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Photo: I-266 appearing on a topo map
I-266  cancelled

I-266: Approved as a corridor in 1958 to run from I-66 along the Spout Run Pkwy, then across the Potomac (Three Sisters Bridge) to connect with the Whitehurst Freeway in Washington DC.
In Nov 1962 (CTB), the project to build I-266 from I-66 to the Potomac River was approved. DC would be wholly responsible for the Three Sisters Bridge.
In March 1965, the CTB rescinded the Nov 1962 approval based on discussions involving Arlington County and 3 potential locations of the Three Sisters Bridge.
On May 25, 1966 (per Dec 1967 CTB), an agreement was reached between Virginia and DC on the location of the Three Sisters Bridge. The Dec 1967 CTB ratified this agreement.
In Aug 1968 the CTB officially rescinded the location approval in March 1965, locking I-266 into using the Spout Run Parkway.
The Feb 1971 CTB notes that Spout Run Parkway once an interstate will retain much of the Spout Run charm and additionally park land will have been created elsewhere to make up for losses caused by I-266 construction.
The last reference to I-266 in the CTB minutes was June 1971, where Fairfax County noted that I-266 would be tied up in courts for some time and to request transfer of funds to I-495 instead.
Opponents of I-66 inside the beltway tied the Three Sisters Bridge to their cause because building this bridge would necessitate building I-66.
A very lenghty article about what happened with the Three Sisters Bridge is available at Wikipedia. Essentially the bridge was caught up in an entanglement of Washington DC citizen opposition, presidential administration preferences, and congressional wrangling. Metro subway funding was tied to the construction of the bridge. Approval and disapproval of the project came from various sources.
Despite being specifically required by the 1968 Highway Act, the bridge never got very far. A small amount of construction began, which was destroyed by Hurricane Agnes in 1972.
Per the Wikipedia article, the DC Council voted in 1974 to cancel the Three Sisters Bridge and congress did not intervene. The Bridge was removed from the interstate system in May 1977.
I-266 did not appear on any VDOT Official or county map I have seen, but did appear on the Whitehurst Frwy on topo maps.
Froggie found the various proposed routings for I-266: The originally proposed I-266 alignment was to run into DC basically overlaying right on top of Sprout Run Pkwy. The report itself (dated 1964) showed 5 alternatives, with the westernmost running straight up from the curve in I-66 at Lee Hwy and the easternmost touching the tip of Theodore Roosevelt Island. Of course, none of the five were ever built, though it's interesting to note that the western alternatives would have had I-266 as a double-decker freeway UNDERNEATH the Key Bridge. Visiting the area in person shows this would have been a challenge to build without completely destroying the scenic area around T. Roosevelt Island.

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Page last modified 2 January 2015