Kathy Stewart, wtop.com
WASHINGTON - Northern Virginia drivers are enjoying a smoother ride now that some long-standing congestion has been relieved.
It has taken more than a year, but major improvements are finished on the intersection of Route 29 (Lee Highway) and Gallows Road.
Route 29 was widened from two lanes to three in each direction for about a half- mile and Gallows Road is now three lanes in each direction for nearly a mile. In addition, there are now two dedicated left-turn lanes from Gallows Road onto Route 29.
Some local drivers weighed in on the newly improved intersection.
Alex Goodwin works in the area and has dealt with the design of the old intersection for a while.
"(Improvements were) definitely much needed," Goodwin says. "It was very congested before."
Goodwin adds that it wasn't just the congestion that bothered him. It was also the chaos at the intersection.
"There were a lot of people getting cut off because they had to get over," he says, referring to drivers trying to turn left from Gallows Road onto Route 29.
Nick Berry agrees with Goodwin that construction on the intersection helped to alleviate heavy traffic.
"It's opened up a lot," Berry says. "It's not as congested. I like it. It feels more relaxing driving through here."
Berry says before the construction he frequently saw brake lights and people trying to switch lanes to turn. Now, he says the changes have remedied a lot of stress at the intersection.
"I'm absolutely happy with the results of the improvements," Berry says.
"It's a nice big intersection, clearly marked, with plenty of lanes," Goodwin adds. "It flows much easier and you don't see as many accidents, which is definitely a major improvement."
The goal of the overhaul was to improve safety, reduce congestion and enhance access for pedestrians and those on bicycles.
Vic Squires from Merrifield is enthusiastic about the improvements.
"There were just fewer lanes going into the intersection, so it would back up a lot more," says Squires about the roads before the construction.
However, Squires is unsure of the pedestrian crossing in the widened streets.
"I'm really nervous about going across the intersection because you're crossing essentially seven lanes of traffic," says Squires, who adds that it can be especially chaotic at night.
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(Copyright 2013 by WTOP. All Rights Reserved.)
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