Anybody who has driven the Beltway in northern Virginia lately knows what a mess that can be, especially at night when multiple lanes are closed for the overnight construction work.
VDOT says it is for a good cause - now four years into the $1.4 billion 495 Express Lanes project. Virginia is building 14 miles of new express lanes, two in each direction from just north of the Dulles Toll Road to Springfield. You will need an E-ZPass to use them, unless you are on a motorcycle. Buses are excluded as well.
And with all that construction comes a great deal of traffic. Yes, VDOT says it is going to be a rough summer.
"At night, it's impossible to see anything," says driver Rashod Qaim. "It's crazy sometimes."
And worse, late at night - with multiple lane closures on the Beltway and on I-66.
"At night, you can't get around," says cab driver Abdi Mahamed. "After 9:30 p.m., they close all the exits and it's a mess."
Amanda Zavada says she tries to avoid the Beltway altogether.
"All of a sudden, you're in three lanes and it just merges into two," she says. "And you don't really have a heads up."
VDOT says it is trying to give drivers as much warning as possible, mostly with electronic signs. But some say it is still awfully confusing.
"The signs don't really help much," Qaim says. "All they really say is 'Drive safely, drive safely, drive safely."'
VDOT is trying to get with the times and get you through the construction zones with as little hassle as possible. It has unveiled a new app for your smartphone or tablet.
It is called VDOT 511. It comes complete with travel times and real-time traffic maps. But officials don't want you to use the app while driving.
We are told the 495 Express Lanes project is 90 percent finished. VDOT says they will be done by the end of the year.
"I sure hope so," says Daniel Villazu. I sure hope so because we've had enough of this construction there. I'm ready for it to be done."