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Funds sought to add more lighting under upcoming Springfield pedestrian bridge

Rendering of the proposed Gateway sign at the Commuter Parking facility on Old Keene Mill Road (via Fairfax County)

(Updated at 3:10 p.m.) An extra $150,00 is being requested to add a “unique lighting feature” to the colorful “Springfield” welcome sign set to be installed on a pedestrian bridge near Old Keene Mill Road later this year.

At last week’s Fairfax County Board of Supervisors meeting, Franconia District Supervisor Rodney Lusk proposed that the board consider spending $150,000 from the fiscal year 2023 carryover adjustment on a lighting feature to “complement” a welcome sign going up on the pedestrian bridge near the new Springfield Commuter Parking Garage.

The lighting would be part of a branding project to install colorful welcome signs at four different sites around the greater Springfield area in the fall. It’s being done to “raise the visibility and reputation of Springfield as a great place to live and do business,” per the project’s website.

One of the signs will be on the pedestrian bridge connecting the commuter parking garage to Springfield Plaza. The bridge and garage are expected to be completed in December.

The requested lighting feature would illuminate the pedestrian path underneath the bridge, known as the Frontier Drive underpass.

However, an extra $150,000 is needed for the feature, which was not part of the initial planned project. Lusk is requesting that the money be allocated from the FY 2023 Carryover Budget, which has a balance of about $203 million (which is slightly more than last year).

“This lighting feature will improve the connection with the Franconia- Springfield Metrorail station while also improving pedestrian safety and comfort,” Lusk’s board matter said. “This installation is beyond the budget of the initial gateway project, so additional funds are being sought to complete the gateway system for Springfield.”

Lusk noted in a follow-up statement to FFXnow that the extra lighting is needed for safety and security and to enhance the signage visually.

The priority for the lighting is to provide increased pedestrian safety beneath the underpass. The new lighting will enhance visibility and security for pedestrians who are walking from the Metro to the Springfield Towne Center. Additionally, the lighting will be designed to highlight the new Springfield Branding elements including color and design from the Springfield logo and new gateway signage. The preliminary design intends to project lighting on the columns of the underpass providing a brighter, more well-lit space with color.

A public hearing and board action on the package is scheduled for Sept. 26. Other items suggested for consideration by individual supervisors include funds to continue an economic visioning study for Lake Anne in Reston.

If the Springfield lighting feature is approved for inclusion, then the final design work and construction would move forward.

Construction on the gateway signs is now underway and expected to finish between October and December, according to Lusk’s office. However, the Frontier Drive underpass lighting is more likely to come along next year, depending on when funding, the final design and permits are secured.

“The lighting installation for the Frontier Drive underpass is conceptual at this time, and subject to change,” a spokesperson for Lusk’s office said.

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