Fairfax County has some ideas for short-term fixes that could ease congestion on Dolley Madison Blvd. through McLean, but if traffic grows significantly further down the road, a more substantial overhaul may be needed.
For the first time in almost three years, the Fairfax County Department of Transportation returned to the community with updates on its efforts to address gridlock in the corridor between the Dulles Toll Road and Old Dominion Drive.
At a meeting on May 11, county staff shared revised traffic data and recommendations that they said take into account the COVID-19 pandemic’s impact on people’s travel habits as well as infrastructure projects, like the Jones Branch Connector, designed to divert traffic from local roads.
According to the presentation, traffic in the D.C. suburbs is near pre-pandemic levels, with average daily volumes since July returning to about 90% of where they were in 2019, FCDOT project manager Maggie Qi reported.
However, aside from noticeable dips in March-April 2020 and this past January, traffic volumes have stayed relatively level over the past two to three years, and the county anticipates that people working from home will continue to slow growth, at least in the near-future.
“At some point, the ultimate solution would wind up being an interchange, but if we can find a way to keep volumes steady, we may be able to avoid that,” Qi said.
Building off of a 2010 Tysons Neighborhood Study, the Dolley Madison corridor study has been underway since 2017 — long enough that its definition of “short term” has shrunk from 10 to five years, with 2027 as the end of the planned timeframe.
Identifying the Lewinsville Road/Great Falls Street intersection as the corridor’s most problematic, particularly during afternoon peak hours, FCDOT has developed eight possible solutions, six of which come from the last community meeting in 2019:
- Concept 1: Three continuous lanes on eastbound Dolley Madison, providing additional capacity with a new lane after the Dulles Toll Road
- Concept 2: Builds on the first concept by extending the three lanes through Lewinsville/Great Falls
- Concept 3: Eliminate left turns from Balls Hill Road onto Lewinsville, which could get another lane
- Concept 4: A “partial jughandle” with restricted left-turns from Dolley Madison onto Old Dominion in both directions and onto Ingleside Avenue for eastbound traffic
- Concept 5: Widen Lewinsville/Great Falls to add two exclusive left-turn lanes, allowing the traffic signal timing to become more efficient
- Concept 6: Three westbound travel lanes on Dolley Madison from Old Dominion to Lewinsville
Though staff said that it would significantly reduce congestion, the sixth concept is no longer being considered after residents expressed strong opposition, since it would limit access to adjacent neighborhoods from Dolley Madison.
In its place, FCDOT has proposed two new concepts:
- Concept 7: An “option” lane from westbound Dolley Madison that enables drivers to either continue west to Tysons or take the on-ramp to the Dulles Toll Road
- Concept 8: Extend westbound Dolley Madison’s far-right through lane approaching the Lewinsville/Great Falls intersection
FCDOT combined the proposed concepts into two scenarios: the one that appears to be favored by the community, based on past feedback, and one recommended by staff that includes a modified jughead concept, retaining the Old Dominion left-turn restrictions while dropping the one for Ingleside.
“If we don’t include any improvements at Old Dominion Drive, the benefits realized at Great Falls Street and Lewinsville Road are negated by longer queues and delays at Old Dominion, particularly in the eastbound direction,” Qi explained.
According to Qi, both scenarios would improve traffic compared to not doing anything, but the staff-preferred proposal would make a bigger difference, cutting average westbound queues in the afternoon from about 4,000 feet to 200 feet and reducing the travel time from Ingleside to Anderson Road from over eight minutes to around four.
A 30-day public comment period on the study is now open through June 10. Qi said that anyone who needs more time can contact her directly at Maggie.Qi@fairfaxcounty.gov.
Photo via Google Maps
Good Thursday evening, Fairfax County. Let’s take a look back at today’s stories and a look forward to tomorrow’s event calendar. 🕗 News recap The following articles were published earlier…
With Virginia’s presidential primary elections just around the corner, one candidate is hoping to whip up some support in Fairfax County before polls open next Tuesday (March 5). Former South…
Carrabba’s Italian Grill has officially shuttered in Reston after more than two decades of business. A sign on the door of the chain restaurant at 12192 Sunset Hills Road thanks…
For the first time since it was established in 1921, the McLean Volunteer Fire Department (MVFD) has expanded its vehicle fleet to three ambulances.
The newest ambulance began operating out of the Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department’s Station 1 (1455 Laughlin Avenue) on Feb. 21 and will get an official, public reveal this Saturday (March 2) at the annual “I Love McLean” celebration.
Dreaming of small-town charm with big-city convenience? Look no further than 7156 Main St in Clifton, Virginia! Nestled just 30 miles from the heart of Washington D.C., this picturesque property offers the best of both worlds.
Escape the hustle and bustle of the city to find tranquility in this quaint, historic town. With its tree-lined streets and friendly community atmosphere, Clifton is the perfect place to call home. Yet, with its close proximity to the nation’s capital, you’ll never be far from the excitement and opportunities of urban living.
Imagine weekends exploring local shops, dining at charming cafes, and enjoying outdoor adventures in nearby parks. Then, commute to D.C. for work or play, soaking in all the culture, entertainment, and career opportunities the city has to offer.
Great Clips at South Lakes Village Center (Reston, Virginia) is seeking hair donors to participate in the Wigs for Kids program this Valentines Week. If you meet the minimum requirements and would like to donate your hair for children fighting cancer, we would love to host you in our salon this Valentine’s Week for a free haircut.
Hair donations must be a minimum of 12 inches
Hair donations must be clean and stored/packaged completely dry.
Hair donations cannot be permed, color-treated, or highlighted.
Temporary coloring or highlights that wash out are acceptable but must be completely washed out before cutting. Gray hair is accepted.
Participate in the 32nd Annual Van Metre 5K Run, a race that goes further than 3.1 miles, and every stride you take supports Children’s National Hospital. The Van Metre 5K Run donates 100% of proceeds to Children’s National Hospital and