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VDOT Fields Ideas To Relieve Congestion On I-66

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It's rare during rush hours to see I-66 as clear as this.
Wikimedia Commons
It's rare during rush hours to see I-66 as clear as this.

Fixing Interstate 66 is one of the most pressing transportation problems in Northern Virginia, and the commonwealth is asking the private sector for help.

The Virginia Department of Transportation is asking the private sector for ideas on how to improve traffic flow on the notoriously congested I-66.  One of the concepts VDOT is exploring is turning the current HOV lane into an EZ Pass-only toll lane, or "HOT lane," similar to what motorists use on the 495 Express Lanes. But that's only one possibility.

"We are requesting information of a wide range of solutions, VDOT spokeswoman Tamara Rollison. "And we may not have the best solution, so that is why we are going out to the private sector so we can harvest the absolute best ideas."

Adding a toll lane would allow Virginia to use its public-private partnership tool again. The private sector would put up the large amount of capital needed to build  extra highway lanes and would receive the toll revenues as a return on its investment.

"Obviously, how are we going to pay for these improvements is something we have to consider, because making long lasting improvements to I-66 will come at a high cost," Rollison says.

VDOT is also looking for ideas on how to turn the median on 66 into an express bus lane.

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