TRAFFIC jam. Beltway and I-95 congestions. These are common scenes in metro DC region. It's like a routine because it happens sooo often almost daily. Haven't heard a day goes by without traffic congestion along I-95, 395 and 495 corridor, especially during rush hour. The other day, I got stuck in the beltway coming from I-270 going to Virginia. It took me almost an hour crawling literally at 5 mi per hour just to cross the Legion bridge from Md. to Va.! (I was so sick of it.)
So what's Fairfax solution to transportation problems we have? If you look at Fairfax transportation plan that was amended and adopted by county board of supervisors in August 2007, you'd see that there will be two (not one) HOT lanes projects slated for Fairfax county. The other one, we've already talked about it sometime last week. That is the Capital Beltway HOT lanes project (from Springfield mixing bowl or interchange to Tysons corner) in which preparation for the construction of the project have already started, according to the information on their website.
The other HOV/HOT lanes project (still pending budget) is known in short as "I-95/395 HOV/Bus/HOT lanes connecting Fredericksburg region to Washington DC via I-95 from Massaponax in Spotsylvania, going north run through three counties - Stafford, Prince William, and Fairfax - to end at Pentagon via I-395. Click for full map here.
I-95/395 Proposed Improvements At-A-Glance
- Expanded and improved highway system for all motorists
- Expansion of the existing HOV lanes from two lanes to three lanes
- Extension of the existing HOV lanes 28 miles south to Massaponax
- 33 new entry and exit points to key activity and employment centers, such as Fort Belvoir, the Pentagon and Shirlington
- Estimated $390 million in improvements to public transportation in the corridor, including new buses and bus routes
- Approximately 3,000 new Park & Ride spaces
- Enhancements to 12 existing bus stations Design solutions to help alleviate existing bottlenecks on the HOV lanes
- Enhanced incident response and enforcement
In the meantime, the 8 mile construction for adding a fourth lane to I-95 in each direction from Fairfax County Pkwy to Rt. 123 at Occoquan River should begin this year. So expect closures at nights and during off-peak hours. It'll take 4 years to complete. TRAVEL ALERT: For travel advisory click here.
Another project that is on the book has something to do with BRAC. From the map, it looks like there will be some sort of rail transit (monorail) or bus rapid transit connecting Ft. Belvoir with Pentagon with 6-7 rail stops along Route 1.
The HOT I-95/395/HOV/HOT lanes project is good to solve traffic congestion for DC region, I just wish that VDOT would do more by focusing on alternative method of mass transit like light rail. The HOT lanes will probably cut down the number of cars traveling north-south bound on I-95, but that won't be enough. Think about this, by the time the project finishes, the number of cars on the road will explode - unless, we do something to drastically reduce 'Americans love affair' (or addiction) with cars.
* Fairfax transportation plan [PDF]