Friday, October 2, 2015

I-66 Outside the Beltway detailed plans now available

I-66 at Nutley St, parallel trail shown as solid green line
The drawings for the I-66 Outside the Beltway project are now available on the VDOT website. We are very encouraged that the parallel trail on the north side of I-66 is an integral part of the project. Many of the ramp crossings are grade-separated using either a tunnel or bridge to allow safer crossings of the high speed ramps. Kudos to VDOT for including the trail, an extension of the Custis Trail, in their plans.

Also shown on the drawings are the bike facilities across the bridges that will be rebuilt as part of the project. In the Nutley/I-66 drawing on the right you can see "Proposed Shared Use Paths" as solid green lines. The parallel trail is on the north side weaving through the interchange with bridges or tunnels crossing the ramps. The dashed green line in the upper left is the "Proposed Shared Use Path (By Others)," which in this case would be a section of the parallel trail built by Fairfax County.

There's a great deal of information in a large number of drawings. These will be printed and placed in sequence at the public information meetings planned later this month. Cyclists are encouraged to attend these meetings and learn more about the proposed bike facilities and support VDOT's trail proposal. Even if you don't support the expansion of I-66, if the project is built, we strongly support the trail proposals.

I-66 Outside the Beltway meetings held between 6:30 and 8:30 (as per comment below):
Monday, October 19, 2015,
Oakton High School
2900 Sutton Road, Vienna, VA 22181

Tuesday, October 20, 2015VDOT Northern Virginia District Office
4975 Alliance Drive, Fairfax, VA 22030

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For the most part it looks really good - I wish it was available now. I am curious about the connection on the east end to the W&OD - it looks like the intent is to route bicycle traffic along Gallows Rd for about 1/2 mile to get from one to the other. Is this correct?

Is the name "Custis Trail" official, or is that just what we are calling it for now? I am wondering if it would be confusing to people to have to disjoint segments of trail with the same name. Then again, people in Arlington are used to that sort of thing.

Yes, I think a decision was made to follow the W&OD Trail to Gallows, then take the bike lanes or parallel trail on Gallows south to reach the new I-66 parallel trail.

We are referring to the I-66 parallel trail as the Custis Trail extended since so many people know about the Custis Trail and that it is very successful. It's a good model since all of the Custis Trail ramp crossings are grade-separated. Imagine using that trail if you had to cross the high speed exit/entrance ramps at-grade using just a crosswalk. It would be a very different experience and much more dangerous.
Thanks for the encouraging news.

This post omits the times of the VDOT meetings on October 19 and 20; both are scheduled from 6:30-8:30 PM.
Is there any commitment from the County to build the "by others" portions concurrent with the VDOT sections? It would be a shame to just end up with several unconnected sections. VDOT doesn't seem to be proposing a complete trail as a part of their project... Why not?

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