The Washington Times - August 8, 2011, 01:39PM

The Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) will establish a new task force and implement a traffic management plan in an effort to head off — to the extent possible — an anticipated traffic nightmare on I-395 resulting from the move of more than 6,000 Defense Department employees to Alexandria’s Mark Center as a result of the Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) process.

The region-wide task force will oversee a traffic-management plan to monitor traffic flow, develop a management plan to use technology to improve traffic flow on the corridor, and implement a group to provide increased transit service to the Mark Center.

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The state of Virginia is putting up $80 million for the construction of a reversible High Occupancy Vehicle/Transit ramp on I-395 to provide better access to the site, though construction could be delayed for up to a year and a half because the federal government is requiring a lengthy environmental impact statement before it can get underway. The Department of Defense has allocated $20 million for short-term improvements developed by VDOT, which will include a turn lane, ramp widening, and pedestrian improvements in the area.

In the meantime, Metro has unveiled a new bus line running between the Pentagon and the Mark Center to help handle traffic problems in the area. DoD workers with Mark Center IDs can ride for free. Alexandria DASH has also unveiled a new, high-frequency bus service running between the King Street Metro and the Mark Center Station every 10 minutes during the weekday peak period, from 6 a.m. to 9 a.m. and 3 p.m. to 6 p.m.