Who would have thought that our government would propose closing access to a taxpayer funded highway (I-495) restricting use by those same taxpayer/motorists? The closure I am referring to is the proposal to institute a four month trial closure by Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) of the ramp to access 495 (Capital Beltway) going north from Georgetown Pike to cross the American Legion Bridge into Maryland.
It would be a tremendous inconvenience to me and my husband in preventing us from crossing the Bridge during the daytime hours between 1 and 7 p.m. We travel into Maryland regularly for concerts, piano lessons and other appointments since we live within a mile of this intersection. This closure would do little or nothing to alleviate traffic on Georgetown Pike or surrounding neighborhoods.
The Beltway backup is caused by merging two lanes, the HOT lanes and GW Parkway, to cross the Bridge. Did VDOT not know that this bottleneck would happen? The citizens tried to tell them at the many citizen meetings that were held prior to the construction of the HOT lanes. The diverted traffic would cause congestion at other intersections.
Furthermore, the heavy congestion is also caused by increased population density and the resulting increase in traffic. This is directly attributable to our Board of Supervisors who have created the policies that support the new construction of high-rise buildings in our area. It doesn't seem quite fair that the citizens that had nothing to do with these policies have to bear the inconvenience of limited access to a major highway.
As for building a new bridge with an increase in the lanes, I understand that the Bridge is in the State of Maryland and this is not their problem. The best solution to alleviate this problem would be to place a physical barrier from the Lewinsville Road overpass to prevent the HOT lanes from merging at the Bridge. This would result in easing in the traffic prior to the bottleneck.
There will be a second meeting for citizens to air their grievances on Sept. 13 at 7 p.m. at McLean High School. It is important to attend this meeting to show overwhelming opposition (not support as they want) in the hope that this project will be scrapped.