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A Stop-and-Start Traffic Future in NoVA

By Marshall Kirby | June 27, 2011 | No Comments

If you’ve ever traveled in Northern Virginia, you’re familiar with overcrowded roadways and intense congestion.  During the summer months, millions of additional vacationers from across the country drive on major highways in Virginia like 95, 81, and 64.  Tourism brings additional revenue to our Commonwealth’s restaurants, gas stations, hotels, and other destinations.  However, the traffic situation worsens with slow travel speeds and additional travel times.

As reported by the Fairfax Times, this summer will continue bring additional traffic delays for commuters and travelers.  VDOT has announced that over the next several months roadwork and other construction will be increasing in Northern Virginia – specifically the Beltway, 66, and the Metro rail extension to Dulles Airport.  One major roadway project is the construction of HOT lanes, which VDOT claims will provide faster and more predictable travel for motorists-for a toll.  Vehicles with 3 or more occupants will not be subject to a toll.  The project is expected to be completed in late 2012.

The construction of HOT lanes on 495 has been highly controversial.  Critics claim that the faster lanes will benefit those who are better off.  Through their website, VDOT attempts to answer criticisms by stating that prior instances where similar travel lanes were implemented produced benefits across the socio-economic spectrum.  Time will tell if the same will be true for our residents.

While HOT lanes may be controversial, VDOT is correct in stating that Virginia does not have the funds to construct the project on its own.  There are just far too many roads which need repairs and extensions.  A post from last week mentioned the poor state roadways which have been a result of underfunding based on needs.

Tysons Corner area is already a major hot-spot for transportation construction this summer.  Delays and heavy traffic will continue over the next few months with more lane shifts and closures.  Unfortunately, many businesses in the area are seeing decreases in revenues based on construction.  When the transportation projects are completed, travel times and roadways conditions will be improved.  Hopefully the completed projects will benefit commuters and travelers alike which can help our businesses and local economy.

Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this post are those of the author, and do not necessarily reflect those of members of the NDP Steering Committee.

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