VDOT Improvements

By Tracy Manzer, Senior Editor of Content

Aug. 28, 2014

Commuters who rely on the I-66 Corridor may rejoice as the Virginia Department of Transportation has announced it is working to transform 25 miles of the clogged roadway so that it will move traffic more efficiently. The problem, of course, is that those improvements are several years away from completion and when construction commences, the traffic backups are likely to worsen.

According to the VDOT announcement:

VDOT and the Department of Rail and Public Transportation (DRPT) are working on a project to transform 25 miles of I-66 into a multimodal facility that moves traffic and people more efficiently, with improvements such as express lanes, rapid bus service and a park-and-ride network from the Capital Beltway to Haymarket.

July 2014 kicked off 17 months of environmental study (the Tier 2 Environmental Assessment) and robust community involvement. By the end of 2016 the goal is to complete environmental work, identify funding sources, receive federal approval, and advance an innovative project delivery method so that construction could begin as early as 2017.

For more information on the project and Gov. Terry McAuliffe’s new release, click here.

Regions that are likely to be affected include Prince William, Fairfax, and Manassas Park. Congested traffic conditions can lead to a number of scenarios in which a driver might end up getting cited for a traffic violation or, worse yet, for reckless driving – which is a Class 1 misdemeanor in the Commonwealth of Virginia. A Class 1 misdemeanor is a criminal offense, and it will reflect as such on your record if you are convicted. The charge is frequently handed down, and can be applied to a number of situations: from traveling more than 20 miles above the posted speed limit to driving more than 80 mph in any zone, regardless of the limit. Even passing other vehicles and failure to maintain a car’s brakes can result in such a charge. That is due, in part, to its open-ended definition as an offense that can apply to any driver whose behavior places the lives and property of others at risk. This means that the arresting or citing officer has discretion, in certain circumstances, when it comes to issuing a citation for a moving violation or reckless driving.

Additionally, many drivers fail to realize that the penalties, and subsequent fallout from a conviction, involve far more than a simple fine. Those convicted of such a crime face a possible maximum term of 12 months in jail and a $2,500 fine, though we should note that for a first time offense a well-qualified Virginia traffic attorney can usually ensure the penalties are reduced and may prove successful in having the charge reduced to a moving violation rather than a criminal offense.

If, however, a misdemeanor conviction is sustained, it can lead to numerous other problems; from escalating auto insurance premiums to failing background checks for certain employment, housing, and loan opportunities. Given the large number of Virginia commuters who work for or contract with government agencies, the threat of a criminal record can do untold damage to their careers.