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Author Topic: Northern Virginia HOT Lanes  (Read 342594 times)

sprjus4

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Re: Northern Virginia HOT Lanes
« Reply #1500 on: August 08, 2019, 10:59:23 AM »

WTOP reports something that seems like it would have been expected (as to the result, that is): VDOT has decreased tolls a bit on I-66 and average speeds have also decreased.

https://wtop.com/dc-transit/2019/08/i-66-speeds-drop-as-virginia-lowers-tolls/
When you look at the bigger picture instead of just narrowing in on the I-66 corridor, it’s had an overall benefit for traffic flow on other roads. I’m supportive of the decrease, it’s more affordable and allows more people to use it, even with slightly slower speeds overall.

VDOT should consider widening I-66 to 6 lanes which would allow for a lower toll for all and keep traffic flowing in the 45-55 mph range. But likely RE/T groups and NIMBY would lose it.
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jeffandnicole

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Re: Northern Virginia HOT Lanes
« Reply #1501 on: August 08, 2019, 12:28:51 PM »

WTOP reports something that seems like it would have been expected (as to the result, that is): VDOT has decreased tolls a bit on I-66 and average speeds have also decreased.

https://wtop.com/dc-transit/2019/08/i-66-speeds-drop-as-virginia-lowers-tolls/
When you look at the bigger picture instead of just narrowing in on the I-66 corridor, it’s had an overall benefit for traffic flow on other roads. I’m supportive of the decrease, it’s more affordable and allows more people to use it, even with slightly slower speeds overall.

VDOT should consider widening I-66 to 6 lanes which would allow for a lower toll for all and keep traffic flowing in the 45-55 mph range. But likely RE/T groups and NIMBY would lose it.

I think VDOT has done a good job of widening roadways when possible...after all, look at 95 & 495. I-66 has had a long history though of why widening is nearly impossible...and why HOV and now HOT lanes have been implemented in the first place.  And ultimately, the issue will be what to do with the traffic at the end of I-66.  You can widen the road to 20 lanes if you want, but if you have the same restrictive portal at the end, all it's going to do is bring up discussions of why zipper merging is best and everyone else is wrong.  :-D
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sprjus4

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Re: Northern Virginia HOT Lanes
« Reply #1502 on: August 08, 2019, 01:16:00 PM »

I think VDOT has done a good job of widening roadways when possible
I’ll believe it when I-95 is 8 general purposes lanes between Woodbridge and I-295, I-64 is 6 general purpose lanes between Williamsburg and I-295, and I-81 is 6 general purpose lanes throughout the state. All of those are possible, but they haven’t done it. I understand the restrictions with money, but they’re behind 400+ miles for widening, so I wouldn’t say they’ve done a “good job”. Maybe north of Woodbridge, but south of Woodbridge they’re lacking.
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1995hoo

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Re: Northern Virginia HOT Lanes
« Reply #1503 on: August 08, 2019, 01:18:27 PM »

Widening I-66 east of Spout Run Parkway would pose a lot of difficulties, setting aside the issue of the Roosevelt Bridge constraining capacity.
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jeffandnicole

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Re: Northern Virginia HOT Lanes
« Reply #1504 on: August 08, 2019, 02:05:57 PM »

I think VDOT has done a good job of widening roadways when possible
I’ll believe it when I-95 is 8 general purposes lanes between Woodbridge and I-295, I-64 is 6 general purpose lanes between Williamsburg and I-295, and I-81 is 6 general purpose lanes throughout the state. All of those are possible, but they haven’t done it. I understand the restrictions with money, but they’re behind 400+ miles for widening, so I wouldn’t say they’ve done a “good job”. Maybe north of Woodbridge, but south of Woodbridge they’re lacking.

Not only with money, but you're also focusing on interstates.  There are numerous local issues to deal with as well. They could switch gears and widen the interstates, but then you'll be complaining the traffic on the local roads need improving as well.

Transportation departments understand that congestion will happen.  But there's always going to be give and take, and while you may want certain highways widened, there are numerous other people that fight those widenings tooth and nail.  Not only NIMBYs, but others as well.
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cpzilliacus

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Re: Northern Virginia HOT Lanes
« Reply #1505 on: August 09, 2019, 11:02:14 AM »

Widening I-66 east of Spout Run Parkway would pose a lot of difficulties, setting aside the issue of the Roosevelt Bridge constraining capacity.

Though by the time that I-66 gets to the Teddy Roosevelt Bridge, a lot of eastbound traffic has exited (though some enters from Rosslyn and from U.S. 50/Arlington Boulevard.  The maximum load point for I-66 (in both directions) remains between Sycamore Street and Fairfax Drive.  This is the case eastbound in AM and westbound in PM.   This is also why tolls in the AM sometimes can famously spike at north of $40.
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mrsman

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Re: Northern Virginia HOT Lanes
« Reply #1506 on: August 11, 2019, 03:07:01 PM »

WTOP reports something that seems like it would have been expected (as to the result, that is): VDOT has decreased tolls a bit on I-66 and average speeds have also decreased.

https://wtop.com/dc-transit/2019/08/i-66-speeds-drop-as-virginia-lowers-tolls/
When you look at the bigger picture instead of just narrowing in on the I-66 corridor, it’s had an overall benefit for traffic flow on other roads. I’m supportive of the decrease, it’s more affordable and allows more people to use it, even with slightly slower speeds overall.

VDOT should consider widening I-66 to 6 lanes which would allow for a lower toll for all and keep traffic flowing in the 45-55 mph range. But likely RE/T groups and NIMBY would lose it.

I am glad that they lowered the target speed (and hence the tolls) to 45 MPH.  Realistically, I-66 would be faster than surface streets so long as the average speed on I-66 is at least 35 MPH.  You want to relieve the traffic on the surface streets, as much as possible.  A 55 MPH target was overkill, and the price was simply too high!

THe goal for HOT lanes should be: 1) provide HOVs with a decent experience, but not free flow during rush; 2) allow SOVs to join in for a price, so long as it doesn't degrade the experience for HOVs; 3) Provide balance in the street and highway network so that no surface road gets overburdened.  I feel that the old system was not balanced and it favored 1 & 2 at the expense of 3.  A 45 MPH goal is better.  I-66, for those who qualify, will still be the fastest way inbound from that direction, but the pricing will now be feasible for more people.  This, in turn, will unburden the local streets.

45 MPH is not free flow, but it is still quite fast for the inner suburbs at rush hour.
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ARMOURERERIC

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Re: Northern Virginia HOT Lanes
« Reply #1507 on: August 11, 2019, 04:51:58 PM »

45 would probably be a better speed than if 66 & 266 were built as originally planned.
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jeffandnicole

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Re: Northern Virginia HOT Lanes
« Reply #1508 on: August 11, 2019, 06:50:04 PM »

Quote
1) provide HOVs with a decent experience, but not free flow during rush; 2) allow SOVs to join in for a price, so long as it doesn't degrade the experience for HOVs;

These clash.

Either you keep traffic moving for all, or you degrade the HOV experience. If the HOV drivers are already experiencing congestion then adding SOV vehicles will increase the congestion. If HOV traffic is moving already, you can only allow so many SOV drivers on before the lanes start to congest.

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famartin

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Re: Northern Virginia HOT Lanes
« Reply #1509 on: August 11, 2019, 07:00:08 PM »

Quote
1) provide HOVs with a decent experience, but not free flow during rush; 2) allow SOVs to join in for a price, so long as it doesn't degrade the experience for HOVs;

These clash.

Either you keep traffic moving for all, or you degrade the HOV experience. If the HOV drivers are already experiencing congestion then adding SOV vehicles will increase the congestion. If HOV traffic is moving already, you can only allow so many SOV drivers on before the lanes start to congest.

It seems to me that HOV's already drive slower than the average person, so they inherently have a degraded experience  :-D
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Beltway

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Re: Northern Virginia HOT Lanes
« Reply #1510 on: August 13, 2019, 10:26:33 PM »

I think VDOT has done a good job of widening roadways when possible
I’ll believe it when I-95 is 8 general purposes lanes between Woodbridge and I-295, I-64 is 6 general purpose lanes between Williamsburg and I-295, and I-81 is 6 general purpose lanes throughout the state. All of those are possible, but they haven’t done it. I understand the restrictions with money, but they’re behind 400+ miles for widening, so I wouldn’t say they’ve done a “good job”. Maybe north of Woodbridge, but south of Woodbridge they’re lacking.
VDOT has already widened over 300 miles of freeways to 6 or more lanes, and this was one of the first states to have major freeway widening projects. 

I can't think of any state that comes anywhere near 700 miles other than Florida (and few have as much as 300 miles), with perhaps 600 miles, and that is in a state that has 3 times the population of Virginia.
 
Besides, I will be saying a lot more going forward about the unbuilt Washington Eastern Bypass, which I posted about several days ago in the I-97 thread.  Now that Maryland has decided on a US-301 location and is about to begin construction of a new 4-lane Potomac River Bridge, that will be a critical link in any future eastern bypass, and now Maryland needs to get serious about planning it, they are on the critical path, and that would be between I-95 at Carmel Church and I-97 at Dorrs Corner, paralleling VA-207, US-301 and MD-3, built to full freeway standards.

It is ridiculous that I-95 has to carry all the weight south of I-495, and is expected by some to be expanded because Maryland has never gotten serious about an outer bypass of Washington.  With sufficient relief much of I-95 may work fine with 6 lanes.
 
« Last Edit: August 13, 2019, 11:45:13 PM by Beltway »
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sprjus4

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Re: Northern Virginia HOT Lanes
« Reply #1511 on: August 14, 2019, 12:16:04 AM »

With sufficient relief much of I-95 may work fine with 6 lanes.
I-95 between I-295 and Woodbridge would still need 8-lanes, though an outer bypass would certainly be welcomed.

The rural stretches of I-95 south of Fredericksburg that would not be bypassed currently have recurring congestion issues, especially during peak travel times. Those would continue even with an outer bypass.

Also, a study would need to be conducted to see how much of the traffic is actually thru traffic and how much would be diverted. It could only be something 30,000 AADT, and that’s great to take that load of I-95 and get long-distance traffic on its way, but I-95 would still need 8-lanes nonetheless. A significant amount of the traffic on I-95 is destined to the Northern Virginia / Southern Maryland area and would not be diverted by the outer bypass.

An example of such is SH-130, an 85-mile toll bypass around Austin, Texas. It’s a nice road that allows thru traffic to bypass the horrible mess that I-35 is, and has diverted some traffic, but I-35 still remains a mess and still needs massive expansions, even w/ the bypass in place.

The southern part of the bypass only carries as little as 5,000 AADT, while I-35 carries well over 100,000 AADT.
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Beltway

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Re: Northern Virginia HOT Lanes
« Reply #1512 on: August 14, 2019, 12:25:46 AM »

With sufficient relief much of I-95 may work fine with 6 lanes.
I-95 between I-295 and Woodbridge would still need 8-lanes, though an outer bypass would certainly be welcomed.
The rural stretches of I-95 south of Fredericksburg that would not be bypassed currently have recurring congestion issues, especially during peak travel times. Those would continue even with an outer bypass.
That would be south of Carmel Church to I-295, the only section that would be on single routing.

The fact is, by having another north-south freeway between there and Baltimore, the pressures would be considerably lessened, providing parallel freeway capacity to I-95, relief for I-95, and an alternate route for traffic that wants to bypass Washington.

Also, a study would need to be conducted to see how much of the traffic is actually thru traffic and how much would be diverted. It could only be something 30,000 AADT
Knock 30,000 off of 100,000 and that is 70,000, workable with 6 lanes.

Whatever pressures there were for future widening would be greatly lessened.

If the eastern bypass had been completed, then the two states could start working on the western bypass, between I-95 at Fredericksburg and I-70 at Mount Airy.
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tolbs17

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Re: Northern Virginia HOT Lanes
« Reply #1513 on: August 17, 2019, 09:20:44 PM »

With sufficient relief much of I-95 may work fine with 6 lanes.
I-95 between I-295 and Woodbridge would still need 8-lanes, though an outer bypass would certainly be welcomed.



Either do that or make a new eastern DC bypass which i think would be very expensive. That part would need 8 lanes and maybe 2 or 4 express lanes in each direction.
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1995hoo

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Re: Northern Virginia HOT Lanes
« Reply #1514 on: August 23, 2019, 11:39:08 AM »

Just rode the WMATA shuttle to the Pentagon via the general-purpose lanes (HOV was closed to reverse the direction). Lots of old signs have been removed this week. Most notable to me was what I’m pretty sure was the last of the old white-on-black signs, an “ALL TRAFFIC” pull-through for southbound traffic at Turkeycock. That sign had to come down because it was for two lanes where there will now be three. The old-style rectangular red all-text “DO NOT ENTER” sign next to it is gone as well. Two of that style remain locally, though they’re both likely doomed—they’re at the left-side HOV ramps on I-66 at Monument Drive and Stringfellow Road, and they’ll likely come down during the I-66 HO/T project.

The pull-through BGS near the Pentagon that used a control “city” of “14th Street Br” is gone as well. Its replacement says simply “Washington.” The old sign was nearing the end of its lifespan even without the HO/T project because the green was peeling off.

Still a decent amount of work to be done on the road around Turkeycock and between roughly King Street and the overpass that leads to Ridge Road, but they’ve made a lot of progress even in just the past two weeks.
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cpzilliacus

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Re: Northern Virginia HOT Lanes
« Reply #1515 on: September 27, 2019, 01:16:04 PM »

VDOT has a Web site online that describes the extension of the 495 Express Lanes up to the American Legion Bridge that I recently became aware of:

https://www.495northernextension.org/
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Beltway

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Re: Northern Virginia HOT Lanes
« Reply #1516 on: September 27, 2019, 01:50:53 PM »

VDOT has a Web site online that describes the extension of the 495 Express Lanes up to the American Legion Bridge that I recently became aware of:
https://www.495northernextension.org/
It would be great if they could move forward with the study of the "gap project", the 1.7 miles of I-495 that is still 4 lanes each way, between the Springfield Interchange Project eastern limits and the Woodrow Wilson Bridge Project western limits.  Those projects included a managed lane each way except for a very short section near US-1.

I would like to see a 5 lane added each way so that the managed lanes could be opened all the way on the southern section of the Beltway to near Allentown Road in Maryland.
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AlexandriaVA

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Re: Northern Virginia HOT Lanes
« Reply #1517 on: September 30, 2019, 10:03:14 PM »

I noticed that the future information boards (VMS style) for the HOT lanes now have a message mentioning that the extended HOT lanes will kick in in "November".
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Beltway

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Re: Northern Virginia HOT Lanes
« Reply #1518 on: September 30, 2019, 10:17:31 PM »

I noticed that the future information boards (VMS style) for the HOT lanes now have a message mentioning that the extended HOT lanes will kick in in "November".

Assuming this is I-395.  Has the third lane opened yet?
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AlexandriaVA

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Re: Northern Virginia HOT Lanes
« Reply #1519 on: September 30, 2019, 10:35:32 PM »

I noticed that the future information boards (VMS style) for the HOT lanes now have a message mentioning that the extended HOT lanes will kick in in "November".

Assuming this is I-395.  Has the third lane opened yet?

Opened? No. But they are effectively complete - there are simply cones blocking off the third lane from around Turkeycock to at least Shirlington. Most of the work is presently on sound walls abutting 395, which is ancillary to the overall project. The remaining road work of note on the HOT carriageway is around the Pentagon.

Here's the new arrangement (assuming an inbound heading):

[concrete barrier][lane 1][lane 2][lane 3][shoulder][concrete barrier]

Lane 1 is the new lane, and occupies what used to be the western shoulder - it currently is blocked by cones.

The east-side shoulder remains as-is. So the shoulder will be to the right during inbound hours, and to the left during outbound hours.

The concrete barriers have replaced the old lattice metal barriers. The roadway on the central carriageway is is notably better condition than the general purpose lanes (not too surprising). The lights for the HOT carriageway are LED, while the GP lanes remain old sodium vapor lamps.
« Last Edit: September 30, 2019, 10:40:45 PM by AlexandriaVA »
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sprjus4

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Re: Northern Virginia HOT Lanes
« Reply #1520 on: September 30, 2019, 11:30:19 PM »

Lane 1 is the new lane, and occupies what used to be the western shoulder - it currently is blocked by cones.

The east-side shoulder remains as-is. So the shoulder will be to the right during inbound hours, and to the left during outbound hours.
So essentially - they simply converted one of the shoulders into a travel lane, and then reduced the size of the other shoulder to accommodate all the lanes and/or reduced the lane sizes to 11 ft?
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AlexandriaVA

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Re: Northern Virginia HOT Lanes
« Reply #1521 on: October 01, 2019, 09:45:36 AM »

Lane 1 is the new lane, and occupies what used to be the western shoulder - it currently is blocked by cones.

The east-side shoulder remains as-is. So the shoulder will be to the right during inbound hours, and to the left during outbound hours.
So essentially - they simply converted one of the shoulders into a travel lane, and then reduced the size of the other shoulder to accommodate all the lanes and/or reduced the lane sizes to 11 ft?

Precisely. The old configuration was:

[lattice railing][shoulder][lane 2][lane 3][shoulder][lattice railing].

("Lane 1" only exists now thanks to the reconfiguration of the lanes, so I marked the two old lanes as 2 and 3 for purposes of consistency).
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Beltway

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Re: Northern Virginia HOT Lanes
« Reply #1522 on: October 02, 2019, 12:28:40 AM »

Dear Slugs/Drivers:
There are a lot of changes to the 395 Express Lanes, so I wanted to share with you the latest information. 

395 Express Lanes: Slugs, and drivers, are free to DC

The 395 Express Lanes will open this November and the project team has announced a perk to keep slugging strong on I-395. 

When the 395 Express Lanes open, drivers who carpool up to Eads Street and exit the Lanes to drop off sluggers will be able to get back on the Lanes for free – but other drivers who first get on the Lanes here will pay a toll.  (Of course, if you carpool the entire trip into DC, it’s free as well.)

That’s right, drivers who take sluggers to Eads Street get to go free for the rest of the trip.

How will it work?
-- Carpool up the northbound 395 Express Lanes with your Flex in HOV mode, just like normal.
-- Get off at Eads Street to drop off slugs at the Pentagon or Pentagon City.  (Or keep carpooling into DC.)
-- Switch your Flex to “HOV off” -- since you don’t have 3 people in the car anymore -- before you get back on the northbound Lanes from Eads Street.  That way you don’t risk getting pulled over by Virginia State Police troopers who are looking for real cheaters.
-- Even though your Flex will be set to “HOV off,” the operators will know you carpooled to Eads Street.  You won’t be charged to finish your trip to the city.


http://www.slug-lines.com/newsletter/newsletter36.html
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Re: Northern Virginia HOT Lanes
« Reply #1523 on: October 02, 2019, 09:41:27 AM »

I guess this is to cover "Person A", who picks up sluggers down south who themselves want to be dropped off at the Pentagon, whereas Person A doesn't have a need to park at the Pentagon. Person A can then continue to DC free of charge (I guess there's a charge between Eads and the 14th Street bridge?)

This might be one of the most niche/localized aspects of the Interstate Highway System I can think of. While out-of-towners could conceivably figure out the reversible HOT lane system on 395, this is locals only.
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Beltway

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Re: Northern Virginia HOT Lanes
« Reply #1524 on: October 02, 2019, 10:04:49 AM »

I guess this is to cover "Person A", who picks up sluggers down south who themselves want to be dropped off at the Pentagon, whereas Person A doesn't have a need to park at the Pentagon. Person A can then continue to DC free of charge (I guess there's a charge between Eads and the 14th Street bridge?)
For HOT-3 and less than 3 occupants apparently yes, excepting the vehicles who get off and on at Eads Street.

What about SB, can they benefit from this also?  Use the express lanes in D.C. with less than 3 persons, get off at the Pentagon, pick up slugs and get back on?  Slug-Lines.com needs to research that.

This might be one of the most niche/localized aspects of the Interstate Highway System I can think of. While out-of-towners could conceivably figure out the reversible HOT lane system on 395, this is locals only.
Locals being someone as far as the Fredericksburg area who commute into D.C.

I use the I-495 HOT lanes about 3 times per year and the I-95 HOT lanes 8 or 10 times per year, and enjoy the benefit as I have posted before.

My trips don't include I-395 so other than one time to take a look at it I won't need to use them.

I have made the rare trip thru D.C. in lieu of taking the Beltway around the east side, but other than with some major traffic incident it is not a competitive alternative.  The new 11th Street Bridge and DC-295 interchange completion does provide a continuous freeway route thru the city, but I don't know how much if any traffic it diverts from the Beltway.
 
« Last Edit: October 02, 2019, 10:11:05 AM by Beltway »
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