Dear Dr. Gridlock:

In your June 1 column, you announced a number of meetings and public hearings to be held concerning the proposed Outer Beltway. Would it be possible for you to print a summary of the results of those meetings? R.G. NEWBERN Clinton

A little more than 4,000 people attended the hearings around the metropolitan area, and 390 spoke. "As in most matters, the speakers tended to be opposed, and the advocates stayed home," said Mary Anne Reynolds, spokeswoman for the Virginia Department of Transportation. More than 2,000 letters have been received, and those are running about 2 to 1 in favor of an outer beltway, she said.

Those opposed cite adverse impact on surrounding communities, and environmental concerns, plus a conviction that building more roads will simply generate more development and fail to relieve traffic congestion. Those in favor generally believe the road will reduce traffic on the Capital Beltway and key area bridges by allowing north-south traffic to bypass the Washington area.

The most heavily attended hearing was at Potomac Senior High School in Prince William County, where 800 showed up, mostly opposed to the impact of a western bypass alignment affecting the Montclair community. Next in popularity were 600 at Thomas Stone High School in Waldorf, and 300 in Bowie; those who spoke at these two meetings largely opposed the eastern bypass.

Comments from public agencies and citizens are being digested, and some environmental reports are being completed. By early next year, the governors of Maryland and Virginia are expected to make a decision on which, if any, of the alignments to endorse.

The cost of a complete Washington bypass, with a western leg connecting Interstate 95 to Interstate 70 near Frederick, and an eastern leg connecting I-95 and U.S. Routes 50 and 301 in Prince George's County, is expected to cost $3 billion and take a decade to construct. None of the money has been obtained for such a project.

Comments are still being accepted for the official record, but only if postmarked by midnight tonight. Write to either Neil J. Pedersen, Maryland State Highway Administration, P.O. Box 717, Baltimore, Md. 21203; or R.C. Lockwood, Virginia Department of Transportation, 1401 East Broad St., Richmond, Va. 23219.

Bridge Work for Roosevelt

Dear Dr. Gridlock:

What is the story on the Theodore Roosevelt Bridge? It almost seems as if they are trying to squeeze additional lanes onto the bridge, but that would likely take some time and a lot of work. Please supply some details on the work schedule and precisely what is being done. JAMES T. SHEA Falls Church

Work started on the bridge April 9 and, you're right, an additional lane is being installed. The eight-foot concrete median is being replaced with a smaller one, and each of the six lanes is being reduced from 12 feet wide to 11 feet to provide a fourth inbound lane.

The $2.9 million project draws its impetus from Rep. Frank R. Wolf (R-Va.), who was able to help obtain

$1.5 million in federal funds and persuade the District government, which owns the bridge, to make the addition.

"The George Washington Parkway, I-66 and U.S. Route 50 all converge at that bridge," said Charles White, a spokesman for Wolf. "Our studies project that with a fourth lane, the average speed for morning rush-hour traffic will increase from 15 mph to 33 mph."

The latest traffic counts show the Roosevelt Bridge carrying 86,000 vehicles a day, about 15,000 more than either the Key or Memorial bridges.

The project is expected to be completed by next April.

One, Two, Red Light

Dear Dr. Gridlock:

At the intersection of Connecticut Avenue, Jones Bridge Road and Kensington Parkway in Montgomery County, the cars coming off the parkway to Connecticut Avenue or Jones Bridge Road have a light that is of extremely short duration.

If no one hesitates when the light turns green, three cars might get through. Yesterday, a Metro bus, in eager anticipation of the green light, edged out to the middle of the intersection while the light was still on red.

Would you please request the officials to consider seriously the extension of the green light timing to allow at least a few more cars to traverse the intersection? D.L. SNAPP Kensington

Sorry, but Montgomery County traffic engineers say the light is intentionally short and that not much can be done about it.

Because so many roads converge at this spot, there is less green light time to go around, and because the traffic volume is considerably lower on Kensington Parkway than on Jones Bridge Road or Connecticut Avenue, the parkway gets the least time, according to Scott Wainwright of the county's Department of Transportation.

Beltway Samaritans

Dear Dr. Gridlock:

On Thursday, June 14, at about 9:30 p.m., I had a frightening experience on the Beltway. Everything turned out all right, thanks to several strangers whose names I did not get and one man whose name I did ask. I thought perhaps through your column I could thank all of them.

As I was driving north on the Beltway, about 1 1/4 miles south of the Braddock Road exit, my car just died. I was able to coast to the shoulder of the road. During the next hour I sat there, three different people stopped to ask how they could help me. I asked each one to call the police, and one or more did, because after an hour or so, a Mr. P.A. Durloc appeared.

He works for the Virginia Department of Transportation Safety Service Patrol, and had heard the call come in over his radio. Mr. Durloc kept me calm, called AAA for me, and had someone call my home to notify my family. Most important, he waited with me until the tow truck arrived, and had my car loaded onto the tow truck.

It seems the news is always full of the bad things that people do to one another, and how people do not go out of their way to help each other. But what happened to me proves that there are caring people in the metro area. DIANE SUMMEY Herndon

Three-Way Traffic Tie-Up

Dear Dr. Gridlock:

Re: The pedestrian versus biker versus motorist debate. I think Dr. Gridlock could help by printing a list of each party's primary problems with the others. VAN SMITH Washington

Okay. Nominations are open, in list form.

Construction Note

A major new Interstate 66 interchange, connecting Route 29 and I-66 in all directions at Centreville, will be opened within a few weeks. That should help relieve the Route 28-Route 29 intersection, which is one of the most congested and dangerous in Northern Virginia.

Pothole Report

Dear Dr. Gridlock:

Please list phone numbers to report potholes on the Beltway, in Fairfax County on Braddock Road west off-ramp and under Bradley Boulevard overpass in Montgomery County, etc. JOANNE ANGLE

For any pothole in Northern Virginia, call 1-800-367-ROAD; for any in Montgomery or Prince George's counties, call 220-7307.

The Lobbyist Line Forms Here

Several people, in response to an invitation from Dr. Gridlock, have expressed interest in creating a "Motorists United" organization that would give some unity to common commuter complaints, and press local officials for accountability and action. Maybe any such group should be called "Commuters United" to incorporate the concerns of bicyclists (aired here recently) and mass transit backers.

Such a group would fill a void that the Doctor (and many readers) have perceived exists in addressing such problems as lack of synchronized lights, illegal parking during rush hour, red light running, intersection blocking, and impartial investigations after major traffic tie-ups.

Those who have expressed interest in leading such a group include a former U.S. secretary of transportation, and several specialists in government and transportation lobbying. They are Gloria Aiken, Jerri Brown, John Chwat, Charles H. Emely, Charles G. Hardin, Pamela Kostmayer, David W. Pendleton and John J. Reynolds.

If others wish to add their names to the list, please do so in the next week. Next might be a meeting of those interested in forming such a group. They would then take it from there.

Dr. Gridlock appears in Metro 2 each Friday to explore what makes it difficult to get around on roads, from misleading signs to parking problems to chronic bottlenecks. We'll try to find out why bad situations exist and what is being done about them. You can suggest topics by writing (please don't phone) to DR. GRIDLOCK, The Washington Post, 1150 15th St. NW, Washington, D.C. 20071. Please include your full name, address and day and evening phone numbers.