Major work is continuing in Centreville to rebuild the Route 28/Interstate 66 interchange to accommodate I-66 Express Lanes as part of the Virginia Department of Transportation’s $3.7 billion Transform 66 Outside the Beltway project.
Outer portions of the I-66 bridge at Va. 28 are being demolished to allow for the addition of the express lanes, a component of the projects’ overhaul of the interchanges, which VDOT officials said are on track to be completed in November. The express lanes are scheduled to open in 2022.
Along Route 28, bridge beams were installed in late January at the Poplar Tree Road Bridge, causing significant overnight detours between 11 p.m. and 5 a.m. A new entrance road to E.C. Lawrence Park has also been moved from Route 28 to Stonecroft Boulevard.
Susan Shaw, VDOT’s regional transportation program director for Northern Virginia, called the Route 28 interchange “one of the most complex in the corridor,” and said it’s so heavily-trafficked that the decision was made to give it direct access to and from the express lanes. Shaw said work in the area will intensify even more in the summer.
“We are now in the thick of construction work on the project,” she said. “Drivers should be very vigilant when they’re driving, as much work as you see going on out there today, it’s going to continue to ramp up in the summer months.”
By the end of the year, transportation officials say, all traffic signals on Route 28 between Westfields Boulevard and U.S. 29 in Centreville will be removed, and an overpass linking Braddock and Walney Roads will be complete, offering access to express and general purpose lanes. VDOT expects the new arrangement to reduce traffic flowing to I-66 from Route 28.
At the I-66 interchange with Route 29, the ramp leading from the northbound lanes to I-66 East closed earlier this month, detouring traffic further north, where drivers are being forced to make a U-turn at Trinity Parkway to access the interstate. That detour is expected to last about four months.
The overall scope of the project will add 22.5 miles of tolled express lanes to I-66, an extension of the express lanes added inside the beltway in 2017. The general use lanes will remain free, but the express lanes will feature a variable toll that fluctuates based on the speeds in the express lane (when speeds slow because of increased traffic, the toll increases).
Some motorists and politicians have complained that the express lanes inside the beltway are too expensive, at times spiking as high as $46. But officials say they keep traffic flowing for those willing to carpool (carpoolers can access the lanes for free) or ride buses, which also have access to the lanes.
Officials broke ground on the Transform 66 Outside the Beltway project in November of 2017, and work is scheduled to be completed by December 2022.