Va. governor signals support for Express Lanes that run in both directions on I-95

Traveling on Interstate 95 through Northern Virginia can be a hair-pulling experience at times, as motorists are forced to endure slow-moving, bumper-to-bumper traffic on the road. State officials may be looking at a plan being pushed by some lawmakers as a way to relieve some of the gridlock.

Gov. Glenn Youngkin’s office said the state is looking at the possibility of having express lanes that always go in both directions on the interstate. Currently, the traffic direction is reversed based on expected traffic flow. To use express lanes, drivers need to be heading toward D.C. in the morning and away from the city at night.



“My office began a review of the potential for bidirectionality a couple of months ago. We are doing that in concert with our partner, Transurban,” said Virginia Secretary of Transportation Sheppard Miller III in a statement provided to WTOP by Youngkin’s office.

The comments come after both Jeff McKay, chairman of the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors, and Ann Wheeler, chair of the Prince William Board of County Supervisors, joined together in a letter to the governor and state transportation officials, pushing for the change.

In December, McKay told WTOP that having express lanes in both directions has been popular on Interstate 66 and has calmed congestion on that road. He believes making I-95’s express lanes bidirectional would also provide similar results and “really unlock a lot of the gridlock.”

“While this will not completely solve congestion on I-95, it will certainly help mitigate it, allowing people to spend less time in traffic and more time with their families,” Wheeler and McKay said in the letter.

Youngkin, whose home is in Great Falls, has shown support for making such a change in the past. In October, at the Governor’s Transportation Conference, he indicated that talks on making the change were already underway.

“On I-95, VDOT is looking into creating bidirectional capabilities on existing express lanes on the corridor’s most congested segments — I spend a lot of time going between Northern Virginia and Richmond, and I assure you that will be very much appreciated by everyone,” Youngkin said.

One question will be how exactly to provide lanes in both directions. McKay said back in December that he has heard from engineers, who believe the existing right of way leaves enough room for creating new express lanes.

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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