The Interstate 95/395 express lanes project is meant to make travel through northern Virginia a bit easier, but residents in one Alexandria neighborhood are uniting to fight it.
Similar to the recently opened express lanes on Interstate 495, express lanes – or high-occupancy toll lanes, as they are being called -- are being built on 95/395.
The project runs from Garrisonville Road in Stafford County to near Edsall Road in Fairfax County.
Steve and Mary Hasty live in the Overlook community, right by the northern end, and a new ramp will be about 75 feet from their home. Trees have already come down. The view of traffic is now clear as day.
“We thought it would be OK, but as we looked in to it further and realized we weren’t really getting the answers we wanted from VDOT, that’s when we decided to, essentially, do their job for them,” Mary Hasty said.
She and her husband battle health issues. VDOT hasn't taken an in depth look at the impact slow-moving traffic on the new ramp will have on the area, she said.
“We hired our own independent experts – air quality and traffic congestion – to do studies,” Mary Hasty said. “We just got the results back and we find that there is going to be a serious pollution problem here in our area.”
VDOT says it has completed all the necessary studies for the project, and everything is being built on VDOT property.
"We've looked at other locations, and it simply comes down to there is no other location to put a ramp,” said Steve Titunik, of VDOT. “This is northern Virginia."
VDOT will continue to work with the community, he said, but right now, no design change is in the works.
In that case, the Hastys say they will have to move.
The lanes are scheduled to open in 2014.