Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) officials are proposing a fetching new design for the soon-to-be-revamped interchange at Interstate 66 and Nutley Street in Vienna.
Unlike the previous “diverging diamond” design, which would have had two traffic signals, the new “dog bone” plan would feature a pair of roundabouts on Nutley Street north and south of I-66, VDOT officials told the Vienna Town Council in an Oct. 15 briefing.
The new design would have a smaller footprint, provide better traffic flow, have a westbound exit onto Nutley Street from the new Express Lanes and have a shared-use path for bicyclists and pedestrians featuring no at-grade crossings, said Susan Shaw, VDOT’s Northern Virginia Megaprojects director.
VDOT officials say the “Transform 66 Outside the Beltway” project is on schedule to be completed by December 2022. The $3.7 billion initiative is a public-private partnership between VDOT, the Virginia Department of Rail and Public Transportation and a private firm, I-66 Express Mobility Partners.
The upgrades, which will stretch 22.5 miles between I-495 and University Drive in Gainesville, will include the addition of two Express Lanes in each direction, 4,000 new park-and-ride spaces, bicycle and pedestrian pathways, and additional bus service.
In addition to the usual construction-related traffic delays, the project will affect 290 land parcels along the route (171 of them east of Route 50) and require the taking of seven houses, whose residents will have to relocate.
VDOT this summer turned off the agency’s active-traffic-management system in preparation for construction, Shaw said. Four travel lanes will remain open on I-66 during peak construction periods, she said.
Transportation officials originally planned to put a bike trail near the highway and protect it with a 32-inch-high barrier and a fence, but they now favor a 50-inch-high barrier and no fence, Shaw said.
Answering queries from Town Council members, Shaw confirmed the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority plans to close down service on parts of Metro’s Orange Line between July 5 and Sept. 6, 2020.
VDOT officials will coordinate with the transit agency to construct I-66 upgrades in those areas when Metro service is unavailable, but may need additional weekend closures, she said.