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Traffic relief coming to I-66, just not yet

Sunday - 7/20/2014, 9:05pm  ET

WASHINGTON -- It appears relief is coming to I-66 in Fairfax, but not right away.

Still, local officials are optimistic about proposed changes to the traffic- jammed roadway, even if the adjustments won't start until 2017.

"We're going to get a solution to I-66 soon and that's great," says Pat Herrity, a Fairfax County supervisor who represents the Springfield district.

Virginia Secretary of Transportation Aubrey Layne says fixing traffic choked I-66 is a priority. "We are dedicated to getting this project to fruition," Layne says.

Layne made the announcement Thursday at the V-DOT district office in Fairfax. The plan is to transform I-66 into a multi-modal corridor that moves both traffic and people more efficiently.

"If you look at our schedule up here, we're hoping to start construction by the year 2017," Layne says.

First, officials are looking to install two toll express lanes in each direction. Those in the HOV-3 lanes can travel for free in the express lanes; those in the non-HOV lanes would have to pay a toll.

There would be three general lanes with no tolls in each direction, as well as rapid bus service and easier access to ‘Park and Ride.'

"Even though we've done a lot of (community) outreach, it's really just beginning," Layne says.

Also, he says, it's critical to get the public to understand the benefits of the I-66 construction.

Still, with the cost between $2 billion and $3 billion, Layne says a public- private partnership might be the way to go on this project: 19 companies have already shown enthusiasm, "so we think we'll have significant interest in this."

This month kicks off a 17-month environmental study with community outreach on the I-66 improvement project.

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