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The State of NoVa
Posted at 05:00 AM ET, 12/15/2011

I-66 merge to Beltway no longer a dance with death

Entering the Beltway from the left lane typically involves these sentiments: “I think I can do this...SORRY!...Look at this guy!...Hey, I’m MERGING here.” (Mark Gail - WASHINGTON POST)
For the many thousands who drive east on I-66 through Fairfax County, and then need to head north on the Beltway, the on-ramp dumps you into the left lane of oncoming high speed traffic of the Beltway’s inner loop. And then that lane goes away (!!), forcing a merge across two lanes of angry oncoming high speed drivers. And if you want to make it over to the Route 7 exit for Tysons Corner, you can just put on your helmet and crash crazily across all the lanes like a demolition derby driver at the county fair.

Now, Dr. Gridlock informs us, this dance with death is nearly over. Starting Saturday, the right hand exit from I-66 will fly over the insanity and deposit you in the right lane of the Beltway. And some day, that right lane will extend all the way to the Route 7 exit for Tysons. How will the tow truck drivers survive?

In the perpetual, cyclical purgatory of traffic construction in Northern Virginia, this life-extending gift comes courtesy of the HOT lanes project, Dr. G tells us. But it will not, of course, end construction at one of the region’s busiest interchanges. And it does NOT apply to the left-hand exit from I-66 to the northbound Beltway. That will still require you to weave into the Daytona 500 backstretch, but at least you will not have the folks from the right-hand exit to also do battle with. So that’s something.

In less encouraging commuting news, tolls on the Dulles Greenway are about to go up at peak hours to $4.80 one way. That’s $9.60a day roundtrip, or $192 per month. We’ll have more on that in an upcoming post.

(NOTE: This post updated, by popular demand, to drop the term “oncoming” from the description of the traffic merge. You speak, we listen. Usually.)

By  |  05:00 AM ET, 12/15/2011

Categories:  Traffic, NoVa | Tags:  I-66, Capital Beltway, Virginia

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