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New Telegraph Road interchange promises to ease congestion

Friday - 4/5/2013, 5:56am  ET

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The five-year, $265 million project to create a new interchange at Telegraph Road includes 11 new bridges and flyover ramps, along with wide roads and fewer traffic lights. (WTOP/Ari Ashe)

Ari Ashe, wtop.com

ALEXANDRIA, Va. - Work is now finished on a new interchange at Telegraph Road, the final step in the decade-long Woodrow Wilson Bridge Project.

"I can attest to the fact that this was a sorely needed project," says Secretary of Transportation Sean T. Connaugton.

"For anyone who came down that old ramp, you never saw around the line of sight. You be coming off at speed and the next thing you know everyone was stopped to get onto Telegraph Road."

The five-year, $265 million project includes 11 new bridges and flyover ramps, along with wide roads and fewer traffic lights.

"I have been rear-ended on the old Telegraph Road ramp. My daughter got rear- ended on the ramp. And everyone in my office got rear-ended or did the rear- ending on that ramp here on Telegraph Road," says Connaughton.

The project itself included three key components. First, widening the 2.5-mile section of the Capital Beltway from the Woodrow Wilson Bridge to the Telegraph Road exit. Second, building elevated ramps that were wider than the old ramps to connect the Beltway to Telegraph Road and Eisenhower Avenue. Finally, widening stretches of Telegraph Road and eliminating traffic signals to make exiting the Beltway smoother.

"Fairfax County is proud is very proud to celebrate the completion of another transportation improvement in Northern Virginia and this in particular benefits all the residents of Fairfax and Alexandria," says Fairfax County Board Chair Sharon Bulova.

She points to the teamwork between federal, state and local officials as a great asset to completing the entire Woodrow Wilson Bridge Project.

"Not long ago, it was jammed with gridlock, bumper to bumper, you couldn't even go fast enough to rear-end anyone," says Fairfax County Supervisor Jeff McKay.

"Back in those days, the excuse on why you were late was traffic on Telegraph Road. It didn't work then, and it doesn't work now."

It's the final step in the $2.5 billion-project that began more than 10 years ago to replace both spans of the Woodrow Wilson Bridge, expand capacity and add express and local lanes to the area.

Many credit the rebuilding of the Wilson Bridge and the area around it with the development of the National Harbor region.

The hope is that this project will help development along the Eisenhower Valley region and encourage more travel between Alexandria, Huntington and Franconia.

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