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Author Topic: Northern Virginia HOT Lanes  (Read 327688 times)

Alps

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Re: Northern Virginia HOT Lanes
« Reply #1700 on: December 01, 2019, 06:35:43 PM »

It's pretty easy to watch the traffic cameras in 3-5 minute increments multiple times and easily realize there's more demand southbound than northbound.
That is the problem with eyeball analysis, and not even while on the highway.

The historical traffic engineering analysis has been that on the last day of a major holiday weekend, that the net flow heavily favors the direction -toward- Washington, as in the net flow being the number of people returning to homes in the area; and that is why the express lanes are oriented that way all day long, and not just for half of the day.
That's the problem with having reversible HO/T lanes on a highway that has congestion issues in both directions.
That is a different problem and one I agree with.

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Re: Northern Virginia HOT Lanes
« Reply #1701 on: December 01, 2019, 08:24:51 PM »

It's pretty easy to watch the traffic cameras in 3-5 minute increments multiple times and easily realize there's more demand southbound than northbound.
That is the problem with eyeball analysis, and not even while on the highway.
The historical traffic engineering analysis has been that on the last day of a major holiday weekend, that the net flow heavily favors the direction -toward- Washington, as in the net flow being the number of people returning to homes in the area; and that is why the express lanes are oriented that way all day long, and not just for half of the day.
That's the problem with having reversible HO/T lanes on a highway that has congestion issues in both directions.
The reversible lanes have nothing to do with it. 

The pattern above has been observed by me (and traffic engineers) since the 1970s when I first drove in the area, and there were no reversible lanes south of Springfield then.  Heavy directional split all day long -toward- Washington on the Sunday after Thanksgiving and on the last day of a major holiday weekend.
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Re: Northern Virginia HOT Lanes
« Reply #1702 on: December 01, 2019, 10:51:18 PM »

The reversible lanes have nothing to do with it. 

The pattern above has been observed by me (and traffic engineers) since the 1970s when I first drove in the area, and there were no reversible lanes south of Springfield then.  Heavy directional split all day long -toward- Washington on the Sunday after Thanksgiving and on the last day of a major holiday weekend.
You're missing the point.

There was major congestion southbound today, and there were no HO/T lanes available for traffic to assist them. This "heavy" traffic flow northbound had the assistance of the HO/T lanes to ease traffic across all lanes and were able to have low, reasonable toll rates thruout most of the day and minimal congestion.

If they had two HO/T lanes in -both- directions, there likely would have been significantly less southbound congestion as well. That's a consequence of Transurban and VDOT's incompetence. Also, having only 3 lanes in one direction doesn't help things either.

This is something that actually applies to pretty much every Sunday thruout the year. There's always heavy congestion southbound, and minimal northbound due to the assistance of the HO/T lanes. If they had 2 HO/T lanes in -both- directions, there likely would have been significantly less southbound congestion as well. That's a consequence of Transurban and VDOT's incompetence. Also, having only 3 lanes in one direction doesn't help things either.

And don't give me this whole rinse-and-repeat about how Woodbridge <-> Springfield is already "fully built out". Back in the early 2000s when VDOT had been planning these HOV / HO/T extensions and designing the Springfield Interchange, the entire corridor between Woodbridge <-> Springfield could have reconstructed to have a setup similar to I-495 (4 + 2 each way) with the GP and HO/T lanes being divided by a 4 foot buffer, which would adequately fit in the corridor, and the Springfield Interchange could've been designed to accommodate a bi-directional setup. If there was more right of way issues, or there was absolutely 3 HO/T needed each way, then you could reduce the shoulder to 4 feet. Thatís not a foreign concept in HO/T lanes, especially when you have more than one each way. Itís been done in other places around the country, and is even being done in Hampton Roads on the HRBT expansion. Also, if you reduced the lane sizes to 11 feet, which they are on the existing reversible, thatís even more room. Again, it was VDOT's incompetence that failed to consider this, and it's now coming back to them. They did I-495 right, they're doing I-66 Outside the Beltway right, but they lacked with I-95, and continue to do so by continuing the "reversible" design on new extensions.
« Last Edit: December 01, 2019, 11:04:55 PM by sprjus4 »
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ARMOURERERIC

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Re: Northern Virginia HOT Lanes
« Reply #1703 on: December 01, 2019, 11:31:10 PM »

They could have done their job like the I15 lanes in San Diego, 4 lanes with a center moveable zipper that give 3 hovering in the heavy direction,  and one in the low direction or 2/2.
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Re: Northern Virginia HOT Lanes
« Reply #1704 on: December 01, 2019, 11:42:10 PM »

The reversible lanes have nothing to do with it. 
The pattern above has been observed by me (and traffic engineers) since the 1970s when I first drove in the area, and there were no reversible lanes south of Springfield then.  Heavy directional split all day long -toward- Washington on the Sunday after Thanksgiving and on the last day of a major holiday weekend.
You're missing the point.
There was major congestion southbound today, and there were no HO/T lanes available for traffic to assist them.
<<< big snip >>>

You're said this ad nauseum and with minor variations.  You know yourself that the moderators aren't going to put up with seeing another long argument where we go back and forth.
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Re: Northern Virginia HOT Lanes
« Reply #1705 on: December 01, 2019, 11:57:04 PM »

The reversible lanes have nothing to do with it. 
The pattern above has been observed by me (and traffic engineers) since the 1970s when I first drove in the area, and there were no reversible lanes south of Springfield then.  Heavy directional split all day long -toward- Washington on the Sunday after Thanksgiving and on the last day of a major holiday weekend.
You're missing the point.
There was major congestion southbound today, and there were no HO/T lanes available for traffic to assist them.
<<< big snip >>>

You're said this ad nauseum and with minor variations.  You know yourself that the moderators aren't going to put up with seeing another long argument where we go back and forth.
Simply pointing out a major flaw of VDOT and Transurban and responding to your assertion that the reversible lanes have nothing to do with it.

Iím not trying to start another long argument, just trying to put a fact out there. What is there to argue? Bi-directional would better serve traffic needs than a reversible one-way would. Itís basic logic.
« Last Edit: December 01, 2019, 11:59:06 PM by sprjus4 »
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Re: Northern Virginia HOT Lanes
« Reply #1706 on: December 02, 2019, 01:31:41 AM »

The reversible lanes have nothing to do with it. 
The pattern above has been observed by me (and traffic engineers) since the 1970s when I first drove in the area, and there were no reversible lanes south of Springfield then.  Heavy directional split all day long -toward- Washington on the Sunday after Thanksgiving and on the last day of a major holiday weekend.
You're missing the point.
There was major congestion southbound today, and there were no HO/T lanes available for traffic to assist them.
<<< big snip >>>

You're said this ad nauseum and with minor variations.  You know yourself that the moderators aren't going to put up with seeing another long argument where we go back and forth.
Simply pointing out a major flaw of VDOT and Transurban and responding to your assertion that the reversible lanes have nothing to do with it.

Iím not trying to start another long argument, just trying to put a fact out there. What is there to argue? Bi-directional would better serve traffic needs than a reversible one-way would. Itís basic logic.

Personally, I agree...there should've been 2 lanes each way. But the right of way and available room just didn't exist where it was needed the most

That said...you don't design a highway for 1 day out of the entire year, or even 1 day every few months. To say it should've been 2 lanes each way just to make the Sunday after Thanksgiving less congested is a waste of money on everyone's part, and no engineering firm or money provider, be it the state, feds or private consortium, would put forth the effort for such a design to deal with traffic 1 day out of the year.

It's been said why northbound was less congested than southbound, and we've tried reasoning with you on such. At this point, you're simply not caring about the reasons.
« Last Edit: December 02, 2019, 01:34:57 AM by jeffandnicole »
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sprjus4

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Re: Northern Virginia HOT Lanes
« Reply #1707 on: December 02, 2019, 06:57:11 AM »

The reversible lanes have nothing to do with it. 
The pattern above has been observed by me (and traffic engineers) since the 1970s when I first drove in the area, and there were no reversible lanes south of Springfield then.  Heavy directional split all day long -toward- Washington on the Sunday after Thanksgiving and on the last day of a major holiday weekend.
You're missing the point.
There was major congestion southbound today, and there were no HO/T lanes available for traffic to assist them.
<<< big snip >>>

You're said this ad nauseum and with minor variations.  You know yourself that the moderators aren't going to put up with seeing another long argument where we go back and forth.
Simply pointing out a major flaw of VDOT and Transurban and responding to your assertion that the reversible lanes have nothing to do with it.

Iím not trying to start another long argument, just trying to put a fact out there. What is there to argue? Bi-directional would better serve traffic needs than a reversible one-way would. Itís basic logic.

Personally, I agree...there should've been 2 lanes each way. But the right of way and available room just didn't exist where it was needed the most

That said...you don't design a highway for 1 day out of the entire year, or even 1 day every few months. To say it should've been 2 lanes each way just to make the Sunday after Thanksgiving less congested is a waste of money on everyone's part, and no engineering firm or money provider, be it the state, feds or private consortium, would put forth the effort for such a design to deal with traffic 1 day out of the year.

It's been said why northbound was less congested than southbound, and we've tried reasoning with you on such. At this point, you're simply not caring about the reasons.
The bi-directional HO/T lane setup is needed every weekend when thereís heavy traffic both ways but the HO/T lanes face northbound Sunday (congestion southbound), and southbound Saturday (congestion northbound, though to a lesser extent). Also, thereís times during the week that congestion forms both ways, and of course as you mention on peak weekends and holidays. Thereís also times when the lanes are being reversed that no direction has access, and there could easily be congestion at any point then, and has before.

So itís not just ďonce a monthĒ or ďonce a yearĒ. If itís such a waste of money, then why are they investing on 2 HO/T lanes both directions on I-66 west of DC, even though it could probably be reversible for the weekday schedule? The stretch on I-95 is about 30 miles long, and 25 miles of that thereís more than enough room, and for the northern most 5 miles, a design similar to I-495 would fit in the footprint or slightly over, without any major right of way impacts. It would have involved completely reconstructing the reversible lanes previously built, but in the long run, itís needed and still is needed. If anything, they couldíve built it bi-directional from the beginning instead of the reversible concept when it was HOV.

VDOT has put one solution on the table, which is running ďshoulder HO/T lanesĒ, basically opening the left shoulder as a HO/T lane in the opposite direction of Transurbanís lanes (canít be activated in the same direction due to compensation events). Itís better than nothing, but it still wouldíve been a better long-term build for 2 each way, and they had the opportunity when it was built to do it right, but they didnít.
« Last Edit: December 02, 2019, 07:23:44 AM by sprjus4 »
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Re: Northern Virginia HOT Lanes
« Reply #1708 on: December 02, 2019, 09:10:57 AM »

As has been pointed out to you before (but you continue to ignore), it was pointless to build the HO/T lanes further south as bi-directional because you still have the right-of-way constraint through Newington and Springfield that prevents bi-directional lanes there.  You'd have to go a few decades back to change that decision...back when the weekend traffic issue was a minimal (at worst) problem and the directional split was more pronounced...hence why they were built out as reversible in the 80s and 90s.
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sprjus4

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Re: Northern Virginia HOT Lanes
« Reply #1709 on: December 02, 2019, 05:02:10 PM »

As has been pointed out to you before (but you continue to ignore), it was pointless to build the HO/T lanes further south as bi-directional because you still have the right-of-way constraint through Newington and Springfield that prevents bi-directional lanes there.
I've already pointed out  you can have a design similar to I-495 that has a smaller footprint. With 3 lanes each way having a 4 foot buffer between the GP lanes and the HO/T lanes, and a 4 ft HO/T shoulder, it would be roughly 10-12 ft larger overall, and the interchanges could be redesigned to accommodate this. It'd be an expensive undertaking, but it would be able to handle current and future traffic demand, and needs to be done.

The HO/T lanes south of Woodbridge should've been at least designed to accommodate a parallel roadway, which is some areas where they are centered directly between the north and south carriageways, it's a tight / impossible squeeze without modifying the roadways once again.

You'd have to go a few decades back to change that decision...back when the weekend traffic issue was a minimal (at worst) problem and the directional split was more pronounced...hence why they were built out as reversible in the 80s and 90s.
I thought properly studied & built projects were supposed to be able to accommodate traffic volumes 20-30+ years into the future? They clearly weren't. Neither was I-95's 6-lane widening.
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Alps

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Re: Northern Virginia HOT Lanes
« Reply #1710 on: December 02, 2019, 06:35:31 PM »

OK, so to prevent this from spreading outward:
* Ideally, those lanes would be bi-directional
* They can't be made bi-directional without ROW acquisition or compromising on design standards

Think I captured it. Good. Next topic.

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Re: Northern Virginia HOT Lanes
« Reply #1711 on: December 02, 2019, 08:45:58 PM »

OK, so to prevent this from spreading outward:
* Ideally, those lanes would be bi-directional
* They can't be made bi-directional without ROW acquisition or compromising on design standards
Expensive right-of-way acquisition and serious citizen/business opposition in places.

The express lanes are now 3 lanes wide for 25 miles.  Making that or any part thereof bi-directional would involve providing another 3 lane roadway.

Think I captured it. Good. Next topic.
I agree fully!
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Re: Northern Virginia HOT Lanes
« Reply #1712 on: December 02, 2019, 09:02:23 PM »

OK, so to prevent this from spreading outward:
* Ideally, those lanes would be bi-directional
* They can't be made bi-directional without ROW acquisition or compromising on design standards
Expensive right-of-way acquisition and serious citizen/business opposition in places.

The express lanes are now 3 lanes wide for 25 miles.  Making that or any part thereof bi-directional would involve providing another 3 lane roadway.
Youíre referring to inside the beltway as well. Iím strictly talking about south of I-495, where a bi-directional can adequately fit in the corridor without serious right of way impacts, and that being the northern most few miles.

There is a more defined peak flow inside the beltway, and the current reversible can handle the peak flow without much congestion the opposite way.

Really the traffic problems were most defined beginning at VDOTís 4th lane drop down to Fredericksburg, none or minimal northwards.
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Re: Northern Virginia HOT Lanes
« Reply #1713 on: December 02, 2019, 09:16:28 PM »

Expensive right-of-way acquisition and serious citizen/business opposition in places.
The express lanes are now 3 lanes wide for 25 miles.  Making that or any part thereof bi-directional would involve providing another 3 lane roadway.
Youíre referring to inside the beltway as well. Iím strictly talking about south of I-495, where a bi-directional can adequately fit in the corridor without serious right of way impacts, and that being the northern most few miles.
Springfield and Newington is included in my comments.

It can be seen on Google Maps what the constraints are.  It would probably require a considerable expansion to the Springfield Interchange as well, with associated major impacts to residential and business acquisitions.
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Re: Northern Virginia HOT Lanes
« Reply #1714 on: December 02, 2019, 09:36:27 PM »

Expensive right-of-way acquisition and serious citizen/business opposition in places.
The express lanes are now 3 lanes wide for 25 miles.  Making that or any part thereof bi-directional would involve providing another 3 lane roadway.
Youíre referring to inside the beltway as well. Iím strictly talking about south of I-495, where a bi-directional can adequately fit in the corridor without serious right of way impacts, and that being the northern most few miles.
Springfield and Newington is included in my comments.

It can be seen on Google Maps what the constraints are.  It would probably require a considerable expansion to the Springfield Interchange as well, with associated major impacts to residential and business acquisitions.
A 3 mile stretch.

If right of way constraints are a ďmajor issueĒ, then build an elevated viaduct. Thatís not a foreign concept, and has been done in other areas around the country with HO/T and HOV lanes where right of way is a constraint. California has done it, Texas has at least a dozen miles of elevated HOV lanes planned, just to make a couple of examples.

Is Virginia just going to sit back and allow the I-95 corridor to worsen and worsen as each year goes by? As it stands right now, I-95 is currently designed for the traffic needs of 30 years ago. The state canít just remain static and site right of way, compensation events, and others as excuses. I-66 is getting massively overhauled (and thereís right of way impacts on that too), I-495 got overhauled, and is continuing to get overhauled in the next few years to Maryland (again, right of way impacts), itís not impossible nor infeasible.

What is your proposal for Virginia to improve the I-95 corridor and to be able to carry more capacity?
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Re: Northern Virginia HOT Lanes
« Reply #1715 on: December 02, 2019, 09:52:35 PM »

What is your proposal for Virginia to improve the I-95 corridor and to be able to carry more capacity?
Fairfax County is fully built out at 4-3-4 and that should be considered the final design.  The express lanes also carry van pools and transit buses and they carry over twice the ridership as the GP lanes, and can carry far more van pools and buses.  Full build out south of there would be to 4 GP lanes each way.

There needs to be an I-97 eastern bypass of Washington and an I-470 western bypass of Washington, at least one of them needs to be studied and pursued immediately.  The malfeasance and nonfeasance of the Maryland state and associated county governments needs to cease.

The parallel Potomac River railroad bridge will be a game-changer for commuter peaks, as it will allow possibly 10 more trains per hour to each of the Manassas and Fredericksburg VRE lines.
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Re: Northern Virginia HOT Lanes
« Reply #1716 on: December 03, 2019, 10:23:40 PM »

Nothing too special here, just a picture I took this afternoon showing the Beltway through Tysons (runs through the center with south at the top). The Dulles Access and Toll Roads run across the photo and Route 123 runs diagonally from where the wing hits the photoís left edge.

I find the HO/T overpasses above the Dulles Access and Toll Roads to be an interesting layout when seen from above. You can also see the newly-extended Jones Branch/Scottís Crossing roadway just south of that.

« Last Edit: December 03, 2019, 10:38:01 PM by 1995hoo »
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Re: Northern Virginia HOT Lanes
« Reply #1717 on: December 03, 2019, 10:28:03 PM »

Well, there will be a meeting about the conversion of the HOV ramp at Seminary Road to a HOT ramp on December 9.

Article: https://patch.com/virginia/delray/meeting-i-395-hov-ramp-planned-alexandria
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Re: Northern Virginia HOT Lanes
« Reply #1718 on: December 03, 2019, 10:32:33 PM »

I find the HO/T overpasses above the Dulles Access and Toll Roads to be an interesting layout when seen from above. You can also see the newly-extended Jones Branch/Scottís Crossing roadway just south of that.
Is it open to traffic yet?

That will provide a major improvement in local connectivity.
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Re: Northern Virginia HOT Lanes
« Reply #1719 on: December 03, 2019, 10:36:08 PM »

I find the HO/T overpasses above the Dulles Access and Toll Roads to be an interesting layout when seen from above. You can also see the newly-extended Jones Branch/Scottís Crossing roadway just south of that.
Is it open to traffic yet?

That will provide a major improvement in local connectivity.

I believe itís at least partially open, at least one lane each way. Donít know if itís completed.
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Re: Northern Virginia HOT Lanes
« Reply #1720 on: December 05, 2019, 05:11:16 PM »

Is this a normal day on I-95 nowadays? I don't think I've ever seen the tolls so high. There doesn't appear to be any events that would cause higher congestion, and traffic seems relatively usual for I-95.

The current price for a trip between I-495 and Stafford on the I-95 Express Lanes, approximately 27 miles. Google estimates about 53 minutes for a general purpose trip, which, again doesn't seem unusual. I've seen tolls in the low $30s, but never above that.



A trip between Tysons Corner and Stafford via the I-495 Express Lanes and I-95 Express Lanes is estimated at $68.35 for a distance of approximately 38 miles. Google estimates about 66 minutes for a general purpose trip.

A trip between Washington D.C. and Stafford via the I-395 Express Lanes and I-95 Express Lanes is estimated at $55.05 for a distance of approximately 35 miles. Google estimates about 77 minutes for a general purpose trip.

I never expected I-495 to have a higher toll than the reversible segment, especially when travel times in the general purpose lanes are quicker on that road as opposed to I-395.
« Last Edit: December 05, 2019, 05:16:50 PM by sprjus4 »
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Re: Northern Virginia HOT Lanes
« Reply #1721 on: December 05, 2019, 05:18:59 PM »

Did you drive it or did you get that online?

I would need to see a price profile by minute and then know of any incidents and their severity, before I could make an evaluation.
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Re: Northern Virginia HOT Lanes
« Reply #1722 on: December 05, 2019, 05:43:37 PM »

Did you drive it or did you get that online?

I would need to see a price profile by minute and then know of any incidents and their severity, before I could make an evaluation.
Online via Transurban's toll calculator.

VDOT's https://www.511virginia.org/ online VMS signage also added up to that amount at the time based on entry / exit points.

Right now, the toll is estimated by Transurban at a lower (but still quite high) $33.05
between I-495 and Stafford.

VDOT's VMS signage reads the following -

I-395 South / Springfield - 95-DALE $11.55
I-95 South / Woodbridge - 95 - 610 $19.75

That adds up to $31.30. Not quite what Transurban estimates, but very close. I didn't save the numbers when their online toll calculator estimated $42.25, but a quick glance at the VMS were close to that amount.

A relative of mine in the area told me about the high price estimate (above $30) on the VMS at the time when they drove southbound on I-95 between Springfield and Woodbridge about an hour ago. That's what prompted me to look, and indeed the $42.25 figure came across.
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Re: Northern Virginia HOT Lanes
« Reply #1723 on: December 05, 2019, 06:10:06 PM »

While I havenít dealt with DC traffic today because Iím in Florida, I do note today likely saw an early rush hour because the Christmas tree lighting on the Ellipse was scheduled for 5:00 PM. The President and Mrs. Trump were to attend, which means lots of street closures. It always snarls the traffic downtown, so a lot of people try to leave work early and that probably contributed to the tolls. I have no idea what sorts of other incidents there might have been.
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"You know, you never have a guaranteed spot until you have a spot guaranteed."
óOlaf 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?"óKolzig, to the same reporter a few seconds later.

sprjus4

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Re: Northern Virginia HOT Lanes
« Reply #1724 on: December 05, 2019, 06:21:10 PM »

While I havenít dealt with DC traffic today because Iím in Florida, I do note today likely saw an early rush hour because the Christmas tree lighting on the Ellipse was scheduled for 5:00 PM. The President and Mrs. Trump were to attend, which means lots of street closures. It always snarls the traffic downtown, so a lot of people try to leave work early and that probably contributed to the tolls. I have no idea what sorts of other incidents there might have been.
I'll have to keep watching the prices on a day-to-day basis to see if it was a particular event or now a regular occurrence. I wouldn't expect it to be regular occurrence above $30 based on my experiences.

Interesting.
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