Saturday, January 23, 2016

VDOT Releases Latest I-66 Environmental Assessment Docs

I-66 Trail at Route 123
VDOT recently released the I-66 Outside the Beltway Tier 2 Environmental Assessment (EA) documents. The project includes a major regional trail parallel to I-66 from Gallows Road to the Fairfax County border as well as  new bike and ped facilities on rebuilt bridges. We are asking cyclists to contact VDOT by February 4 to support bike access along and across I-66. Please reference "I-66 Tier 2 Revised EA" in the subject.

See the Fairfax County portion of the Parallel Trail map. The trail would extend the Custis Trail located inside the Beltway. See the FABB I-66 Info Page for other supporting documents.

The Federal Highway Administration requires the preparation of an EA when VDOT conducts a significant project like the expansion of the I-66 corridor. According to the document, "This Tier 2 Revised EA is being made available for a 15-day public review and comment period. All comments received on the Tier 2 Revised EA will be considered and substantive comments will be addressed prior to finalizing the Tier 2 EA process and prior to a Tier 2 NEPA decision by FHWA." Comments are due February 4.

From VDOT: "Submit your written comments on the Tier 2 Revised EA by February 4, 2016 to Ms. Susan Shaw, PE, by email to or via the online comment form on the project's website or join the discussion. Please reference "I-66 Tier 2 Revised EA" in the subject line for all correspondence."

Earlier VDOT released the Requests for Proposals that included Technical Requirements which contained proposed locations where the parallel trail can be accessed from adjacent neighborhoods. We will post our analysis of those points soon.

From the report: Bicycle and Pedestrian Elements
The bicycle and pedestrian accommodation recommendations would support the overall purpose and need of the project, seeking to achieve the following objectives:
  • Increase access to public transportation
  • Increase travel choices
  • Increase bicycle and pedestrian connectivity for communities within the I-66 corridor
  • Accommodate safe and efficient bicycle and pedestrian travel within the I-66 corridor
  • Integrate existing and planned bicycle and pedestrian networks in communities along the I-66
  • corridor
Bicycle Network
Accommodating bicycles strategically along and crossing the I-66 corridor could provide substantial benefits to the transportation system, benefits to the environment, and improvement to people’s quality of life. Bicycling is a healthy, efficient, and affordable transportation alternative. It can dramatically enhance people’s access to transit and related facilities, connect neighboring communities, improve people’s health, and reduce people’s reliance on a personal automobile for short and moderate-distance trips.

Fairfax County and Prince William County have invested substantially in bicycling infrastructure, and along with transportation-related associations, the counties have also invested in programs to encourage and expand bicycling. Currently, I-66 is a barrier to bicycle network connectivity in many locations outside the Beltway (I-495). The modification of bridges, ramp termini, the freeway mainline, and some local roadways offers the opportunity for bicycling networks along the corridor (existing and planned) to become better connected.

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