Several major new additions or changes to the region's Constrained Long-Range Transportation Plan (CLRP), including proposals to toll portions of I-66 in Virginia and to expand the District's dedicated bike-lane network, are now available for public comment through February 14.
The tolling proposals in Virginia would bring express toll lanes to I-66, both inside and outside the Capital Beltway. Such lanes opened on Virginia's portion of the Beltway in 2012, and on I-95 late last year.
Inside the Beltway, the proposal calls for charging tolls for all vehicles with fewer than three people traveling either direction during morning or evening peak periods. Those with three or more people would travel for free. Today, the highway is restricted to vehicles with two or more people during peak periods, but only in the peak direction.
The proposal also calls for widening a portion of I-66 by 2040 from two lanes in either direction to three -- from Fairfax Drive to the Beltway.
All together, the cost of the project is expected to approach $100 million.
Outside the Beltway, officials are proposing to create two new express toll lanes in either direction from the Beltway to Haymarket in Prince William County -- about 25 miles, in all. One lane in each direction would be built new, and the other would come by converting existing high-occupancy vehicle (HOV) lanes to express toll lanes. The highway would retain three general purpose, non-tolled lanes, as it does today.
The project, which is slated to be complete by 2022 at a cost of $2-3 billion, also includes improvements to bus service in the corridor and a number of smaller nearby bicycle and pedestrian improvements, though specific details have yet to be spelled out.
The other major addition proposed for the 2015 CLRP update is an expansion of the District's dedicated bike-lane network by removing roadway capacity currently serving motor vehicles. The lane-reduction proposal calls for removing approximately nine lane-miles of capacity on ten different road segments to create dedicated space for bicycle traffic. The project is expected to cost just under $500,000.
Also slated for this year's CLRP update is the removal of three streetcar projects in Virginia and the District.
In Virginia, officials have proposed removing both the Columbia Pike and Crystal City streetcars from the plan, following a vote by the Arlington County Board last year to cut funding to the projects.
District officials have proposed removing a planned 0.9-mile streetcar spur, added to the CLRP just last year, that would have connected the soon-to-open H Street NE/Benning Road streetcar line to the Minnesota Avenue Metrorail station. The move comes as a result of major cuts to the District's streetcar program enacted in 2014 by the District Council.
New to this year's update is information noting how the projects proposed to be added to the CLRP address top regional needs that the TPB encouraged agencies to consider when developing and selecting projects to submit for inclusion. That information is also available for review by the public, members of the TPB, and TPB stakeholders during the current comment period.
To learn more about the major new projects and changes to existing projects proposed for inclusion in the 2015 CLRP update, and to submit comments, visit www.mwcog.org/TPBcomment.
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Stay tuned: TPB Weekly Report will be covering the 2015 CLRP update throughout the coming year. To follow all coverage, please visit www.mwcog.org/CLRP2015 or follow #CLRP2015 on Twitter.