Widening work is now underway for I-495, the Capital Beltway around Washington DC. The project is costing US$600 million and involves adding around 5km of new express lanes in Virginia.
The new express lanes will connect with tolled lanes that will be added in neighbouring Maryland in due course. The 102km Capital Beltway is notorious for its heavy traffic volumes at peak periods and the new lanes will help to reduce congestion and delays at key sections along the route.
Work will be carried put between the 495 Express Lanes close to the Dulles Toll Road interchange and the George Washington Memorial Parkway interchange, which is located close to the American Legion Bridge. Building the new lanes will complete the express lane stretches in Virginia and the work is expected to take 36 months. Building the new lanes will require the closure of one lane, which will add to the traffic woes of drivers while the work is carried out.
The route has been criticised for its traffic delays, amongst the worst in the US. However, the project to widen the route has also been criticised on environmental grounds and for not encouraging more sustainable transport.