The Arlington County Board received an update today from state transportation officials regarding the potential traffic, environmental and fiscal effects to Arlington resulting from the I-395 Express Lanes Northern Extension. The state project to add a third high occupancy vehicle (HOV) lane and convert the three HOV lanes to managed HOV/toll lanes is currently under environmental review.
Virginia transportation staff also gave an overview of their I-95/I-395 Transit/Transportation Demand Management (TDM) Study, which will develop a comprehensive list of transit and TDM projects eligible for funding from revenues generated by the I-395 Express Lanes extension.
The Commonwealth of Virginia has committed to providing a minimum of $15 million per year to fund transit and TDM projects along the I-95/I-395 corridor.
“We are following the environmental analysis closely and are working with the Virginia Department of Transportation [VDOT] to make sure any negative impacts to Arlington are mitigated and to assist VDOT in engaging residents so we all understand possible impacts to Arlington and potential mitigation by VDOT,” said County Board Chair Libby Garvey.
County staff have been working closely with VDOT to ensure the I-395 project’s environmental review includes a thorough analysis of impacts to Arlington. VDOT has indicated that the additional express lane will be constructed completely within its right of way.
County staff will provide a detailed analysis for the County Board in December regarding the following issues:
- Traffic impacts to Arlington – Includes impacts from future traffic conditions due to the express lanes, especially at the redesigned Eads Street interchange, and VDOT’s strategies for managing construction disruptions.
- Impacts from possible noise mitigation – VDOT will have a process that solicits resident input to determine if noise barriers will be installed throughout the corridor. The installation of noise barriers might require permanent or temporary easements and/or the removal of trees.
- A sufficient annual transit allocation – The preliminary results of the I-95/I-395 Transit/TDM study indicate the state’s $15 million annual transit allocation would be insufficient to expand transit and other travel options in the corridor in order to have a meaningful impact on non-auto travel.
County staff provided the Board with a background report to coincide with the presentations by state transportation officials.
To read the County and state slide presentations to the Board, visit the Agenda for the Tuesday, Oct. 18 County Board Meeting and scroll down to the first item.
In November 2015, the state proposed extending the I-95 Express Lanes 8 miles north along I-395, from near Edsall Road to South Eads Street in Arlington. Vehicles with three or more people would use the express lanes for free, while vehicles with fewer than three people could choose to pay a variable toll to use the express lanes. Construction is expected to begin next year, with the new lanes opening in 2019.
Providing input on the draft Environmental Assessment
In April the state held local public outreach meetings for the I-395 Express Lanes Northern Extension. A design public hearing hosted by VDOT will be held at Wakefield High School on Oct. 24. The project’s draft Environmental Assessment (EA) will also be presented for public review and comment.
I-395 Express Lanes Design VDOT Public Hearing
Monday, Oct. 24
Hearing is from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m., with a presentation at 7 p.m.
Wakefield High School, 1325 S. Dinwiddie Street, Arlington, VA 22206
The project’s draft EA is available on the VDOT website and at the Arlington Central Library (Center for Local History), 1015 N. Quincy St., Arlington, VA 22201.
The public may provide comments on the draft EA or design plans at the public hearing, or until close of business on Monday, Dec. 12:
- Comment by email to 395expresslanes@VDOT.Virginia.gov (reference “I-395 Express Lanes Northern Extension” in the subject line)
- Comment by mail to Ms. Amanda Baxter, Virginia Department of Transportation, 4975 Alliance Drive, Fairfax, VA 22030
Share your opinion on future I-395 travel choices
The Virginia Department of Rail and Public Transportation held an open house in Arlington last month to discuss its I-95/I-395 Transit/TDM study. As part of that review, to be released for public comment in December, the department is seeking online input on transit and TDM needs along the I-95/I-395 corridor.