The Governor issued the following statement, which should be good news to Northern Virginia commuters. The Governor cites this as an example of a low-cost solution which will improve commutes for thousands of motorists.
"Governor Bob McDonnell today announced that the westbound I-66 exit ramps to Monument Drive and Stringfellow Road in Fairfax County will open to all traffic – HOV as well as non-HOV – on weekends and during off-peak hours beginning at 10 a.m. Monday, February 28th.
"Opening these ramps is a low-cost solution to improve commute times for thousands of congestion-weary commuters in Fairfax County," said Governor McDonnell. "Anyone who travels I-66 mid-day or weekends knows that congestion in this area is just as common outside of the traditional rush hours. Now motorists will have easier access to shopping centers, office parks and residential areas near the two exit ramps.
Currently, the Monument Drive and Stringfellow Road ramps are open only to HOV-2 traffic eastbound from 5:30 a.m. to 9:30 a.m. and westbound from 3:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. The ramps are closed to traffic during off-peak hours and weekends.
Beginning February 28th, the ramps will be open to all traffic except during HOV hours. New overhead digital message signs will alert drivers as to when the exit ramps are OPEN, CLOSED or HOV-ONLY. Traffic signs and signals at the top of the exit ramps have been upgraded and traffic signals near the interchanges will be retimed to accommodate traffic.
Opening the ramps to all traffic during non-HOV hours will:
- Improve travel times and air quality;
- Provide alternate routes for motorists avoiding the construction work zone at Fairfax County Parkway and Fair Lakes where the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) is building an interchange through 2013; and
- Give buses and motorists direct access to the Stringfellow Road park-and-ride lot.
VDOT traffic engineers project that up to 5,800 vehicles a day will use the Stringfellow Road ramp and 2,400 vehicles a day will use the Monument Drive ramp.
VDOT crews will install a series of new overhead signs on westbound I-66 over several nights beginning February 13th. The final cost to open the ramps, including the new signs and installation is about $200,000.
"I want to recognize Federal Highway Administrator Victor Mendez for his leadership and personal involvement in opening these ramps. He played a critical role in advancing this important project for Northern Virginia," stated McDonnell. VDOT worked closely with Federal Highway Administrator Victor Mendez and many elected officials from the area to advance this concept through the necessary environmental and regulatory approvals".