ALEXANDRIA, Va. (WUSA) - Construction on the I-95 Express Lanes which will run from Stafford, Virginia to Springfield is well underway. But a planned ramp off I-395 in Alexandria is causing concern.
"It's absolutely frightening," said Mary Hasty, a local resident and member of the newly formed Concerned Residents of Landmark.
"He showed us a cloud of pollution that would cover the entire area," said Sue Okubo, another resident.
The residents say they paid for their own air quality study on the local impact of the express lanes project. The residents say it found that a planned exit ramp off the 95 express lanes would bring nitrogen dioxide levels 20 times the EPA standard.
"It's pretty bad if you have cancer or a respiratory illness, you name it, " said Okubo.
One reason the ramp is needed is because Arlington to the north didn't want any part of the Express Lanes. Arlington wanted to keep HOV for carpoolers. So people use the Express Lanes who don't people in their vehicles will have to exit right here in the main lanes.
"Because it's already congested it will bring more and back up on the ramp at very concentrated levels." Hasty says V-Dot did not do the legally required impact study for the ramp, nor did it study the risks and benefits of alternative locations.
But V-Dot spokesman Steve Titunick says they did do the required studies and have found the opposite.
He said their two EPA studies show air quality improving in the long run due to more lanes added which would keep traffic flowing, more environmentally friendly fuel, and more fuel efficient vehicles.