CENTREVILLE, Va. - This week, transportation officials are hosting a series of public hearings to present designs for Transform 66 Outside the Beltway.
As soon as next month, officials will begin construction.
They will be improving 22 and a half miles with two express lanes and three general purpose lanes in both directions that go from Gainesville all the way to the Capitol Beltway.
"The 66 corridor is known widely as a congested corridor. We see congestion during the weekday periods as well as on weekends, and not just in one segment, but in many different segments. So, we're seeing eight to ten hours of congestion a day in this corridor," said VDOT Megaprojects Director Susan Shaw.
The project is multi-modal, meaning it will benefit all forms of transportation by adding a bike trail as well as 4,000 park and ride spaces and even expanded bus routes.
Residents gathered for the second public hearing to get a firsthand-look at the designs and ask questions.
A hot topic of the evening was safety concerns about putting trails alongside the interstate that will be separated by a concrete barrier and fence.
"It's really to recognize that the existing homes that are there today have private backyards that back up to a sound wall, so we didn't want to completely change the feature of those homes with this highway widening," said Shaw.
"[It's] currently designed to be 32 inches, and the advocacy groups like FABB all agree that that is not safe, so we hope that it is still an option to consider raising that 32 inches to 42 inches," suggested Katie Kelly, public commenter, member, Fairfax Alliance for Better Bicycling. (FABB)
Officials said they are taking these concerns into consideration to deliver the safest option.
You can send your comments to VDOT through Nov. 29.
For their contact information, visit their website.