Having lived here for the last 25 years has given me a different perspective than those newly transplanted here from various parts of the country. I suppose those relocating from rural parts of the country think the summer traffic here is a joke – certainly not sustainable. This couldn’t possibly happen every week, can it?? You betcha!!
Twenty years ago, there were about three or four lights along all of Route 1 from Quantico down through South Stafford. It was an easy and reliable alternative when things got congested on I-95….which back then certainly wasn’t nearly as often as it is now. Still, it was a good option whenever the brake lights came on. Today, with the continued growth in both North and South Stafford, those quiet Rt 1 drives home seem like an eternity away!
“Summer” traffic used to start on late Friday night into early Saturday morning. By mid-afternoon Saturday, the roads were clear and it was business as usual. Today, “summer” traffic starts the first weekend the weather hits 70 degrees or higher! I’m not sure where these people are going, but the “weekend” starts on Wednesday afternoon and doesn’t end until Saturday night, sometimes Sunday. You don’t know whether they are coming or going!
Cars loaded with bikes, coolers, and boogie boards are heading south towards VA Beach or the Outer Banks while others choose the Maryland and Delaware beaches in which case those loaded up cars are heading north on 95. Either way, points in Stafford can become parking lots. This is especially frustrating when it’s 97 degrees and you are going 15 miles an hour with only 1 more exit to go…..but it is 6 miles away!
So you can imagine the relief many of us feel to know that VDOT is making the following improvements to help relieve some of that congestion and ultimately make our commutes north and south on I-95 a bit more tolerable.
New I-95 HOV/HOT Lanes Project
The new I-95 HOV/HOT lanes project will create approximately 29 miles of HOV/HOT lanes on I-95 from Garrisonville Road in Stafford County to the vicinity of Edsall Road on I-395 in Fairfax County and includes:
- Constructing two new reversible HOV/HOT lanes for nine miles from Route 610/Garrisonville Road in Stafford County to Route 234 in Dumfries, where the existing HOV lanes begin
- Widening the existing HOV lanes from two lanes to three lanes for 14 miles from the Prince William Parkway to approximately two miles north of the Springfield Interchange in the vicinity of Edsall Road
- Making improvements to the existing two HOV lanes for six miles from Route 234 to the Prince William Parkway
- Adding new or improved access points in the areas of Garrisonville Road, Joplin Road, Prince William Parkway, Fairfax County Parkway, Franconia-Springfield Parkway, I-495 and in the vicinity of Edsall Road.
The new HOV/HOT lanes project will no longer include the originally planned construction of six miles of HOV/HOT lanes on I-395 in Alexandria or Arlington County or upgrades to key interchanges at Shirlington and Eads Street in Arlington County. Those lanes will continue to be restricted to HOV, transit, eligible hybrids and motorcycles during rush hours.
However, VDOT is advancing plans to construct a new ramp at I-395 and Seminary Road for the Mark Center, concurrent with the HOV/HOT lanes project. The ramp will be open to HOV and transit only. Construction on the ramp could begin as early as 2012.
VDOT will also expand park-and-ride lots and fund other local transit improvements to maximize the benefit of the new HOV/HOT lanes network.
Irene Morales Ward, Realtor (r)
Northern Virginia Real Estate