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Public art to be temporarily removed for inspection of Reston underpass

The “Thoreau’s Ensemble” art installation at the Colts Neck Road underpass in Reston (via Public Art Reston)

A familiar site intended to liven up Reston’s Colts Neck Road underpass is slated for temporary removal.

The public art installation — called “Thoreau’s Ensemble” by Philadelphia-based artist Ben Volta — will be removed in the coming weeks so the Virginia Department of Transportation can conduct a structural inspection of the concrete underpass.

The inspection, which happens every four years, will require Reston Association staff to remove and store the panels in coordination with the timing of the inspection.

“Once the inspection is done, the panels will be replaced on the underpass,” RA wrote in a statement.

If maintenance work is required, the installation of the panels will be delayed until the work can be completed, according to RA.

The public art installation was unveiled in October 2019 and features the work of hundreds of drawings by community members. Volta was inspired by poet Henry David Thoreau’s quote, “Pursue some path, however narrow and crooked, in which you can walk with love and reference.”

Community members and residents created drawings of paths based on the quote through a series of meet-ups. It was made possible through a partnership with Public Art Reston, Atlantic Realty Companies and RA.

The panels will be removed tomorrow (Tuesday), according to RA spokesperson Mike Leone.

VDOT told FFXnow it’s not clear when the panels will be installed again.

“This type of inspection is routine and typically takes a couple days to evaluate. Based on those findings, panels will likely be reset,” a spokesperson told FFXnow.

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