Frustrated drivers were backed up for miles following three separate accidents on I-66 Thursday morning, but help to prevent this kind of traffic tie up is on the way.
"Unfortunately, I think it's an everyday event up here," said Virginia Transportation Secretary Aubrey Lane.
But help is on the way.
V-DOT officials plan to transform 25 miles of I-66 between the Beltway and Route 15 in Haymarket by adding express lanes, rapid bus service and a park-and-ride network.
"We do know that a lot of motorists get there and they have to divert or they have to funnel into that bottleneck," Lane explained.
While the focus is beyond the Beltway, the benefits could be far-reaching and prudently quick.
"We found working inside the Beltway to be difficult because of Arlington. We need to move the project forward; this is the quickest way to get relief," said Pat Herrity, with the Fairfax Board of Supervisors - Springfield District.
Planners are also looking at a public-private partnership to manage the alternative lanes.
The project will soon enter the environmental impact phase and then public comment.
It's expected to cost between $2 billion and $3 billion. If everything goes according to plam, construction could begin in 2017.