Proposed transportation projects could ease traffic in the region

WASHINGTON — Significant traffic changes are being considered by local transportation officials looking to ease gridlock in Maryland, D.C. and Virginia.

Those changes include a tolling plan for Interstate 66, converting I-395 HOV lanes to toll lanes, installing a new HOV lane on Route 28 and adding new bus-only lanes.

On Wednesday, as part of the proposed changes to the region’s long range plan, the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments’ transportation planning board was briefed on nine major projects that Virginia and D.C. have proposed or want to change.

In an amendment to MWCOG’s Constrained Long-Range Transportation Plan, the Maryland State Highway Administration included information about ongoing studies to make improvements from the end of the I-495 Express Lanes over the Legion Bridge in Virginia, up to I-270 in Frederick.

Virginia wants to extend the Express Lanes or make other changes at the Legion Bridge.

D.C.’s changes include new protected bike lanes in several parts of the city, plans for bus-only lanes on 16th Street NW by 2021, and new details on plans to extend the forthcoming D.C. Streetcar from Union Station to Georgetown.

The streetcar plans would run the tracks through their own dedicated lanes for much of the route, which mainly runs along K Street NW.

The District Department of Transportation projects that will be completed in 2022; an extension in the other direction to the Benning Road Metro will be completed in 2020.

In Virginia, the proposals tweak the already approved I-66 plans by building a third eastbound lane between the Dulles Connector and Ballston by 2020.

The state’s changes impact the timing of tolling and HOV plans, and still include arrangements to add tolling rules in the reverse-peak direction in 2040.

A change to long-standing plans for widening Route 28 between I-66 and Route 7 would add an HOV lane on Route 28 between I-66 and the Dulles Toll Road.

In addition, the plans would add extra lanes between exits to make Route 28 as wide as 10 lanes in at least one spot, and eight for most of the stretch.

The proposals add the planned conversion of the I-395 HOV lanes into an extension of the I-95 Express Lanes. That would run all the way to the area of Eads Street near the Potomac River in Arlington.

The plan, to be completed by 2018, also covers the extension of the 95 Express Lanes at the southern end past the Garrisonville exit.

Because Maryland usually waits until projects are further along in development before adding them to this plan, there are no major project additions from that state.

Maryland still has plans for bus rapid transit in the long-range plan, but only the Corridor Cities Transitway has a completion goal — which is 2020.

The Purple Line, which Maryland is expected to announce more details on soon, still has a goal of 2020.

Virginia is planning to extend the new Metroway bus service that connects Arlington and Alexandria with more dedicated lanes between the Crystal City and Pentagon City Metro stations by 2023.

The plan also holds out a target date of 2022 for the proposed VRE extension to Gainesville and Haymarket, in addition to more new trains on the existing Manassas and Fredericksburg lines by 2020.

Improvements to MARC Penn, Brunswick and Camden line service are not expected to be completed until 2029. There are no major Metro expansion projects included in the plan.

The plan includes a number of smaller road projects, a long list of Park and Ride lots, bus service expansion and other changes.

It is open for public comments through March 12 before it is approved March 16.

A related air quality plan will then be open for public comments again this fall before a final vote in November.

Comments may be submitted:

  • Online at
  • Via email at
  • By calling 202-962-3262
  • Fax: 202-962-3213
  • Letter: The Transportation Planning Board, 777 North Capitol Street NE, Suite 300, Washington, DC 20002-4239
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