Hundreds of persons played significant roles in the I-66 controversy. Here is a glimpse at what has happened to some of them and their reflections on the controversy:
* Former Gov. Mills E. Godwin pushed hard to get the road built. "I did all I could to promote it over a period of years. It was a matter of dispute when I ran for lieutenant governor in 1961 and it was still in controversy when I ran for governor in 1965 and the next time 1973 . Had it not been for President Ford and then Secretary of Transportation William Coleman, I don't know whether we would have gotten it resolved."
Godwin added, "I regret it took so long to remove all the hurdles. It's been a great inconvenience to the public and it wasn't really all that necessary to prolong the hearings as they did. It took a completely unncecessary length of time. I-66 is badly needed and it's not in conflict with the Metro system. They're both needed."
Asked if he prefers the current four-lane, restricted-access road over original plans, Godwin said, "I think some of the earlier designs would have been preferable, but this was all we could get and we thought we better get going with it."
* Douglas B. Fugate, commissioner of the Virginia Department of Highways and Transportation throughout most of the I-66 battle, retired six years ago. The target of intensive lobbying by foes of the road, Fugate declined to comment on the road today. "I don't care to comment on I-66 or any other highway matters," he said recently.
* Bright N. Springman, an exhibit designer for the U.S. Geological Survey until he retired in August, used his professional expertise in the battle against I-66 and the once-proposed Three Sisters Bridge that would have crossed the Potomac just north of Key Bridge.
Over an eight-week period during his spare time, he surveyed the then-proposed I-66 right-of-way and purchased aerial photos from the USGS to help him draft dozens of maps. One was a 50-foot map of the highway's path and another showed how the battleship Missouri could comfortably fit into the highway and right-of-way horizontally with room to spare.
Springman and his wife, Lois, also an active I-66 opponent, moved from Arlington to Reston five years ago to be closer to the USGS office there. Until then, they had lived in the Colonial Terrace Apartments, at 1577 Colonial Terrace, which is adjacent to the road.
"I thought I-66 was unnecessary," Springman said recently, adding that later modifications to the road design were an improvement over the original plan. "It would have been a mess."
Asked if he would use the road he spent so many days fighting, Springman said, "I guess I will if I have to."
* Harold J. McCoy, a former secretary of the Interstate Commerce Commission who as a private citizen became a plaintiff in the first suit against I-66, was renowned in his Arlington neighborhood for the beautiful azalea gardens he and his wife, Laura, tended at their former North 21st Street home, which abutted Spout Run Parkway.
The McCoys, who moved to a retirement home in Alexandria, fought hard to preserve the Spout Run park land, through which Harold McCoy built nearly four miles of trails; he also maintained a Civil War trench in the area.
"I have a feeling our opposition was very well taken," McCoy said of the fight to protect the park land. "It's just too bad the state didn't act on the recommendations numerous citizens' groups argued for at the time. But my hunch is that when the road is opened, there are going to be quite a few traffic jams and that was one of several reasons we offered in opposition to '66."
McCoy said the citizens "won only a partial victory. We had hoped '66 could have been kept out of Arlington, but the fates had it otherwise."
* Leslie Logan attended nearly every meeting and hearing on the road, which he likens to "the Berlin Wall through Arlington." The founder and president of the Arlingtonians for the Preservation of the Potomac Palisades, Logan still lives in his North 23rd Road home, several blocks from and out of the sight of I-66.
Logan entered the fray as a result of his membership in a Washington organization opposing the Three Sisters Bridge and the destruction of park land it would have involved on the Virginia side of the Potomac. "The end product of that bridge struggle , the evil, was I-66 . . . . It's the most unfortunate, unproductive, wasteful thing I've ever seen in my life," he said.
Now retired from the Voice of America, where he worked as a translator for 32 years, Logan still corresponds with the U.S. Interior and Transportation departments and proudly displays pictures of President Lyndon B. Johnson and Vice President Hubert H. Humphrey and letters from them commending him for his concerns about the preservation of the park land.
He is also proud of his and others' lobbying efforts to get the Virginia Highway Department to reopen hearings on the road in 1970.
"The fight was larger than [for] Arlington. It was really for the nation's capital," he says. "The biggest impact will be on the nation's capital. There will be tremendous traffic jams and no space to accommodate more cars. All this so it's eight minutes [faster] coming from Fairfax to the nation's capital, and so far it's costing $275 million."