New push for I-95 Express Lanes to go in both directions in Va.

To use the express lanes on Interstate 95 in Northern Virginia, you need to be heading toward D.C. in the morning and away from the city at night. Now, there is a push to transition away from reversible lanes, making a north and southbound express lane available all day long.

“What we’ve seen now is that 95 is backed up in both directions, all throughout the day,” said Fairfax County Board of Supervisors Chairman Jeff McKay.

McKay wants to see increased availability of express lanes in both directions and plans to formally ask Transurban — the toll lane operator — and the Virginia Department of Transportation to study the idea.

“I have heard enough frustration, I’ve seen it enough for myself, that, you know, there’s an appetite to have these lanes going in both directions, and, you know, really unlock a lot of the gridlock on 95,” he said.

McKay said he has heard from engineers that the extra lanes needed to do this could be created using existing right of way along the road. McKay’s plan was first reported by NBC4.

“I think what we need to do is do an analysis of the existing right away and see whether we can get two lanes in each direction,” he said.

McKay added that he has been a longtime advocate for daylong express lane access and on roads such as Interstate 66 there is high demand for the express lanes. He also believes Transurban would see more revenue since there won’t be any money lost during the time the lanes are closed to be reversed.

“I think they were so eager to get the project done and to make sure it worked financially that a lot of corners were cut and that’s how we ended up with these reversible lanes and I think the operators of the lane lanes realize now that was shortsighted and you know I think we also have to factor in the lost revenue hours of flushing the lanes,” said McKay.

Transurban told WTOP that it is committed to working in partnership with Virginia to help provide relief to traffic congestion on I-95.

“Innovation and a focus on offering reliable options to residents have always underpinned our shared success over the last decade,” Transurban said in a statement to WTOP. “Importantly, we know the choice is valued by Virginians. From our 2022 survey of regional drivers, we found nearly 3 in 4 drivers have taken our Lanes and nearly 7 in 10 see a regional benefit from our network across I-495, I-95 and I-395.”

Mike Murillo

Mike Murillo is a reporter and anchor at WTOP. Before joining WTOP in 2013, he worked in radio in Orlando, New York City and Philadelphia.

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