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The Virginia Department of Transportation aims to have plans formalized for upgrades to the challenging Interstate 395 Shirlington traffic circle in coming months. Then the hunt for funding intensifies.

The final proposal of the $1.6 million study, which has been in the works since 2015, is likely to incorporate recommendations that were unveiled during a recent community forum, including:

• Widening the exit to Arlington Mill Drive;

• Signalizing the rotary at North Quaker Lane; and

• Signalizing the Interstate 395 off-ramp at Campbell Avenue.

The proposals aim to improve efficiency and safety at the circle, which currently features a mix of low- and high-speed traffic, the need for multi-lane weaving to get on and off, and backups at peak times.

As a result, drivers at the circle face higher-than-normal chances of rear-end collisions and side-swipe accidents, according to VDOT officials.

The federal government is funding the study, and about $2.5 million is in the till for improvements. But the entire cost of the improvement plan is estimated at $9.7 million if the work is done at once, higher if improvements are phased in. Federal, state, regional and local appropriations are likely to be necessary to support improvements.

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