A year and a week after the Dulles Toll Road opened for commuters, local officials say it is congested and are calling for the road's expansion from four lanes to six.
The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors voted yesterday to urge state and federal authorities to study widening the 13-mile, $56.7 million toll road, the only one in the Washington area.
Until the road is widened, the county board urged, buses, van pools and car pools should be allowed during rush hours to use the Dulles Airport Access Road, which runs parallel to the toll road and is now open only to traffic to and from the airport.
The board also asked state officials to consider keeping traffic lights at the toll booths switched to green during rush hour to ease jams along the road.
"The toll roads have been such a tremendous success that they're now overburdened," said board Vice Chairman Martha V. Pennino (D-Centreville).
In other actions yesterday, the board:
*Endorsed a plan to ease appeal procedures for people whose property tax bills on older cars have increased sharply because of a change in state law.
*Decided to file a friend-of-the-court brief supporting the state's appeal of a federal court decision that struck down a state law requiring sellers to wrap and place out of youngsters' reach books and magazines containing sexually explicit material.
The vote on the toll road measure, which Pennino sponsored, was 6 to 1. Supervisor Audrey Moore (D-Annandale) cast the lone dissenting vote, arguing that extra lanes for the toll road should be used only by buses, van pools and car pools. Two board members, James M. Scott (D-Providence) and Joseph Alexander (D-Lee), were absent from yesterday's session.
Some aspects of the board's vote on the toll road met with immediate opposition from the Virginia Department of Highways and Transportation, which administers the road.
Thomas F. Farley, the highway department's assistant district engineer for Northern Virginia, said "there would be a significant loss of revenue" if buses, van pools and car pools were diverted from the toll roads to the access road.
Farley also said there is no evidence that extra lanes are needed for the toll road. "We're looking for a temporary solution," he said, such as using the road shoulder to create a third lane to ease traffic heading into Washington in the morning. He also said the highway department could not afford to finance a major expansion project from toll road revenues.
James A. Wilding, director of metropolitan Washington airports for the Federal Aviation Administration, which operates the access road, said he "would be happy to chat" with the county about allowing buses from the toll road to use the access road. However, he acknowledged that the opposition of the state highway department could block the scheme.
Wilding added that it would be difficult to rearrange ramps between the access and toll roads so that buses, van pools and car pools could move from one to the other and to the exits.
The toll road, which opened Oct. 1, 1984, has been extraordinarily popular among commuters from Loudoun and Fairfax counties. About 60,000 vehicles use the road every day -- a traffic count 50 percent higher than that projected by the state highway department.
In the first year of operation, the tolls on the road took in about $8 million, approximately $1.6 million more than had been expected. Nevertheless, state highway officials say the additional revenue is needed to pay operating costs for the toll road.