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I-66 Multimodal Improvements Inside the Beltway

About the Project

The project represents the first major improvements proposed for I-66 Inside the Beltway in 15-20 years, and is the result of a detailed multi-year study undertaken between in 2011 to 2013. The Transform 66 Inside the Beltway project includes the following components:

  • Converting I-66 inside the Beltway to dynamically-priced toll lanes during rush hours in the peak directions (from 5:30 a.m. until 9:30 a.m. eastbound and from 3:00 p.m. until 7:00 p.m. westbound, Monday through Friday). HOV vehicles and buses will travel the lanes for free, while others must pay a toll.
  • Toll revenues will be used to:
    • Increase transit service benefiting the users of I-66 inside the Beltway
    • Enhance carpool and other TDM strategies throughout the corridor
  • Widening of I-66 eastbound from the Dulles Connector Road to Ballston with lanes opening in late 2019.

Project Benefits

The project will benefit travelers by:

  • Moving 40,000+ more people through the corridor by 2040
  • Improving travel time reliability
  • Reducing congestion
  • Increasing travel choices for single occupancy vehicle (SOV) drivers and transit users
  • Improving travel conditions on local roads

Upcoming Changes to I-66

The following changes are planned, independent of the Transform 66 Inside the Beltway project:

  • The Transportation Planning Board at the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments (MWCOG) adopted a plan in 2009 to modify the HOV rules on I-66 both inside and outside the Beltway, which would increase the occupancy requirements from HOV-2 to HOV-3.
  • Federal rules require ‘limiting or discontinuing’ the use of HOV lanes by hybrids when lanes are degraded.  The I-66 corridor has been degraded for a number of years from the Beltway to Route 234.

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 to 9:30 a.m.
    • Westbound 3:00 to 7:00 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. Eligible components include:
    • Enhanced bus service
    • Park and ride lots
    • Vanpool and carpool improvements
    • Roadway operational improvements
    • Metrorail improvements
    • Transportation systems management
    • Roadway improvements on parallel routes

The proposed widening of I-66 eastbound from the Dulles Connector Road to Ballston will be pursued as a separate project. It will require a study that will begin in spring 2016 to analyze potential impacts, as required by the National Environmental Policy Act. Construction of an additional lane eastbound is expected to start in 2018 and open to traffic in late 2019.

Project Implementation

On December 9, 2015, the Commonwealth Transportation Board (CTB) approved an agreement with the Northern Virginia Transportation Commission (NVTC), in which the Virginia Department of Transportation will deliver and manage the tolling operation, and the NVTC will invest toll revenues in multimodal improvements to directly benefit users of the corridor.   On December 3, 2015, the NVTC approved its part of the agreement to invest toll revenues.

Under the 40-year Framework Agreement between the CTB and NVTC, which will be implemented jointly by VDOT and NVTC:

  • VDOT will be responsible for:
    • Operations and maintenance
    • Tolling
    • Roadway improvements
  • NVTC will be responsible for:
    • Selecting multimodal improvements
    • Ensuring compliance with law and agreement
    • Reporting on use of funds

Key Milestones

Key Milestones Begin Dates
Public Outreach Ongoing
Working Group/Technical Stakeholder Advisory Group Meetings Ongoing
Design Public Hearings March 7, 8 and 9, 2016
Select Group 1 Multimodal Components Spring 2016
Start Tolling Construction Summer 2016
Begin Tolling Summer 2017

Background

This multimodal project is based on recommendations from the June 2012 Final Report of the I-66 Multimodal Study Inside the Beltway, which involved participation and support from federal, state, local governments as well as transit providers. 

The study built upon the 2009 DRPT I-66 Transit/Transportation Demand Management (TDM) Study. It evaluated and recommended various multimodal improvements for the corridor. 

Further refinements to the improvements were made in the August 2013 Supplemental Report. Recommendations from these studies include the following multimodal solutions for the I-66 Inside the Beltway Corridor:

  • Improved transit service
  • Bicycle and pedestrian access
  • Transportation demand management strategies to manage travel demand and promote alternative travel options
  • Integrated Corridor Management
  • Tolling non-HOV-3+ vehicles during peak travel-time in order to manage demand for the lanes and keep them free-flowing at all times, while providing a seamless connection to the region’s network of Express Lanes
  • Consideration of future widening

In January 2015, the team kicked off efforts to advance the multimodal improvements identified in the earlier studies. 

Additional Information

For additional information, please see the project FAQs.