Inching along on I-95 gives us lots of time to pin the blame

Sunday, November 1, 2009

These miserable rides occurred on Saturdays.

Dear Dr. Gridlock:

There are no words to describe the traffic situation on Interstate 95 from Springfield south. We entered I-95 south at the Fairfax County Parkway entrance at Newington/Fort Belvoir about 11:15 a.m. As soon as we got down to the Woodbridge exit, we crept from that point all the way to where we got off at Route 3 west in Fredericksburg.

And the HOV lanes, which were open southbound, were backed up several miles from the merge with the regular lanes as well. Did it get any better after that merge? No.

Then, we were returning home from our vacation at Smith Mountain Lake, everything went fine until we got into Fredericksburg. Route 3 was solid, and when we got onto I-95 north, it was nothing but bumper-to-bumper traffic again. We opted to get off I-95 in Aquia and try Route 1, but that was equally disastrous.

Ironically, the folks on WTOP radio were saying: "Are you tired of the traffic jams on I-95 between the Beltway and the Prince William County Parkway? Well, relief is soon on its way!" Baloney! The extra lanes being added to I-95 will still take a year or two to complete, and whether those lanes are open to all traffic or become HOT lanes, it is not going to relieve the traffic situation.

We have overpopulated the area: There are simply too many people and too many cars, and an alternate north-south route simply does not now exist, nor will one ever exist. Two "outer beltways" that take traffic headed for Baltimore, New Jersey and New York on the east and other major cities on the west might help, but they are years and years and years in the future, if they even get built.

We have allowed this thing to get completely out of hand, and it is going to get continually worse. I wish I could make the governor, the county supervisors from the multiple counties involved, the top dogs within the Virginia Department of Transportation and our state delegates all go through what we endured on both Saturday afternoons. Maybe then they would see how serious this has become, although they seem to be oblivious to it.

-- Lynn Pape, Lorton

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