VDOT widening I-66 in Arlington, sweeping environmental impact under the rug
VDOT is planning what they call "spot improvements" for I-66 within Arlington. The project plans to add a third lane along some of the most congested segments.
I have a concern with the spin put on the project as being "spot improvements". Go ahead and scroll out on the map above. The highlighted sections are where VDOT proposes to add another travel lane to I-66. The length of the added lane is around half the total length of I-66 within Arlington. This doesn't constitute "spot improvements" in my book. I don't personally have a problem with building the third lane, but VDOT should not try to hide the truth by calling it a "spot improvement".
The environmental documentation is a proposed Categorical Exclusion, which means that under NEPA, there will not be any Environmental Impact Statement, Environmental Assessment or associated public hearing periods. This significantly reduces the review process, and is defined by the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality as:
A class of actions which either individually or cumulatively would not have a significant effect on the human environment and therefore would not require preparation of an environmental assessment or environmental impact statement under the National Environmental Policy Act.I am concerned that the parallel bike path along the highway will be affected by this widening, but the project engineer assured me that where there is a conflict between the highway project and the bike trail, they will narrow the lanes and shoulders to preserve the trail.
The next public meeting (not listed on the project site) is Monday, October 27, from 7-9 pm with the presentation begining at 7:15. It's at Washington-Lee High School (Cafeteria), 1300 N Quincy Street in Arlington. Metro: Ballston. 888-643-3266.
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