What has Google got against I-66 in Virginia?

Tonight I had to go from my home in Columbia, MD, to a movie theater in Fairfax, VA. So I naturally went to Google Maps to find the best way. To my surprise, it told me to get off the DC Beltway at Rte 29, and take that road west to Fairfax, even though I-66, a little to the north, appeared to be faster and easier (no traffic lights!).

When I tried to force Google Maps to use 66, it wouldn’t do it. I tried different start and ending points, and still it wouldn’t use I-66.

Try it yourself. It doesn’t seem to want to allow any routing on I-66 from its easternmost point in Virginia, at the end of the Theodore Roosevelt Bridge, through to where it crosses Rte 7100 west of Fairfax, about 21 miles away.

I’ve tried this on two different computers and my G1 Droid phone using Google Navigate. When I was actually on I-66, the phone said something like, “We can’t find a route to your destination.”

What’s up? A database glitch?

(I’ve reported the problem, but I figured there must be Dopers who have seen things like this before.)

I’ve seen this. We were on the outer loop of the Beltway, heading to the Vienna side of Nutley Street, and it wanted us to pass by the I-66 exits, take 29 out then double back north (crossing 66 on Nutley). Probably 8-10 minutes out of the way depending on the lights. I was using Google Maps on a smartphone.

When we ignored it and were actually on 66 between the Beltway and Nutley, it gave me a “no way to get there from here” message. I haven’t noticed the issue eastbound on 66, but will check next time.

I think Google trips out on the complicated HOV restrictions on 66, and just always chooses a different way. Sometimes you can drag and drop the path right the heck onto 66 and it will grudgingly admit that you can get there from here. Sometimes, not, though.


Could be, although outside the Beltway there are non-HOV lanes in both directions 24/7.

I think it’s the HOV. Although it could also be that they know what the traffic is like, and have rejected the route for that reason. The intersection of 66 and 495 has also gone through major renovations, and the ramps etc. have changed dramatically. It may be that the software is not yet clear on which ramps are where, and may think certain exits are inaccessible (which they were for a while).

Most likely scenario is that Google has requested an update from VDOT, which has not provided one. In that case it should all get straightened out around 2015 or so . . . LOL!

Google’s right. I-66 should be avoided. :smiley:

Google (and everyone else) uses this for I-88 in New York unless your endpoints are Albany and Binghamton. It’s by far the best way to get to places like Scranton, Baltimore, and DC from the Albany area, but it refuses to take you that way. As far as I can see, it thinks the route is longer, though it doesn’t factor in the effect of traffic.

Isn’t I-66 inside the beltway passenger cars only? Maybe that has something to do with it.

Yeah, they took out that nifty little left exit dip going east on 66 to 495 N. Another cheap thrill lost to the march of progress. Bastards. :slight_smile:

Agreed. Google has probably traveled on I-66 before. It’s the worst road in the history of transportation.

Besides that, I would agree with others that the HOV changing-of-direction messes them up and they don’t want to figure it out or get it wrong and send you into oncoming traffic. Does the same thing inside the city for streets that change direction during rush hour.

I-66 doesn’t change directions :confused:

Inside the Beltway, the inbound lanes are all HOV during morning rush and the outbound lanes are all HOV in evening rush. But none of the lanes ever change direction. Outside the Beltway the leftmost lane is HOV during the appropriate hours; again, no change in direction.

IIRC I-95 in Virginia has a single set of HOV lanes down the middle that switch directions, but I’ve never used them so I’m not clear on the details.

I just tried this on Google Maps from my home in Tysons Corner to Front Royal, which would be just silly if it avoided 66 for the whole trip. It took me on 29 to Centreville before it put me on 66. Therefore I would conclude it’s related to some sort of error in interpreting HOV restrictions (this is all outside-the-Beltway travel). Does anyone know how far west the HOV lanes continue?

I sent an e-mail to Google last night before posting here, and within an hour I got an e-mail saying I was right, and that they’d fix it. I was shocked, since this was around 1 am ET, and I didn’t expect a human being would see it until morning.

Still not fixed, though. As Carrie Fisher said, instant gratification takes too long.

Right. That’s what I was thinking of.:smack:

You’re talking about the transition ramp that took you from 66-E to 495-N? The one that makes a sharp turn to the left while plunging downward, and dumps you into the leftmost lane of a six-lane road?

Well I’ll agree that’s been a thrill. Of a kind. Still, good riddance, if it’s now gone.

Are you sure it’s gone? The signs for the left exit are still there, and although I took the right exit, I thought I saw the lane from that exit merging into my lane as I entered 495.

That is not the standard ramp, it is the ramp that allows you to stay in the I-66 HOV lanes all the way to 495. Otherwise you would have to swing to the right through 4 lanes of traffic to the 495 exit. If you don’t like that roller coaster ride (once I took it too fast with my kids in the car and they loved it) you can still take the right one, although that also puts you into the leftmost lane of 495. That is one nasty merge point, regardless of which exit you take.

Yeah, that’s the one. I only took it on the occasional Saturday or Sunday morning on my way home from my folks’ house (for the last 20 or so years :eek:), so the merge into the fast lane was only slightly nerve-wracking. Last time I was there in February they had it closed off. I don’t know what the status of it is now.

I lived a few miles from the 496 66 intersection and agree with this statement

Having lived in the Boston area most my life the traffic down their was an experience. As terrible as a few of those intersection where they got nothing on some of the messes up here. What N VA had that made traffic far more nerve racking is the number of clueless drivers. People seemed to decided rush hour was a good time to go exploring.

Google seems to take an infuriating amount of time to update their maps. I tried to get them to update I-64/US 40 in St. Louis to account for the complete rebuild of a 10-mile stretch of highway. I sent them links to PDFs with detailed drawings of exactly how the ramps would be rebuilt and which ones would be removed. Nothing. Even the MoDOT rep said they were having all kinds of trouble getting the GPS companies and mapping websites to update their maps. She said they tried to tell them ahead of time what the changes would be, but they didn’t care until all of a sudden they were getting complaints from customers who were getting directed down a closed highway. The highway reopened in December, and Google STILL shows old ramp configurations and interchanges that don’t exist anymore.

Seriously, I understand that thousands of miles of new road get built every year in this country, but when you know about a construction project two years out and know exactly how it will be built, there’s no excuse for not having the correct map data in place the day the road opens.

We had a local road renamed. Google changed that road name and also put that new name on 3 other local roads by mistake. I told them the problem and they said they will fix it, not sure how long it will take.