Traffic changes, free commutes launch along Interstates 95, 66

Traffic streams through the 95 Express lanes on December 2015. (WTOP/Dave Dildine)

Some significant commuter changes began Wednesday in Northern Virginia.

Work on Route 28 near Interstate 66 shut down Walney Road between Va. 28 and Cabells Mill Drive before Wednesday morning’s rush hour, cutting off a frequently used cut through until Sept. 2020.

The closure is part of construction of a new, much larger interchange between I-66 and Route 28 under construction as part of the I-66 toll lane project.

Eventually, Walney Road will be connected with Braddock Road with an overpass as part of efforts to eliminate traffic lights that slow Route 28 traffic.

Due to closures like this that could increase traffic jams during toll lane construction, Loudoun County is offering free bus rides to and from the Wiehle-Reston East and West Falls Church Metro stations for the entire month of May. Loudoun has tried similar promotions several times over the past year.

The free rides are funded as part of the toll lane project’s traffic mitigation plans.

In Prince William County, expanded commuter bus service in the Haymarket area has helped boost PRTC OmniRide bus ridership there, a report to PRTC Commissioners, due to be presented Thursday night, said.

As part of the toll lane project, fares on those routes are discounted.

There are also a number of changes in the I-95 corridor.

A new I-95 northbound on-ramp at Thornburg (Exit 118) opened early Wednesday in Spotsylvania as part of the interchange reconstruction there.

Other construction projects including new interchanges, bridges over the Rappahannock River and the extension of the toll lanes are scheduled to continue on I-95 in the Fredericksburg area for years.

A new alternative launched Wednesday is a Fredericksburg Regional Transit rush-hour bus route, FRED VQ1, between Aquia Towne Center, the north commuter parking lot on Garrisonville Road and the VRE station in Quantico, where riders can go to work, transfer to another bus, or catch the train north.

The bus is supported by Stafford County, Marine Corps Base Quantico, and state and federal funding. When the bus enters the base, riders will have to show a photo ID.

The new bus is free for the first two months. Starting July 1, the fare will be $1.75 each way. FRED also offers a $60 monthly pass.

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