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HOT Lanes Extension on 495 is Suspended
Friday, August 6, 2010

I wanted to let you know of some breaking news regarding the proposed Hot Lanes Extension on 495. This afternoon, a representative of Transurban called to let me know that Transurban has informed VDOT and the Secretary of Transportation that they are suspending development activities on the proposed extension of the Beltway HOT Lanes after receiving some higher than expected early estimates for construction costs. Their team will keep their focus on the overall Beltway HOT Lanes Project, which is on track to open by late 2012.
I expect that the strong sentiment of the community and the concerns raised at the townhalls in May and June also helped with this decision which I know is welcomed by many in our neighborhoods.   Last month, both Rep. Frank Wolf and I wrote to the Secretary about our concerns about this project, you can see my letter below.  Thanks to all who reached out and got involved on this issue.

July 27, 2010

The Honorable Sean Connaughton
Secretary, Virginia Department of Transportation
P.O. Box 1475
Richmond, Virginia 23218
Dear Mr Secretary:
I am writing to follow up on our conversations about the proposed extension of the Capitol Beltway HOT Lanes project in McLean.  As we discussed in our meeting with Rep. Frank Wolf, our constituents in the area have expressed their strong opposition to this proposal.  
Our community is already currently dealing with major disruptions and traffic diversions from the current HOT Lanes construction as well as the Dulles Metrorail project.   There are also many elementary, junior high, high school and private schools in the immediate area that would be impacted.  
In several townhalls that were held in McLean, many of my constituents have expressed their concerns about increased congestion and the bottlenecks and backups that would result along the Beltway and Georgetown Pike and the nearby neighborhoods from this proposal.  
I understand that while VDOT has received this unsolicited proposal, the Department has not taken a position and significant study and analysis would still need to be done before VDOT would move forward.  I also appreciate your commitment to keeping us informed of developments and for public meetings at which citizens will be able to continue to raise their concerns and questions.   Given the already strong opposition to this extension, I ask that any review reassess the need for this extension in light of the strong community concerns.  
Thank you for your attention to this matter.    
Barbara Comstock

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