Virginia State Route 267

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State Route 267 marker

State Route 267
Dulles Toll Road
Dulles Greenway
Route information
Maintained by MQA (under TRIPP II) and MWAA
Length: 28.68 mi[1][2] (46.16 km)
Existed: 1982 – present
Major junctions
West end: US 15 / SR 7 in Leesburg
  SR 28 in Dulles
SR 286 in Reston
I‑495 near Tysons Corner
East end: I‑66 near Falls Church
Highway system
I‑264 SR 269

State Route 267 is a primary state highway in the US state of Virginia. It consists of two end-to-end toll roads – the Dulles Toll Road and Dulles Greenway – as well as the Dulles Access Road,[3] which lies in the median of Dulles Toll Road. The combined roadway provides a toll road for commuting and a free road for access to Washington Dulles International Airport. The three sections are operated and maintained by separate agencies: Dulles Toll Road and Dulles Access Road are maintained by the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority (MWAA); the Dulles Greenway is owned by TRIPP II, a limited partnership,[4] but is maintained by Macquarie Atlas Roads, an Australian company which owns the majority stake in the partnership.

Dulles Toll Road[edit]

The main toll plaza of the Dulles Toll Road. At the time this photo was taken, the toll was 75¢. It has since increased.
A closer view of the electronic and traditional lanes
View of Route 267 from the Wiehle Avenue exit

The Dulles Toll Road is an eight-lane, 16.15-mile (25.99 km)[1][2] toll road.

History[edit]

In response to the development along the Dulles Access Road and the number of motorists who "backtracked" through the airport to commute to outer suburbs, the Virginia Department of Transportation determined a need for a limited access highway to serve points along the Access Road without subjecting airport traffic to congestion. It was built in 1984 by the Virginia Department of Transportation as a toll highway, because conventional funding was not available. The toll road begins just inside the Capital Beltway near West Falls Church at a connector to Interstate 66 to Washington, D.C., travels westward through Fairfax County past Dulles, and terminates at the entrance to the Dulles Greenway, a privately owned toll road. Officially, the road is named the Omer L. Hirst – Adelard L. Brault Expressway, in honor of two Virginia state legislators. However, the road is rarely referred to by that name.[5] The speed limit is 55 miles per hour (90 km/h), and the original construction had two lanes in each direction. A third lane was built to serve HOV traffic in 1992. For a short period between the end of construction and the start of HOV limits, drivers of single passenger vehicles used the lane and contacted government officials opposing the HOV policy. In response, Congress (which did not have direct control over the highway) passed special legislation prohibiting the imposition of HOV restrictions on the route.[6] As a compromise to resolve the situation, Virginia decided to lift the HOV restriction and to construct a fourth lane in each direction to serve HOV traffic.[7] However, unlike the third lane, officials did not allow non-HOV use at the end of construction in 1998, and avoided a repeat of the controversy.[8] As a practical matter, the right of way could not fit any additional lanes other than the current six in each direction. However, Rep. Frank Wolf again threatened to pass federal legislation prohibiting the fourth lane to be limited to HOV traffic.[9]

In 2005, five companies submitted proposals to VDOT to privatize the toll road which included payments to Virginia that could be used for transportation. In response MWAA made its own proposal to take over operation of the toll road from VDOT, assuming associated debts, and commit to building a rapid transit line in the median.[10] VDOT agreed and, on March 27, 2006, MWAA took over from Virginia the operation of the Dulles Toll Road, including the outstanding debt and the obligation to construct a rapid mass transit line (the Silver Line) in the median strip of the toll road.[11]

Description[edit]

From the Beltway, motorists exiting onto SR 267 toward Dulles Airport must choose between lanes marked Airport Traffic Only and To All Local Exits; the Airport Traffic Only lanes lead to the two westbound lanes of the Access Road. Eastbound traffic is routed differently; Dulles-originating traffic can choose destinations between Herndon exits (putting them on the mainline Toll Road) or further on (starting them on the Access Road), and transfer exits are provided from the Access Road to the Toll Road before the Herndon exits, Reston exits, and the Beltway. Access Road traffic to State Route 7 gets a separate exit ramp from those of the Toll Road, and then the two eastbound segments merge before the junction with Interstate 66.

Through December 31, 2013, a main toll plaza west of the Beltway interchange collects a $1.75 toll in both directions for two-axle vehicles. Toll booths located on westbound exit ramps and eastbound entrance ramps collect tolls of $1.00, except at the Route 7 interchange, where tolls are only collected from Route 267 east to Route 7 east. Vehicles with more than two axles are charged higher rates.[12] All tollbooths are equipped with electronic toll collection systems which accept E-ZPass (Virginia to Maine). Fifty cents of each toll is attributable to the financing of the Silver Line to Dulles Airport.[13] On November 14, 2012, the MWAA Board of Directors voted to increase the toll by 25¢ (from $1.50 to $1.75 at the main toll plaza and from 75¢ to $1.00 at the ramp toll booths) effective January 1, 2013; and to increase the toll by an additional 75¢ to $2.50 at the main toll plaza effective January 1, 2014. The 2013 and 2014 toll increases primarily help pay for Phase 1 Silver Line Metrorail construction costs.[14]

HOV-2 restrictions are in effect during weekday rush hours, 6:30 to 9:00 am eastbound and 4:00 to 6:30 pm westbound, limiting the left lane to vehicles with two or more passengers between State Route 28 and the main toll plaza. Motorcycles and "clean fuel" vehicles (hybrid and compressed natural gas) are exempt from HOV restrictions in Virginia, allowing single-passenger vehicles of those types to use the lanes as well. In 2012, the exemption was modified to be "open-ended" rather than year-to-year.[15] During rush hour, the appropriate directions of Interstate 66 between the Beltway and U.S. Route 29 just outside Washington are HOV-2. Toll Road traffic that is not HOV-2 may not use this portion of the highway, but single-passenger vehicles bound to or from the airport are allowed.

Dulles Greenway[edit]

The Dulles Greenway is a privately owned toll road in Northern Virginia, running for 12.53 miles[1] (20.17 km) northwest from the end of the Dulles Toll Road to the Leesburg Bypass (U.S. Route 15/State Route 7). Although privately owned, the highway is also part of SR 267. The speed limit is 65 miles per hour (105 km/h).

The main toll plaza of the Dulles Greenway
Aerial photo of the Dulles Greenway toll plaza

The road was privately built and is not a public asset. The current owner is "Toll Road Investors Partnership II" (TRIP II), which was a consortium of the Bryant/Crane Family LLC, the Franklin L. Haney Co.,[16] and Kellogg Brown & Root (KB&R). On August 31, 2005, Australian firm Macquarie Infrastructure Group announced that they had paid $533 million to TRIP II to acquire its 86.7% ownership of the Greenway, and were negotiating with KB&R for the remaining ownership rights.[17] Initially, as the road was built as a "Design Build Finance Operate" (DBFO) project, the responsibility for operating the road was scheduled to revert to Virginia in 2036 via a concession agreement. In 2001, The Virginia State Corporation Commission extended this period to the year 2056.[18]

History[edit]

The road was envisioned as early as the 1970s, when new residents were attracted to Loudoun County because of the relatively low cost of real estate. The Greenway proposal prompted the enactment of the Virginia Highway Corporation Act of 1988[19] that authorizes the construction of new toll roads without the use of eminent domain[20] under rates set by the Virginia Corporation Commission.[19] The law requires the facility to be turned over to the state after a stated time period.[21] The road was completed and opened in 1995, but the original owners defaulted on its loan due to lower than projected use.[22] It receives no public funds, was built with no subsidies, and is policed at its own expense, competing as a wholly private enterprise with the state-built and -maintained roads.[23] Tolls are computed to assure that the owner will recover the original investment plus a return on that investment. The losses incurred during the early years of the project are rolled forward to justify higher tolls in later years. Subsequent improvements, which were constructed in exchange for the aforementioned extension of the toll road to 2056, include adding a third lane in each direction, resurfacing the entire road in 2009, and the construction of an improved eastbound exit ramp to Dulles Airport in 2009.[24]

Description[edit]

The main toll plaza for the Dulles Greenway is located just west of the exits for Route 28 and Dulles Airport. Additional toll plazas are located on westbound entrance ramps and eastbound exit ramps with the exception of Battlefield Parkway (Exit 2) in Leesburg. The toll varies depending on the toll plaza traversed. As of January 2013, the base toll collected for two-axle vehicles ranges from $3.00 ($2.55 with E-ZPass) at the Shreve Mill Rd plaza to $5.10 at the main plaza to and from the Dulles Toll Road (including 75¢ for the Dulles Toll Road toll).[25] Vehicles with more than two axles are charged higher rates. The maximum toll rises to $5.90 (including the 75¢ Dulles Toll Road toll) during congestion pricing hours, which are 6:30 am to 9:00 am eastbound and 4:00 pm to 6:30 pm westbound.[25] A previous increase in the base fare and the introduction of congestion pricing occurred in January 2009,[26] and tolls rose an additional 30 cents per trip on January 1, 2012.[27] Vehicles traveling through the main toll plaza to or from the Dulles Toll Road are charged two tolls: one for the Dulles Toll Road, and one for the Dulles Greenway. Cash tolls are accepted during limited hours, and credit cards and E-ZPass transponder payments are accepted at all times.[28] The Greenway is also one of two routes where a subscription membership (exclusive to E-ZPass) allows for an additional discount. Alternate (free) routes include State Route 7 and State Route 28, both of which are generally more congested.[29]

The Greenway was later widened to six lanes from the mainline toll plaza to Leesburg. Use of the Greenway has grown, reflecting the increased population of Loudoun County. In 1996, the Greenway served 6.3 million trips, growing to 21 million in 2006.[29] However, as a result of the January 2009 toll increase, usage dropped to an average of 47,490 tolls a day.[22]

Controversies[edit]

The 1988 statute authorizing the private toll road permitted toll increases above the rate of inflation under a three-part test: (1) the new fee must not "materially discourage" drivers from using the road, (2) the company must not make more than a "reasonable rate of return" from the increase, and (3) the road's benefit must match its cost.[30] Critics claim that the drop in use following the 2009 toll increase is evidence that the test has not been met.[who?] Rep. Frank Wolf (R-Va.), the Congressman representing the area served by the road, stated, "It's highway robbery. It's a disgrace. Everyone knows that these tolls are ripping people off and there's not much we can do about it."[22]

Dulles Access Road[edit]

The Dulles Access Road is a four-lane, 13.65-mile (21.97 km)[1][2] highway that runs "inside" the Dulles Toll Road along its median. There are no general-access exits from the westbound lanes, and no general-access entrances to the eastbound lanes, with the exception of gated slip ramps to and from the toll road that buses and emergency vehicles can use. The Access Road was built from the Beltway as part of the construction of Dulles Airport, and opened with the airport in 1962. It was extended to I-66 in 1985.[31]

Until 2006, the Dulles Access Road was operated by the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) under contract with the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority, the owner of the land under both the Access Road and the Dulles Toll Road,[32] and has the unsigned designation of State Route 90004.[33]

The Dulles Airport Access Road can be used only for travel to and from Dulles Airport and other businesses (such as air freight, hotels, and gas stations) on the airport grounds. Although it is illegal to use the Access Road without conducting such "airport business", some commuters evade the toll and the traffic on the Toll Road by taking the Access Road to the airport, then "backtracking" to their exit. For a couple of years prior to the opening of the Dulles Toll Road, VDOT issued special stickers allowing commuters (for a fee) to backtrack legally along the access highway, but these were discontinued when the toll road opened.[34]

Since the opening of the Dulles Toll Road, the only major modification to the Access Road was the construction of a flyover exit ramp from the eastbound Access Road to State Route 7. This ramp bypasses congestion associated with the main toll plaza, when traffic from Dulles Airport attempts to exit at Route 7.

Exit list[edit]

Route 267 uses sequential exit numbering (rather than distance-based exit numbering).

County Location Mile km Exit Destinations Notes
Loudoun Leesburg 0.00 0.00 1 US 15 / SR 7 – Leesburg, Warrenton, Frederick, MD signed as exits 1A (south/west) and 1B (north/east)
  1.14 1.83 2 Battlefield Parkway
  3.22 5.18 3 SR 653 (Shreve Mill Road)
Ashburn 5.48 8.82 4 SR 659 (Belmont Ridge Road)
6.54 10.53 5 SR 901 (Claiborne Parkway) – Ashburn Farm, Broadlands
8.33 13.41 6 SR 772 – Ashburn, Broadlands
9.73 15.66 7 SR 607 (Loudoun County Parkway)
Sterling 10.81 17.40 8 SR 606 (Old Ox Road) signed as exits 8A (west) and 8B (east)
toll plaza
12.53 20.17 9A SR 28 south – Centreville, Manassas
9B SR 28 north – Sterling Westbound exit and eastbound entrance
  Dulles Airport (via Dulles Access Road west) no exit number westbound; eastbound exit (opened June 30, 2009[35]) is part of exit 9A
Fairfax   14.70 23.66 10 SR 657 – Herndon, Chantilly
  Dulles Airport (via Dulles Access Road west) westbound exit and eastbound entrance
  16.43 26.44 11 SR 286 (Fairfax County Parkway) – Herndon / Monroe Park & Ride
Reston 17.40 28.00 12 SR 602 (Reston Parkway)
18.44 29.68 13 SR 828 (Wiehle Avenue)
20.32 32.70 14 SR 674 (Hunter Mill Road)
authorized buses only (Dulles Access Road east) eastbound exit and westbound entrance
  Dulles Airport (via Dulles Access Road west) westbound exit only
Tysons Corner 15 Wolf Trap National Park for the Performing Arts, The Barns at Wolf Trap, Center for Education at Wolf Trap (SR 676) Westbound exit and eastbound entrance
23.73 38.19 16 SR 7 (Leesburg Pike) – Leesburg, Tysons Corner Signed as exits 16A (east) and 16B (west) eastbound
toll plaza
24.36 39.20 17 SR 684 (Spring Hill Road)
Dulles Airport (via Dulles Access Road west) westbound exit and eastbound entrance
25.96 41.78 18A I‑495 south / I‑495 Express south – Richmond eastbound exit and westbound entrance
25.96 41.78 18B I‑495 north – Baltimore signed as exit 18 westbound
26.22 42.20 19 SR 123 to I‑495 south – McLean, Tysons Corner Signed as exits 19A (south) and 19B (north)
  Dulles Airport (via Dulles Access Road west) westbound exit and eastbound entrance
Falls Church 28.68 46.16 I‑66 east – Washington
1.000 mi = 1.609 km; 1.000 km = 0.621 mi

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d 2005 Virginia Department of Transportation Jurisdiction Report – Daily Traffic Volume Estimates – Loudoun County PDF (634 KiB)
  2. ^ a b c 2005 Virginia Department of Transportation Jurisdiction Report – Daily Traffic Volume Estimates – Fairfax County PDF (3.99 MiB)
  3. ^ "Designated Interstate and Primary Route Numbers, Named Highways, Named Bridges and Designated Virginia Byways" (PDF). Virginia Department of Transportation. July 1, 2003. p. 24. Retrieved April 13, 2009. 267 – STATE ROUTE: From Routes 7/15 in Leesburg to Route I-66 north of Falls Church, including the parallel lanes along the Dulles International Airport Access Road. 
  4. ^ "Dulles Greenway". Retrieved October 23, 2012. 
  5. ^ Bernstein, Adam (February 14, 2007). "Adelard L. 'Abe' Brault, 97; Influential N.Va. Senator". Washington Post. Retrieved March 27, 2011. In 1991, state legislators renamed the Dulles Toll Road the Omer L. Hirst-Adelard L. Brault Expressway, which, having met the fate of many other such renamings of roads, bridges and buildings, has not readily been adopted by commuters. 
  6. ^ Bates, Steve (Sep 25, 1992). "Bill Seeks To End HOV Restrictions; Dulles Toll Road Targeted by Wolf". Washington Post. p. A1. Retrieved December 7, 2010. 
  7. ^ "Bucking national trend, Georgia stands by HOV". Atlanta Journal Constitution. November 29, 1998. p. H1. Retrieved December 7, 2010. 
  8. ^ Bradley, Paul (October 3, 1992). "Wilder Lifts HOV Rule on Dulles Toll Road". Richmond Times Dispatch. p. B4. Retrieved December 7, 2010. 
  9. ^ Robert W. Poole Jr. and C. Kenneth Orski. "HOT Lanes: A Better Way to Attack Urban Highway Congestion". Regulation 23 (1). p. 16. Retrieved December 7, 2010. 
  10. ^ "Proposal to Operate the Dulles Toll Road and Build Rail to Loudoun County". MWAA. January 2006. Retrieved December 7, 2010. 
  11. ^ "Governor Kaine Announces Partnership With Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority for Dulles Corridor" (PDF). Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority. March 27, 2006. Retrieved April 13, 2009. [dead link]
  12. ^ "Toll Rate Table". MWAA. Retrieved January 28, 2013. 
  13. ^ Freeman, Sholnn (January 1, 2010). "Dulles Toll Road fees rise to help pay for Silver Line; increases are criticized". The Washington Post. Retrieved January 1, 2010. 
  14. ^ "Airports Authority Sets Dulles Toll Road Rates for 2013, 2014; Defers Decision for 2015". Washington Metropolitan Airports Authority. Retrieved November 14, 2012. 
  15. ^ New Law for Hybrids on HOV Lanes Signed by Gov. McDonnell May 2012 Retrieved May 31, 2012
  16. ^ "About FLH Company". Retrieved December 3, 2009. 
  17. ^ Ginsberg, Steven (September 1, 2005). "Australian Firm Buys Greenway". The Washington Post. Retrieved April 13, 2009. 
  18. ^ "Project Profiles: Dulles Greenway". Retrieved June 20, 2012. 
  19. ^ a b Virginia Code § 56-535.
  20. ^ Virginia Code § 56-541.
  21. ^ Virginia Code § 56-551.
  22. ^ a b c Kravitz, Derek (July 5, 2009). "Greenway Revenue, Traffic at Odds". Washington Post. p. C1. 
  23. ^ Greenway, Dulles. "Dulles Greenway Facts & Myths". Retrieved June 4, 2009. 
  24. ^ "Greenway Improvements". Retrieved December 7, 2010. 
  25. ^ a b "TollRates – Dulles Greenway". Toll Road Investors Partnership II, L.P. Retrieved January 28, 2013. 
  26. ^ Somashekhar, Sandhya (September 13, 2007). "Tolls Set To Rise On Dulles Greenway: Most Drivers Won't Be Affected Till '09". Washington Post. p. B03. Retrieved April 13, 2009. 
  27. ^ "Toll Increase". MWAA. Retrieved January 1, 2012. [dead link]
  28. ^ Retrieved 2009-0705.[dead link]
  29. ^ a b Mummolo, Jonathan (July 1, 2007). "Greenway Drivers Face Dilemma: Tolls Up, but Few Good Alternate Routes Available". Washington Post. p. C1. Retrieved April 13, 2009. 
  30. ^ Virginia Highway Corporation Act of 1988, Va. Code § 56-542(I)(3).
  31. ^ Kozel, Scott (April 16, 2005). "Dulles Transportation Corridor". Roads to the Future. Retrieved November 21, 2013. The Dulles Access Road Extension (DARE) opened in 1985, as a four-lane freeway, about 2½ miles long, extending the DAAR/DTR eastward to I-66 near Falls Church. 
  32. ^ "Airports Authority Wants to Control Dulles Toll Road". WTOP-FM. December 21, 2005. Retrieved April 13, 2009. 
  33. ^ Froehlig, Adam; Mike Roberson (November 26, 2006). "VA 800 to 90005". Virginia Highway Index. Retrieved April 13, 2009. VA 90004 is the free Dulles Access lanes in the median of the toll VA 267. [...] VA 90004 is for access to the Dulles Airport only. A hefty ticket awaits you if you try to use it as a way to circumvent the VA 267 toll road. 
  34. ^ Hodge, Paul (December 6, 1983). "I-66 Link Opens to Motorist Confusion". Washington Post. Retrieved April 13, 2009. Yesterday morning illegal commuters – those lacking special bumper stickers – were backtracking to Dulles and getting on the eastbound access highway at the rate of four or five a minute. But more than 75 percent of the backtracking commuter cars displayed the $2 FAA decals that mark them as legal commuters on the access road (but not on I-66). 
  35. ^ Retrieved 2009-0705.

External links[edit]

Route map: Google / Bing