Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Excess Capacity on the Woodrow Wilson Bridge

Maryland and Virginia have not figured out what to do with two of the 12 lanes planned for the new Woodrow Wilson Bridge now rising in the Potomac River. Under the deal that launched the project, the lanes must be used for carpools, trains or another form of transit, but the Washington Post says that state leaders have not talked about which to choose.

The lanes will serve as shoulders until a use is decided. Adds the Post: "The delay in deliberation has frustrated transit supporters, who fought to add the lanes and ensure that the bridge was strong enough to sustain trains, the type of transit they would like to see."

Let me get this straight. Virginia and Maryland are spending billions of dollars to build a bridge with "excess capacity"? This capacity will sit there under-utilized for... for how long?


At 12:11 PM, Anonymous Paul said...

The answer: 45 seconds.

Carpool lanes are dumb. People would drive along 495 and then hit the bridge and shift into the carpool lanes for 400 meters? Wow.

What train are they going to run across the bridge? Where will it go? Where will it come from?

I say let the lanes act as highway lanes.

At 12:50 PM, Anonymous sdh4vbt said...

Maybe not Paul: Maybe it will be a whole year or two before traffic catches up with capacity. They certainly should be highway lanes unless or until some mass transit usage is developed.

At 1:14 PM, Anonymous sdh4vbt said...

Oh, and gee Jim, if they built a bridge that only met the existing demand and was full at the time it opened, and didn't plan for the next decade or two, you'd be the first one calling the planners a bunch of dunderheads.

At 4:31 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

At some point reality has to come into play here. Maryland, Virginia and DC (a chunk of the bridge is actually in DC) planned the extra capacity because it is close to impossible to add two lanes to a draw-bridge (remember it is a DRAW - BRIDGE) once it is built. Whether it is HOV lanes, HOT lanes or a METRO Purple Line, it is cheaper and more practical to add the capacity now than trying to do it later. This has been the plan for over 5 years that I am personally aware.

At 5:55 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Rail on the Wilson Bridge is included in the WMATA CIP.

At 5:56 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Second try.

Rail on the Wilson Bridge is included in the WMATA CIP.


At 2:44 PM, Anonymous Sen. Ken Cuccinelli said...

Several comments:
1) Re capacity, a huge chunk of WWB traffic can and should be re-routed to an Eastern Bypass built with toll money and built for truck traffic. This will make the WWB last years longer, have less traffic, and the entire Baltimore-Wash-Fredericksburg corridor will be safer to drive.
2) The lanes. We are building 4 more lanes (HOT lanes) from the American Legion bridge to the mixing bowl (for a total of 12 lanes). The next 2 exits (to Telegraph Road) will remain 8 lanes across. Then the WWB project commences and the beltway returns to 12 lanes. We are building in a bottleneck, 24/7. I am going to put in for an EIS to extend the HOT lanes project (add 4 lanes) to the stretch of the beltway from the mixing bowl to Telegraph Road, but equally important, I recently asked our NOVA federal delegation to amend the law regarding the distribution of lanes on the WWB. I asked that it simply be turned over to the states. The ultimate goal would simply be to match up the WWB lanes with the rest of the beltway, including the 4 HOT lanes which can be used for bus mass transit. Congressman Wolf's office is checking into this matter at the moment.
God forbid we do things rationally...


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