ARLINGTON – (WMAL) Arlington County Board members want to make sure V-DOT holds up its end of the bargain as construction begins on an additional lane on Interstate 66 inside the Beltway.
The new eastbound lane was part of a compromise reached by Governor Terry McAuliffe and state lawmakers as McAuliffe advocated for HOT lane tolls to be implemented on all lanes inside the Beltway. While V-DOT has said no additional property will be needed to make room for the new lane, Arlington officials remained wary at a weekend meeting over the potential impacts.
“It’s something we care about a lot, and we want to make sure it’s working as well as it can, that it’s not expanded beyond what is required,” Arlington Board member Christian Dorsey said. “With it comes a commitment to actually do the transformative goals of this project in a way that doesn’t just require adding pavement or stormwater management.”
The Arlington County Board passed what amounts to its official public comment to V-DOT on the project, mentioning possible traffic, noise, and environmental concerns. Arlington wants V-DOT to solicit input from adjacent property owners on possible noise mitigation measures, including barriers between the highway and their property. Board members also said the adjacent trail network will have to be realigned, and they want V-DOT to incorporate local input in the new designs.
Above all else, however, Arlington officials said they want to make sure V-DOT continues an emphasis on making more non-car transportation options viable.
“Real long haul bus alternatives, rail, and other multimodal improvements, I think, are actually what really will transform I-66,” Board member Katie Cristol said.
Her comments were echoed by Board Chair Jay Fisette.
“We really do share the broad goals that V-DOT and this region and the county have come around, and they are to move more people, not just more vehicles,” Fisette said.
Under the agreement, toll money will help fund additional transportation options in the corridor. The new lane is expected to open in 2020.
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