Jeff Caldwell, Governor's Press Secretary
Joan Morris 703-259-1799
Feb. 28, 2011
GOVERNOR'S RELEASE: I-66 WEST HOV RAMPS TO OPEN OFF-PEAK AND WEEKENDS
Low-cost solution improves commutes for thousands of motorists
RICHMOND – Governor Bob McDonnell was on hand today at the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) traffic operations center in Fairfax for the first day that the I-66 exit ramps to Monument Drive and Stringfellow Road were opened to all westbound traffic. The ramps opened westbound at 10 a.m. and will now be open to all traffic - HOV as well as non-HOV - on weekends and during off-peak hours.
"Opening these ramps is a low-cost solution to improve commute times for thousands of congestion-weary commuters in Fairfax County," said Governor McDonnell. "Anyone who travels I-66 mid-day or weekends knows that congestion in this area is just as common outside of the traditional rush hours. Now motorists will have easier access to shopping centers, office parks and residential areas near the two exit ramps."
Previously, the Monument Drive and Stringfellow Road ramps were open only to HOV-2 traffic eastbound from 5:30 a.m. to 9:30 a.m. and westbound from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. The ramps were closed to traffic during off-peak hours and weekends.
Now the ramps will be open to all traffic except during HOV-2 hours weekdays from 5:30 a.m. to 9:30 a.m. eastbound, and weekdays from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. westbound.
The ramps will be closed from 5 a.m. to 5:30 a.m. and 9:30 a.m. to 10 a.m. on weekdays for the directional switch. At all other times and throughout the weekend, the ramps will be open westbound to all traffic.
New overhead digital message signs will alert drivers when the exit ramps are open, closed or HOV-only. Traffic signs and signals at the top of the exit ramps have been upgraded and traffic signals near the interchanges were retimed to accommodate traffic.
Opening the ramps to all traffic during non-HOV hours is expected to improve travel times and air quality, provide alternate routes for motorists avoiding the construction work zone at Fairfax County Parkway and Fair Lakes where VDOT is building an interchange through 2013, and give buses and motorists direct access to the Stringfellow Road park-and-ride lot.
VDOT traffic engineers project that up to 5,800 vehicles a day will use the Stringfellow Road ramp and 2,400 vehicles a day will use the Monument Drive ramp.
The final cost to open the ramps, including the new signs and installation was about $200,000.
"I want to recognize Federal Highway Administrator Victor Mendez for his leadership and personal involvement in opening these ramps," said Governor McDonnell. "He played a critical role in advancing this important project for Northern Virginia."
VDOT worked closely with Mendez and many elected officials from the area to advance this concept through the necessary environmental and regulatory approvals.
Information in VDOT news releases was accurate at the time the release was published. For the most current information about projects or programs, please visit the project or program Web pages. You may find those by searching by keyword in the search Virginia DOT box above.