A look at yesterday’s presentation to the MWAA Finance Committee shows that CDMSmith/Wilbur Smith Associates (CDM/WSA) forecasts that traffic on the Dulles Toll Road (DTR) will drop by one-quarter over the next six years as tolls triple. Specifically, transactions are forecast to decline from last year’s 99.9 million to 75.1 million by 2018. (See below.) While transactions are not identical to traffic—people going west from Reston pay only once when they use the DTR, for example—transactions and traffic levels are closely correlated.
In 2010, the DTR handled at average of 141,000-148,000 vehicles each workday in each direction between Reston Parkway and Wiehle according to VDOT’s annual report. The high tolls on the DTR will likely result in 35,000-37,000 vehicles diverting to the highways and streets in and around Reston. They highways and streets that would most likely be affected would be Rt. 7, Baron Cameron/Elden, Sunset Hills/Herndon Pkwy, Sunrise Valley Dr., Lawyers/West Ox, and maybe Rt. 50.
While there are longer term plans to widen Rt. 7, none of these highways or streets will have additional capacity to handle this traffic in the next six years. Congestion will be dramatically worse.