I-66 Multimodal Transportation and Environmental Study
Fairfax and Prince William Counties, VA
Interstate 66 is the major east-west route connecting Washington, D.C. and its northern Virginia suburbs to Interstate 81. In recent years, the 24-mile section of I-66 from the Capital Beltway in Fairfax to Route 15 in Haymarket has experienced tremendous residential and commercial development, resulting in increased travel demand. To alleviate congestion, the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) and Department of Rail & Public Transportation developed a multimodal transportation improvement strategy calling for additional general-purpose and high-occupancy vehicle lanes, an extension of the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority’s Metrorail Orange Line, increased bus service, and improvements to commuter-rail service. Improvements plans complicated by the need to protect environmental and historic resources along the corridor, as well as the need to accommodate residents and businesses abutting its eastern portion.
As the lead subconsultant on a multidisciplinary team, VHB prepared National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) documentation under joint Federal Highway Administration and Federal Transit Administration sponsorship. Coordination with several advisory committees, agencies, counties, local communities, and teams working on other regional transportation projects was vital. VHB led the state and federal environmental efforts, coordinating public outreach and agencies, and provided transit planning, operations, and preliminary design. VHB environmental planners prepared the Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS), which included a site-feasibility and conceptual layout for new transit stations as well as for rail-storage and maintenance facilities.
Although the project has been put on hold, the DEIS and NEPA documentation VHB prepared will help VDOT and other decision makers move forward, bringing relief to travelers while protecting important natural and historic resources and protecting the interests of nearby businesses and residents.