(Updated Sept. 16)
The signs have been looming quietly overhead on I-66 for a few months, but the Virginia Department of Transportation’s new “active traffic management system” is now live.
The new system, which runs from D.C. to Gainesville, includes:
Expanded use of the shoulder lanes between the Beltway and Route 50 – The shoulder lanes, also known as the red ‘X’ lanes, will routinely be opened to traffic when congestion builds, regardless of the time of day or day of the week. Currently, the shoulder lanes are used only during weekday peak periods.
New lane control signals on all lanes between Nutley Street and Route 29 in Centreville – Motorists will be able to see which lanes are usable or blocked well in advance of incidents (lane control signals between Nutley Street and the Beltway will be completed in the next few weeks).
Expanded camera and message sign coverage between the District of Columbia and Route 29 in Gainesville – The cameras will improve monitoring of the highway and enable transportation, safety and law enforcement personnel to respond more quickly and appropriately to incidents. The dynamic message signs will advise drivers on incidents and delays.
Upgrades to the ramp metering system inside the Beltway – The ramp meters that help manage traffic merging onto I-66 will be able to adapt to traffic conditions.
Wondering what the signs will look like and what directions you’ll need to follow? Here are a few sample renderings:
Take a virtual ride in this simulation of VDOT’s system: