Improving Travel for Everyone:
Providing a More Reliable Trip and Better Travel Options
Providing a new travel choice and ensuring a reliable trip are the central purposes of the I-66 Inside the Beltway program.
During morning and evening commutes, I-66 Inside the Beltway is currently restricted to carpools (with two or more people), vehicles with authorized clean special fuel license plates, Dulles Airport travelers, and law enforcement.
With the I-66 Inside the Beltway program, in exchange for paying a toll, solo drivers will be able to use the interstate during peak hours. Carpools and vanpools (with two or more people, until the I-66 Express Lanes outside the Beltway become operational), transit, on-duty law enforcement and first responders will not pay a toll.
Commuters who choose not to drive will enjoy better and more frequent transit services, as well as other improvements that will be funded by toll revenues. Making travel better and easier for everyone who uses the I-66 corridor is the goal of the program.
Today’s I-66 Inside the Beltway Corridor
There is a compelling need for improvements to I-66 Inside the Beltway. I-66 is significantly congested before and after the current restricted periods. During the restricted periods, the many travelers who have to find alternate routes or modes of travel put stress on other parts of the transportation system.
After many years of study, the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) and the Virginia Department of Rail and Public Transportation (DRPT) have developed a plan to make coordinated changes on I-66 to expand travelers’ access to the corridor, provide reliable travel times, and offer new and improved travel choices.
The I-66 Inside the Beltway Project area includes: I-66 from I-495 to Route 29 in Rosslyn, parallel roads (including Routes 7, 29, 50 and 613), Metrorail's Orange and Silver Lines, and major bus and bicycle routes.
Solutions by 2017 and Beyond
To give you shorter, more predictable commutes by 2017, the proposed I-66 Inside the Beltway program will:
- Make I-66 Inside the Beltway available to everyone by removing the current ban on single-occupancy vehicles during restricted periods and charging them a demand- and distance-based toll
- Relieve congestion before and after HOV periods by allowing single-occupancy vehicles access and lengthening restricted periods
- Eastbound 5:30 - 9:30 a.m.
- Westbound 3- 7 p.m.
- Help reduce violators by requiring all vehicles to have an E-ZPass or E-ZPass Flex transponder during the restricted periods
- Allocate toll revenue to fund additional and improved travel choices that could include roadway, bus, Metro access, bicycle and pedestrian options. Through a Framework Agreement with the commonwealth, the Northern Virginia Transportation Commission (NVTC) will administer this function and will choose options that could include:
- Bus service
- Upgraded and expanded bikeways and pedestrian access
- Intersection enhancements on parallel roads
- Metro improvements
- Travel demand solutions and technology
Construction of an additional eastbound lane is expected to start in 2018 and open to traffic in late 2020. The construction will not take any homes or businesses and will be completed largely within the existing right of way.
What will this mean to you?
- If you drive alone and use I-66:
- Your commute will take less time
- By allowing you to use I-66 Inside the Beltway during peak hours by paying a toll, you’ll have a more reliable trip since travel speeds and demand for the lanes will be managed through dynamic tolling
- You’ll benefit by direct connections to future express lanes on I-66 Outside the Beltway, as well as the 495 Express Lanes
- If you ride a motorcycle, you will see no change
- If you choose to carpool with 2 or more people on I-66:
- You'll continue to ride toll-free until the I-66 Express Lanes outside the Beltway become operational
- You'll have a smoother, more predicable trip since the lanes will be managed and free-flowing at all times
- Effective law enforcement of HOV rules will keep traffic moving
- Strategies, such as improved ride-share planning and park-and-ride lots, will help you find options for adding to your carpool
- If you choose to travel another way:
- Depending upon how set-aside toll revenue is invested, you may expect:
- Easier, faster bus trips thanks to I-66 working better and improved services
- A better transit experience through investments in technology and things like passenger amenities
- Improved access to Metrorail stations
- Better connections and access to bicycle and pedestrian trails
Let Us Continue to Hear From You
Your input over the past several years of study has been instrumental in shaping the proposed I-66 Inside the Beltway project. For example, the commonwealth recently announced that it will delay implementing HOV-3 on I-66 Inside the Beltway until the rest of the region makes that change in 2020 and it will not toll the highway in the “reverse” direction (e.g., westbound in the morning peak).
Your continued input is extremely important.
If you’re in favor of some or all of these changes, we’d appreciate your letting us know. If you don’t like some aspect of the project or the entire package, by all means, let us know. You can provide your comments here.