VDOT makes adjustments for commuters during ongoing Metro track work

WASHINGTON — If you’ve decided to abandon Metrorail while it works on major repairs and drive to work instead, the Virginia Department of Transportation is trying to help.

For starters, VDOT is trying to keep things moving by adjusting signal timing on U.S. 50, U.S. 29 and Va. 7. It’s also adjusting construction and maintenance schedules so they don’t slow things down.

“We don’t have enough pavement [for] everybody drive, so that’s why we’re encouraging ridesharing, extended bus service —we’re putting monies to help the localities do that — slugging, all those things,” Virginia Transportation Secretary Aubrey Layne said.

VDOT said there were no plans to lift High-Occupancy Vehicle lane restrictions on Interstates 95, 495 and 66. Doing that might entice people off buses and from carpooling, and into their cars alone, making the roads more congested.

“If we were to open all the HOV lanes, for instance, that would clog it up for the transit and all that regard,” Layne said. “So that’s why we’re trying to keep a normal operation to allow all those through.”

Layne said more adjustments will be considered if it becomes clear they’re needed.

“I’m not suggesting that anything’s off the table,” Layne said, “but it seems the best alternative is to get more people to use transit, alternative transit —whether it’s bus or ridesharing.”

Jenni McCord, a  VDOT spokeswoman, said commuters have other nondriving options. If you can, try taking a bus, carpool, adjust your work schedule and even try teleworking.

WTOP’s Michelle Basch contributed to this report.

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