Ramp to relieve West End traffic will take at least three years, cost $80 million

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Area commuters and city residents have a long wait ahead for free-flowing traffic near Mark Center.

The Alexandria City Council decided Saturday to let the state transportation department build a ramp from I-395 to the third level of Seminary Road, but it wont be complete until 2014 at the very earliest, said Tom Fahrney of the Virginia Department of Transportation.

I gotta tell you, this is a best case scenario, so just keep that in mind, Fahrney told council members during a presentation.

Almost 4,000 commuter vehicles a day are expected to clog up the West End beginning in September when the Army opens its new administrative buildings as part of the BRAC legislation. 

The one-lane reversible HOV ramp will be open to carpools, buses, motorcycles and hybrids, Farney said.

The long-term project is estimated at $80 million, and the funds are not yet identified, Fahrney said, though the governors new transportation plan will make it a lot easier to fund this project if it passes.

I dont necessarily support [the governors plan] in total but the bottom line is its probably the best vehicle we have today to bring financial resources to this part region to solve a lot of the transportation problems associated with BRAC, Vice Mayor Kerry Donley said.

VDOT, the city and the Department of Defense continue to work toward short-term solutions to what has been called an imminent traffic nightmare.

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