- Adopts resolution endorsing multimodal improvements and encourages Federal, state and local coordination
- Outlines remaining concerns with Environmental Assessment
- Urges Commonwealth to work with County to monitor, mitigate impacts on Arlington streets, cultural or natural resources
- Endorses realigning Custis Trail at Bon Air Park, grade-separating W&OD Trail crossing at Lee Highway, with robust community process for design
The County Board today adopted a resolution outlining areas of support and ongoing concern with the Environmental Assessment prepared by the Virginia Department of Transportation’s (VDOT) for a project to widen I-66 eastbound between the Dulles Connector and Fairfax Drive.
“Arlington supports the broad goals of this plan, including the focus on moving more people versus vehicles through the corridor. We are also committed to ensure that VDOT mitigates any impacts on our residents and neighborhoods that may result from the mandated eastbound widening,” Arlington County Board Chair Jay Fisette said. “VDOT has been responsive to our concerns as the project has taken shape, and we anticipate working closely with them to monitor the project as it moves forward.”The Board voted 5-0 to adopt the resolution. To read the staff report, visit the County website. Scroll down to Item No. 37 on the Agenda for the January 28, 2017 Regular County Board Meeting.
The Board voted 5-0 to adopt the resolution. To read the staff report, visit the County website. Scroll down to Item No. 37 on the Agenda for the January 28, 2017 Regular County Board Meeting.
Working to mitigate impacts on Arlington
In its resolution, the Board says it will work to ensure that the Commonwealth monitors and mitigates the project’s impacts on Arlington streets and on cultural or natural resources.
VDOT released the Environmental Assessment for the eastbound widening of I-66 from the Dulles Connector to Fairfax Drive in November. Based on a review of the technical documentation and public testimony, the Board resolution calls for VDOT to continue working cooperatively with the County on addressing the following:
- Impacts on right of way and other resources – VDOT anticipates that the eastbound widening will occur primarily toward the inner portion of the I-66 roadway, but temporary or permanent property easements or acquisitions will be needed along the easternmost portion of the project.
- Traffic analysis and impacts to Arlington streets – The Environmental Assessment identified several intersections in Arlington that will experience increased congestion as a result of the widening. Staff is concerned that the traffic analysis used for the Environmental Assessment does not include any multimodal travel, which is a primary goal of the Transform 66 project and the studies supporting it.
- Impacts to the regional trail network – VDOT has proposed realigning the Custis Trail at Bon Air Park and grade-separating the crossing of the W&OD Trail at Lee Highway. The Board resolution endorses these improvements and asks that VDOT ensure a robust community process will be incorporated into the design process to achieve a context sensitive solution for the W&OD Trail changes.
- Noise mitigation – VDOT will solicit input from property owners and renters who would benefit from noise mitigation as to the desirability of the installation of noise barriers along I-66. County staff will work with VDOT to ensure messaging to the public on the noise barrier selection process is communicated as comprehensively as possible. The Board also encouraged VDOT to work with WMATA, FTA and others to explore options for additional noise mitigation related to Silver Line and new generation of rail cars.
- Stormwater Management Infrastructure – In response to public testimony, the Board reinforced the important responsibility that VDOT has to ensure that existing and future stormwater infrastructure by adequately designed and maintained.
About Transform66 Inside the Beltway
The goals of VDOT’s Transform66: Inside the Beltway improvements are to move more people, enhance connectivity, improve transit service, reduce roadway congestion, and increase travel options. The first component of Transform66 will convert I-66 inside the Beltway to an Express Lanes facility with dynamic tolling during peak periods only. Construction began in 2016, and the toll lanes are expected to open in summer 2017.
Concurrently, the Northern Virginia Transportation Commission initiated a call for projects for $10 million made available by the Commonwealth for multimodal improvements along the I-66 corridor. Arlington received funding for five projects, most of which are underway and anticipated to be operational by the first day of tolling. Nearly all future toll revenues are dedicated to support multi-modal improvements through the corridor.
Responding to Environmental Assessment
After the Environmental Assessment was released, a design public hearing for the project was held at Washington-Lee High School in Arlington on Dec. 5. The public comment period for the Environmental Assessment will close on Jan. 30, 2017.
How to comment:
Review project information and environmental studies at www.inside.Transform66.org. Written comments may be mailed to Ms. Amanda Baxter, Special Projects Development Manager, at VDOT’s Northern Virginia District Office, 4975 Alliance Drive, Fairfax, VA 22030. Comments may also be emailed to Transform66@VDOT.Virginia.gov.
Reference “Transform 66 Inside the Beltway Eastbound Widening” in the subject line of your letter or email. Comments must be postmarked, emailed or delivered to VDOT by Jan. 30, 2017, to be included in the public hearing record.