VDOT News - Northern Virginia
Michelle T. Holland
Dec. 2, 2021
VDOT Announces I-495 Southside Express Lanes Study
Environmental study will evaluate extension of Express Lanes System
Richmond – As the northern Virginia region readies itself for more than 90 miles of express lanes by the end of 2022, the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT), in cooperation with the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) and other federal, state and local agencies in Virginia and Maryland, will initiate an environmental study to potentially extend the Express Lanes System on the Capital Beltway, from the Springfield interchange (I-95/I-395/I-495) by approximately 11 miles to MD 210 in Prince George’s County, Maryland. This was identified in the Commonwealth Transportation Board’s adopted I-95 Corridor Improvement Plan as an area for additional study.
“The express lanes are expected to provide additional travel choices, and to provide a key component of the overall transportation network in the region,” said Virginia Secretary of Transportation Shannon Valentine. “This segment of the Capital Beltway will provide an opportunity to expand a regional system that already provides key components of the transit system, connecting activity centers with dedicated access points to transit hubs.”
The environmental study – which is included in VDOT’s current Six-Year Improvement Program (SYIP) and also included the National Capital Region's Visualize 2045 Constrained Long Range Plan (CLRP) – will evaluate a one-lane express lanes alternative, a two-lane express lanes alternative, a no build alternative, and be informed by agency and public input. All options in the study will reserve a lane for transit in each direction on the Woodrow Wilson Bridge.
The Woodrow Wilson Bridge fully opened to traffic in December 2008. The design of the bridge included additional space for future transportation needs, and was designed to accommodate future rail across the bridge.
This study will be informed by a Transit and Transportation Demand Management Study to be initiated by the Virginia Department of Rail and Public Transportation (DRPT) and coordinated with the Maryland Transit Administration.
In the coming weeks and months VDOT will begin to gather information for the study and to coordinate with key stakeholders, agencies, organizations, and the public.
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