Montgomery County Council President Roger Berliner (D-Potomac-Bethesda) wants state transportation officials to consider using the shoulder lanes of the American Legion Bridge to ease traffic on a notoriously clogged section of the Beltway.
The impetus for a letter Berliner and Fairfax County Board of Supervisors Chair Sharon Bulova sent last week to their respective state transportation agencies is the pending introduction of High Occupancy Toll (HOT) lanes on the Virginia section of the Beltway.
Berliner is concerned that the HOT lanes, and the seven-mile gap between them and the I-270 HOV lanes in Maryland, will cause the American Legion Bridge to become even more of a “chokehold” for Montgomery County commuters.
Those concerns set up what Berliner characterized as a historic July meeting between officials from Montgomery and Fairfax Counties.
“Montgomery County and Fairfax County have literally never sat down together,” Berliner said Monday. “We can compete for new business but we can talk together. We can work together. We have put this before the state highway leaders and said, ‘We need you to understand that by the end of the year, Virginia will have these HOT lanes and the traffic is only going to get worse.'”
The HOT lanes will run from the Springfield Interchange to just north of the Dulles Toll Road.
“This effort is designed to see if we can come up with an interim solution, not a perfect solution,” Berliner said.
The letter specifically asks the state transportation agencies to examine using shoulder lanes as exclusive bus lanes or for general HOV traffic during peak hours.
Flickr photo by raueri