I-66 East Set to Expand Inside the Beltway; Tolls Start in 2017

I-66 project map

Governor Terry McAuliffe and members from both parties and both chambers of the Virginia General Assembly announced today a bipartisan agreement to move forward on a plan to reduce congestion on I-66 inside the Beltway by widening a four mile stretch from the Dulles Connector Road to Ballston, improving transit, and adding new options for single drivers.

The work to start widening of eastbound I-66 from the Dulles Connector Road to Ballston will commence this year with an environmental assessment. Construction work will start in 2017 and the new lane will be open to traffic in 2019. This construction will take place within the existing right-of-way and will not take any homes.

“The Governor’s announcement today will advance this critical project, which faced dangerous opposition from the General Assembly. This plan relieves congestion on I-66, maintains regional and local control over toll revenue, does not divert funding from other local and regional priorities, and is in line with Fairfax County’s position on widening and tolling.” Sharon Bulova, Board of Supervisors Chairman

An original plan was previously approved by the Commonwealth’s Transportation Board in December; many of those details, including tolls, are still in place:

  • Converts I-66 inside the Beltway to Express Lanes during rush hours in the peak directions and improves transit options.
  • If you carpool today (two or more people in a vehicle), you will continue to ride the lanes for free when tolling is scheduled to begin in 2017 during morning and evening rush-hours (5:30 a.m. to 9:30 a.m. eastbound and 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. westbound). Solo drivers can ride the lanes in exchange for paying a variable toll based on the distance they travel. Average toll is expected to be $6 a trip.
  • In 2020, lanes will be free to vehicles with three or more people during rush-hours (carpoolers, vanpools and buses) and motorcycles per adopted regional policy. All others will pay a variable toll.
  • The lanes will remain free to all traffic during off-peak periods. There will be no tolling in the reverse commute.
  • All of the revenues raised from the tolls will be used by the Northern Virginia Transportation Commission for improvements in the corridor such as new transit service and carpooling incentives. Estimated toll revenue in 2018 is $18 million.

A separate plan is under consideration for I-66 outside the Beltway to Gainesville.

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