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Project to widen Route 28, add shared-use paths reaches substantial completion

New lanes are open on Route 28, which has been widened from four to six lanes between Bull Run and I-66 (courtesy Northern Virginia Transportation Authority)

(Updated at 12:05 p.m.) The Centreville section of Route 28 is now two lanes wider and, local officials hope, noticeably less challenging to travel.

Construction is substantially complete on the project to widen Route 28 (Centreville Road) from four to six lanes between the Bull Run bridge at the Fairfax and Prince William county line and Route 29.

Fairfax County elected representatives joined regional and state transportation officials at the Centreville United Methodist Church Park and Ride (6400 Old Centreville Road) for a ribbon-cutting yesterday (Wednesday) to celebrate the milestone, which arrived right on schedule with two new lanes opening in early October.

“The anticipation surrounding this project in our community is palpable, with residents eagerly looking forward to the profound improvements in accessibility and…efficiency this project promises to bring,” Sully District Supervisor Kathy Smith said at the ceremony. “The successful execution of the Route 28 widening project is poised to significantly enhance the quality of life for our residents.”

Under construction since September 2021, the Route 28 widening is intended to reduce traffic, improve safety and provide more transportation options on a highway that sees approximately 60,000 vehicles a day, according to the Fairfax County Department of Transportation.

In addition to the new lanes, the $79.5 million project constructed a 10-foot-wide shared-use path for pedestrians and bicyclists on both sides of the roadway. It also made improvements to intersections and side streets, including installing upgraded traffic signals and removing some median breaks and crossovers.

“Whenever we make road improvement projects like this in Fairfax County, we focus on not just the road improvements, which are absolutely critical to moving traffic and people, but also all the multimodal improvements, improvements for pedestrians and safety improvements for people who live along this corridor,” Fairfax County Board of Supervisors Chairman Jeff McKay said.

Work is expected to continue until May 2024 on some of those elements, including the shared-use paths, noise barriers, storm water management facilities and side street improvements.

However, FCDOT says drivers have already reported shorter trips and less cut-through traffic.

“Morning rush-hour commuters from Manassas Park to I-66 have reported experiencing a reduction in their commute of 10-15 minutes each day,” the department said. “They have also reported a reduction in morning rush hour cut through/bypass traffic on Ordway Road and Old Centreville Road.”

A study conducted by the Virginia Department of Transportation in 2015 found that widening Route 28 would shave about 15 minutes off current travel times, though trips through the 5-mile stretch were still projected to take 40 minutes in the morning due to the area’s increased density and development.

Benefitting Loudoun and Prince William counties, as well as Fairfax, the Route 28 widening has “regional significance,” Northern Virginia Transportation Authority CEO Monica Backmon said. The regional transportation planning agency contributed $26 million to the project, which also got local, state and federal funds.

(Correction: The spelling of Monica Backmon’s name has been fixed.)

Lauding the “innovative design” of the expanded roadway, which could be widened even further to eight lanes in the future, Springfield District Supervisor Pat Herrity highlighted the project’s benefits for his constituents, even though it’s in the Sully District.

“Much of the benefit from this project will be felt in the Springfield District, as we start the process of alleviating all the cut-through traffic in the Occoquan watershed and through the Town of Clifton,” he said. “Those are people who really should be using this route, but it’s too congested. This project is the first step in making it less congested.”

The next step, Herrity said, is for Prince William County to widen Route 28 to six lanes on its side of the border. A preliminary design for that bypass project was presented in the spring, but construction isn’t slated to start until 2026.