Va. considers options for I-66 congestion relief

Hank Silverberg,

WASHINGTON – Interstate 66 between Washington, D.C. and Route 15 in Prince William County remains one of the most congested stretches of highway in the region.

But Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell is hoping some temporary measures will help ease the traffic jams.

The state will spend $34 million on what is being called an Active Traffic Management System over the next two years along the 34-mile stretch between D.C. and Gainesville.

It will include six new emergency pull-off areas, electronic message signs, ramp meters and new traffic cameras. The equipment is designed to clear accidents or breakdowns faster, keep traffic moving and change speed limits when necessary.

Twelve gantries will also be installed along the most congested 12-mile stretch from the Beltway to Route 29 in Gainesville with lane-control systems.

A new study from the U.S. Department of Transportation is looking at possible high-occupancy toll lanes (HOT lanes) that would use one lane each way from the existing HOV system, additional lanes outside the beltway and bus rapid transit.

Other options include the possible expansion of Metrorail’s Orange Line to either Haymarket or Centreville and extending the existing Virginia Railway Express Manassas route to Haymarket.

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