VDOT holds public hearings for new I-66 improvement design

VIENNA, Va. --Monday, The Virginia Department of Transportation, along with I-66 Mobility Partners, got some varied reaction to their final design plans for a new $3 Billion dollar project to expand I-66 from the Capital Beltway down to Gainesville in Prince William County.

Project officials say that it will improve transit, but nearby residents say it will impact their homes and the environment.

“It’s just going to be crowded… everybody’s going to hurry up and wait to get to the bridges.”, said Valerie Kritter, who lives off the I-66 corridor.

Susan Shaw of VDOT laid out the plan, which will take place in three segments throughout the corridor.

Shaw explained, “Our project is 22 ½ miles of express lanes, two lanes in each direction along with connections along the wave to the express lanes. It’s also a multi modal project so we’re incorporating bike and pedestrian improvements and trails.”

Shaw also said toll revenues will also help to fund transit improvements in the corridor.

However, residents have said that they only see a benefit to the commuter, not the people who call the area home.

Kritter said, “We live right next to Southside Park and my house does butt up on 66, and they’re going to take up some of my property and I’m not very happy and I don’t want the cyclists going behind my house.”

April Stull also lives along the route and said, “We’re still concerned about the loss of our common area and having that fly-over so high above our neighborhood. And, like I said, the noise and construction impacts to our properties.”

There are also environmental concerns, said Kris Unger with Friends of Accotink Creek, who got involved with the 495 expansion of the Beltway, which he says destroyed parts of the forest. He said he does not want to see the same thing happen with this project.

“Why can’t we be working to improve public transit, maintain the metro corridor, and do everything possible to minimize the negative impacts to the environment.”, said Unger.

Construction on the I-66 improvements will start this fall and ram up next spring.
The project is set for completion by 2022.
Shaw said no lane closures during peak hours.
Two more public hearings will be held Tuesday, November 14th and Thursday, November 16th.
Deadline for public comment is November 29th.