Are tolls, widening enough to untangle I-66 traffic mess?

WASHINGTON — During the morning commute, motorists often sit in traffic on Interstate 66 inside the Beltway.  Even weekends can sometimes bring backups. But plans are in the works to unsnarl the roadway.

“We’re guaranteeing a 50 mile per hour trip with the toll pricing,” said Virginia Department of Transportation’s Amanda Baxter.  Baxter, project manager for widening I-66 inside the Beltway, shared VDOT’s plans with the public who gathered this week at Mary Ellen Henderson Middle School in Falls Church.

Starting next year, there’ll be tolls on single occupancy vehicles and road construction to add a lane to eastbound I-66 on a four-mile stretch from the Dulles Connector Road to the Ballston exit.  But tolls and widening are just two parts of a broader plan to reduce congestion.

“The reality is this project will really succeed or fail based upon our ability to get people out of their cars,” said Falls Church City Councilman David Snyder.

Plans to cut traffic I-66 inside the Beltway rely on increased carpooling, expanded use of commuter buses, plus improved transit service that could lure more riders to Metro.

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