The Washington Post

Beltway bridge reopening Friday

The Virginia Department of Transportation plans to reopen the Idylwood Road bridge south of Tysons Corner on Friday, following its reconstruction as part of the High Occupancy Toll lanes project.

All the bridges along a 14-mile stretch of the western side of the Beltway in Virginia are being widened to accommodate the four extra Beltway lanes needed for the HOT lanes. In most cases, traffic has been shifted to one bridge span while the adjacent one is demolished, then traffic is moved to the new side, and the remaining old section is demolished. This maintains the traffic flow throughout the construction.

The Idylwood Road bridge, located between Interstate 66 and Route 7, was handled differently. Nearby is another Beltway overpass, the Oak Street bridge. After consulting with the community, VDOT settled on a plan it said could speed up the reconstruction. Workers first closed and rebuilt the Oak Street bridge, detouring traffic. After that reopened last summer, they closed the Idylwood Road bridge and created another detour, using Route 7 and Gallows Road.

VDOT says the reopening of the Idylwood Road bridge will occur a year-and-a-half before it would have if the reconstruction had been done in stages.

The new two-lane bridge is slightly wider than the old one, to accommodate pedestrians and bicyclists. It is located between the I-66 and Route 7 interchanges.

Robert Thomson is The Washington Post’s “Dr. Gridlock.” He answers travelers’ questions, listens to their complaints and shares their pain on the roads, trains and buses in the Washington region.

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