service between Martinsburg, W.Va. and Washington Union Station (according to Google Maps, that's better than 80 miles by highway). 

Real estate agents in those West Virginia counties routinely market properties to residents of jurisdictions closer to D.C. (and frequently tout how far it is from a property to the nearest MARC stop).

Still not enough to where a 2-lane freeway roadway has been provided over the whole distance, though.  That reinforces my point.
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Scott M. Savage
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mtantillo

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Re: Northern Virginia HOT Lanes
« Reply #30 on: September 06, 2012, 01:30:54 PM »

Free trial on the I-495 Express Lanes for two weeks in January.  There's a catch: you have to sign up for a Virginia E-ZPass in the month of September, register for the I-495 Express website, and be a legal resident of DC, Charles/PG/Montgomery/Frederick Counties (MD), or Arlington/Fairfax/Prince William/Loudoun Counties (VA). 

Details here: http://495expresslanes.com/offer

If we can get enough locals signed up for this offer and/or people to get Flex transponders and pack 3 into a vehicle, I might consider hosting an informal meet on one of those two weekends to drive the lanes for free. 
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Re: Northern Virginia HOT Lanes
« Reply #31 on: September 12, 2012, 07:50:01 PM »

Washington Post: Fairfax board approves express buses to Tysons

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The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors approved a plan Tuesday to provide express bus service that will travel to Tysons Corner using the 495 Express Lanes.
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1995hoo

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Re: Northern Virginia HOT Lanes
« Reply #32 on: September 13, 2012, 10:25:07 AM »

Free trial on the I-495 Express Lanes for two weeks in January.  There's a catch: you have to sign up for a Virginia E-ZPass in the month of September, register for the I-495 Express website, and be a legal resident of DC, Charles/PG/Montgomery/Frederick Counties (MD), or Arlington/Fairfax/Prince William/Loudoun Counties (VA). 

Details here: http://495expresslanes.com/offer

If we can get enough locals signed up for this offer and/or people to get Flex transponders and pack 3 into a vehicle, I might consider hosting an informal meet on one of those two weekends to drive the lanes for free. 

I understand the rationale of restricting this to new E-ZPass subscribers, but it still kind of bugs me that those of us who have had the transponders for years don't get any kind of a break. It's sort of like how DirecTV constantly goes after new customers with promos like free NFL Sunday Ticket but doesn't offer anything comparable to people who have been long-time customers.

I will not be getting the Flex transponder since I almost never have three people in the car and I don't want to pay a fee when our two current transponders are still free. Perhaps when it comes time to replace them I might consider the Flex, but I doubt it.
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Beltway

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Re: Northern Virginia HOT Lanes
« Reply #33 on: September 13, 2012, 10:38:48 AM »

I will not be getting the Flex transponder since I almost never have three people in the car and I don't want to pay a fee when our two current transponders are still free. Perhaps when it comes time to replace them I might consider the Flex, but I doubt it.

Same here ... I live in the Richmond area, where there are no managed lanes, I'll probably benefit from NOVA HOT lanes maybe 3 or 4 times per year.  No need for the Flex transponder.
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Scott M. Savage
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cpzilliacus

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Re: Northern Virginia HOT Lanes
« Reply #34 on: September 17, 2012, 11:41:33 PM »

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1995hoo

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Re: Northern Virginia HOT Lanes
« Reply #35 on: September 24, 2012, 10:46:04 PM »

Dr. Gridlock reported this weekend that one casualty of the I-95 HO/T project is to be the express lane exit marked "Lorton" that's located just south of the Fairfax County Parkway interchange in Newington. Traffic entering the reversible carriageway from the Franconia–Springfield Parkway will not be able to exit until the US-1 interchange near Woodbridge (Exit 161 from the general-purpose lanes) and won't be able to pop over to the general-purpose lanes via a slip ramp until the flyover near Potomac Mills Mall.

That puts a serious crimp in my theory about being willing to pay the toll southbound for the short distance from the Parkway to that ramp, as it is to be a permanent closure. There's to be a new HO/T exit at about that same place (connecting more or less to Boudinot Drive at Alban Road), so the closure is probably to make way for that construction.
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"You know, you never have a guaranteed spot until you have a spot guaranteed."
—Olaf Kolzig, as quoted in the Washington Times on March 28, 2003,
commenting on the Capitals clinching a playoff spot.

"That sounded stupid, didn't it?"—Kolzig, to the same reporter a few seconds later.

cpzilliacus

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Re: Northern Virginia HOT Lanes
« Reply #36 on: October 17, 2012, 03:00:14 PM »

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1995hoo

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Re: Northern Virginia HOT Lanes
« Reply #37 on: October 17, 2012, 05:25:11 PM »

WTOP Radio: Drivers urged to get E-ZPass before Express Lanes open

Dr. Gridlock had two blog entries about the new lanes today. The second one, titled Virginia express lanes operator prepares for opening, contains the following sentence that I think in some ways constitutes the best, most succinct distillation I've heard of how the new lanes are to work:

Quote
“We’re opening a new Interstate highway inside an Interstate highway,” Jennifer Aument, a Transurban vice president, said Wednesday during a briefing about the new lanes.

The idea of thinking of the Express Lanes as a separate road is a very useful way to think about how the lanes function because they have their own separate set of exits and entrances, rather than serving as an adjunct to the general-purpose lanes.
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"You know, you never have a guaranteed spot until you have a spot guaranteed."
—Olaf Kolzig, as quoted in the Washington Times on March 28, 2003,
commenting on the Capitals clinching a playoff spot.

"That sounded stupid, didn't it?"—Kolzig, to the same reporter a few seconds later.

cpzilliacus

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Re: Northern Virginia HOT Lanes
« Reply #38 on: October 31, 2012, 12:59:17 PM »

Examiner: Beltway Express Lanes to open before Thanksgiving

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Drivers could be using the Beltway Express lanes to cruise to Thanksgiving feasts.

Quote
The 14 miles of special toll lanes will open early, as soon as Nov. 17, in plenty of time for Turkey Day travel, the Virginia Department of Transportation announced Wednesday.
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1995hoo

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Re: Northern Virginia HOT Lanes
« Reply #39 on: October 31, 2012, 02:18:06 PM »

The project's website confirms it is indeed Saturday the 17th. Interesting twist in having it open prior to the Thanksgiving travel crunch.

Once upon a time I might have considered trying to go out there at night to be the "first one to drive there," but since they've had test caravans going through for months that seems dumb. I may try to go for a drive on it that weekend, but I may not—Ms1995hoo and I are hosting Thanksgiving dinner this year and that weekend is a prime opportunity to get a lot of stuff done.
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"You know, you never have a guaranteed spot until you have a spot guaranteed."
—Olaf Kolzig, as quoted in the Washington Times on March 28, 2003,
commenting on the Capitals clinching a playoff spot.

"That sounded stupid, didn't it?"—Kolzig, to the same reporter a few seconds later.

cpzilliacus

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Re: Northern Virginia HOT Lanes
« Reply #40 on: October 31, 2012, 03:37:28 PM »

The project's website confirms it is indeed Saturday the 17th. Interesting twist in having it open prior to the Thanksgiving travel crunch.

Once upon a time I might have considered trying to go out there at night to be the "first one to drive there," but since they've had test caravans going through for months that seems dumb. I may try to go for a drive on it that weekend, but I may not—Ms1995hoo and I are hosting Thanksgiving dinner this year and that weekend is a prime opportunity to get a lot of stuff done.

Interestingly, Maryland got the Contracts B and C section of the InterCounty Connector open just before Thanksgiving last year.
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cpzilliacus

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Re: Northern Virginia HOT Lanes
« Reply #41 on: November 01, 2012, 11:42:28 AM »

TOLLROADSnews: VA/495 Express Lanes to open November 17

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For a bold project the announcement of its start-up sounded tentative, even timid. The 495 Express Lanes "will open as early as November 17," the first announcement from VDOT and the Express Lanes operator Transurban said.

Quote
They were aiming for November 17, a Saturday start-up, but it just might be postponed, probably to the following weekend if complications arose in the meantime.

Quote
When pressed today however the Transurban people soon said November 17 was indeed a firm start date. And a couple of hours later the 495 Express Lanes (495XL) website discarded the wimpish "as soon as" saying simply the express lanes "will open" November 17.
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Re: Northern Virginia HOT Lanes
« Reply #42 on: November 01, 2012, 12:08:54 PM »

Most of the tarps have been removed from BGSs in the express lanes as of this morning...

In other news, tree removal on the I-95 HOT lanes south of Dumfries is very far along...essentially no trees left north of Exit 148 with some grading work occurring.

Major progress on tree removal from Aquia Creek to the Telegraph Rd overpass has also occurred.

Mapmikey
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1995hoo

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Re: Northern Virginia HOT Lanes
« Reply #43 on: November 01, 2012, 12:14:05 PM »

I'll be interested in seeing how the new HOV ramps in the Springfield Interchange alter the traffic flow through there. Those are the part of this whole thing to which I've most been looking forward because I might use them regularly—or at least, I would have used them regularly if the NHL weren't in a lockout again (we have Capitals season tickets).

We're heading out to the mountains on Saturday, so perhaps we can snag some pictures of the nearly-completed lanes. There's an "E-ZPass Express" reassurance shield just north of the new Braddock Road HO/T ramp on the left side of the road and I've been unsuccessful in getting a picture of it (always too grainy due to distance). Doubt I can get that one, but I'm interested in finally seeing all the signs. I've seen some of them and so I have a pretty good sense of what the others look like, but to me one of the biggest questions about this project was always whether they would do an adequate job with the signs. We'll soon find out.
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"You know, you never have a guaranteed spot until you have a spot guaranteed."
—Olaf Kolzig, as quoted in the Washington Times on March 28, 2003,
commenting on the Capitals clinching a playoff spot.

"That sounded stupid, didn't it?"—Kolzig, to the same reporter a few seconds later.

1995hoo

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Re: Northern Virginia HOT Lanes
« Reply #44 on: November 02, 2012, 05:29:47 PM »

Dr. Gridlock put this image on Twitter. It's taken from the new Jones Branch Drive entrance to the Express Lanes looking south towards Tysons Corner Center (barely visible on the right below the "Shopping Bag Building"). I'm not sure what the other on-ramp to the left is, but I assume it probably comes from the Dulles Toll Road. I asked him about it and will edit this post if he replies.

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"You know, you never have a guaranteed spot until you have a spot guaranteed."
—Olaf Kolzig, as quoted in the Washington Times on March 28, 2003,
commenting on the Capitals clinching a playoff spot.

"That sounded stupid, didn't it?"—Kolzig, to the same reporter a few seconds later.

1995hoo

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Re: Northern Virginia HOT Lanes
« Reply #45 on: November 03, 2012, 10:55:04 PM »

Took the Beltway to I-66 this morning on the way out and then took it from the Toll Road to Van Dorn on the way home. Best look yet at the new signs, although I didn't get any pictures (too dark on the way home, traffic on the way out). Most of the signs look pretty good. Ms1995hoo remarked that uncovering them two weeks early is, in theory, a good idea because people can learn where the exits are even if they don't visit the project website. I agree in theory, though I think in practice it won't really work out that way.

What I wish the website had is some more photos, and specifically I think photos of some of the new ramp configurations would be nice. The Dulles Toll Road interchange is the main one where this would help. There are a lot of new ramps there going in various directions and it'd be nice to see some detailed pictures before driving them for the first time.

BTW, since they resurfaced the road it's a much nicer drive. Finally having reflectors as part of the lane markings is long-overdue. Maybe it's a sign of my eyes aging, but I sure like how they make the lane delineations clearer.
« Last Edit: November 03, 2012, 10:59:05 PM by 1995hoo »
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"You know, you never have a guaranteed spot until you have a spot guaranteed."
—Olaf Kolzig, as quoted in the Washington Times on March 28, 2003,
commenting on the Capitals clinching a playoff spot.

"That sounded stupid, didn't it?"—Kolzig, to the same reporter a few seconds later.

cpzilliacus

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Re: Northern Virginia HOT Lanes
« Reply #46 on: November 06, 2012, 09:00:04 AM »

Los Angeles, California is also in the process of opening HOV/toll lanes.

See this thread that I started in the  Pacific Southwest forum for details: Metro Debuts New Express Lanes On 110 Freeway
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1995hoo

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Re: Northern Virginia HOT Lanes
« Reply #47 on: November 09, 2012, 05:23:21 PM »

Couple of pictures from the Virginia Megaprojects website:


This one is looking north through the Tysons area and it was taken on October 18. The Shopping Bag Building is on the left just after the interchange and then Tysons Corner Center is just beyond that. The long concrete overpass about three-quarters of the way up the photo is the elevated structure for the Metrorail line.




Aerial view of the Springfield Interchange, also from October 18. Top of the picture is south.




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"You know, you never have a guaranteed spot until you have a spot guaranteed."
—Olaf Kolzig, as quoted in the Washington Times on March 28, 2003,
commenting on the Capitals clinching a playoff spot.

"That sounded stupid, didn't it?"—Kolzig, to the same reporter a few seconds later.

cpzilliacus

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Re: Northern Virginia HOT Lanes
« Reply #48 on: November 11, 2012, 04:50:45 PM »

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Re: Northern Virginia HOT Lanes
« Reply #49 on: November 11, 2012, 05:26:09 PM »

So, will people wanting to get to/from the I-95 HOV lanes from the Beltway be able to do so with those new ramps without paying a tolls? That flyover from the HOV lanes to I-95 northbound to get on the Beltway and stay with I-95 is quite annoying.
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