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Groundbreaking of new bridge over Wiehle Avenue set for next month

The groundbreaking of the bridge is set for next month (Photo courtesy FCDOT).

(Updated at 9:55 a.m. on 2/15/2023) A groundbreaking for a new Washington & Old Dominion Trail bridge over Wiehle Avenue is set for next month.

The event, which was originally scheduled for earlier this week, was postponed due to the unavailability of some elected officials.

The new bridge replaces an existing at-grade crossing. Only minor roadway, sidewalk and median changes to Wiehle Avenue are planned at this location.

The project — which has been in the works for years — will boost bicyclist and pedestrian access near the Wiehle-Reston East Metro station. The bridge will include a gravel path and asphalt trail.

The project will be completed in spring 2024, according to the Fairfax County Department of Transportation.

Dominion Energy Virginia completed the relocation of transmission facilities in August 2021. An AT&T line was one of nine utility facilities to be relocated.

In a statement to FFXnow, Fairfax Alliance for Bicyclists (FABB) President Bruce Wright lauded the county for proceeding with the long-needed project. He encouraged the county to take one step further by managing detours and trail use at night:

One of the most dangerous road crossings on the W&OD Trail is at Wiehle Ave. Trail users must cross 6 lanes of Wiehle Ave traffic at an unsignalized crossing that is very close to the busy Sunset Hills Rd intersection. There are four southbound travel lanes, including a left turn lane. Where crashes have occurred, cyclists headed eastbound cross the first three lanes when the left turn signal changes. Motorists in that lane proceed through the signal and may not see cyclists or pedestrians crossing the adjacent lanes, and a crash occurs…

While there are only two northbound lanes, motorists can be approaching the crosswalk from three different directions and will often not yield to trail users. When they do yield, there is very little stacking space and cars can be backed up into the Sunset Hills intersection. The median refuge is not very wide which further complicates the crossing.

The new bridge will be a great benefit to W&OD trail users who will be able to safely cross Wiehle without having to stop or rely on motorists to yield to them. Motorists will benefit as well as they will not have to stop for trail users very close to a signalized intersection. Our only concern is how well the W&OD Trail and Wiehle Ave sidewalk/trail detours are handled. There needs to be safe, convenient 24/7 access for trail users. The W&OD Trail is officially closed at 9pm but many people need to use the trail given there are few safe alternatives at night. While we understand that there may be times at night when the trail will need to be closed, it should only be for brief periods after 9pm. If trail users must cross Wiehle at the Sunset Hills intersection, the pedestrian signal timing needs to be extended.

A spokesperson for FCDOT said information on the project was still being updated.

Correction: The bridge was previously expected to be finished this fall, but the timeline has gotten pushed back after a delayed start. H/t to Adam Rubenstein.

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