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Design of the Route 28 widening project is nearly complete (via FCDOT)

The design phase of the planned Route 28 widening is nearly complete.

The $87 million project will widen Route 28 — also known as Centreville Road — from four to six lanes between Bull Run bridge and the Upper Ridge/Old Centreville Road intersection.

It also includes widenings of intersecting streets next to Route 28, the installation of new signals at five currently signalized intersections, four noise barriers, and the construction of new drainage improvements, including storm water and storm management facilities.

Robin Geiger, a spokesperson for the Fairfax County Department of Transportation, said that the project is designed to allow for future expansion, if needed. So far, designs are 95% complete.

“The project has been designed to allow for future widening of Route 28 to eight lanes, as needed and as funding is available,” Geiger wrote in a statement to FFXnow.

FCDOT plans to hold an online meeting on May 11 from noon to 1:30 p.m. to provide an update about the status of the project, upcoming activities and the overall schedule and process.

The project is expected to be completed by the winter of 2023-2024, according to the county. Substantial completion on construction is anticipated in the fall of 2023.

The department has provided right-of-way plans for phase two of the project online. Staff from Shirley contracting company will also be on hand to answer questions.

The meeting can be accessed via Microsoft Teams or over the phone at 571-429-5982 with access code 901 419 848#.

So far, land rights — including right-of-way, temporary easements, and permanent easements — will be acquired from 48 properties. No buildings or structures will be demolished for the project.

Geiger anticipated that all land rights will be acquired by the end of the year or early 2023. Construction on the project began in September 2021.

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I-66 interchange at Route 28 (via Fairfax County)

I-66 will be complete closed to traffic in Centreville during overnight hours, starting at today (Friday).

Detours will redirect traffic at the Route 28 underpass, as construction continues on the Transform 66 Outside the Beltway project. Workers will continue bridge beam installation for new access ramps to rebuild the interchange, the Virginia Department of Transportation said in a news release.

All lanes will reopen by 6 a.m. on weekends and 5 a.m. on weekdays.

I-66 East lane closures

Workers will fully close eastbound lanes on the interstate tonight from 10:30 p.m. to 5 a.m., but the route will be partially open a half hour before as well as an hour after that timeframe.

I-66 East lane closures will also occur from 10 p.m. tomorrow (Saturday) to 6 a.m. on Sunday (May 1), and on Monday through Wednesday nights (May 2-4) from 9 p.m. to 5 a.m. Lane closures will vary, but drivers should expect stoppages most nights.

I-66 West lane closures

Westbound lanes will fully close from 11 p.m. on Saturday to 4:30 a.m. on Sunday as well as Monday through Wednesday nights. Partial closures will begin an hour before those times each night. The road will partially reopen between 4:30 a.m. to 5 a.m. on weekdays, or 6 a.m. on the weekend.

Detour to follow same path on Route 28

Both eastbound and westbound drivers on I-66 will head north on Route 28 then weave through the Westfields Boulevard interchange to circle back south on Route 28 back to the interstate.

There will be signage to direct traffic.

Photo via Fairfax County

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Tennis player Lea Blinder practiced with a Slinger ball feeder machine yesterday (Wednesday) at Chalet Woods Park in Centreville, happy to hear that the courts there are slated for repairs.

The Arlington resident, who plays tennis at Chalet Woods a few times a week, was working on her swing before her lesson that afternoon. The three courts are surrounded by towering trees in a cul-de-sac by homes.

“It’s beautiful,” she said, noting that families also enjoy the park.

Expected to undergo repairs and get new color coating for its tennis courts and a basketball court, Chalet Woods is one of five parks across Fairfax County in line for court maintenance and renovations projects this year.

George Washington Park court demolition begins

One of the biggest scheduled overhauls will be at George Washington Park in Mount Vernon (8426 Old Mt. Vernon Road), where the Fairfax County Park Authority has proposed converting the four existing tennis courts into six dedicated pickleball courts and two shared-use courts with lines for both sports.

The county announced on Wednesday (April 27) that a vendor will begin preparing the GW Park courts this week for demolition. The courts are expected to be closed for four months for resurfacing process, depending on the weather.

“Once new asphalt is laid, the courts will sit undisturbed for a period of two to four weeks to allow the color coating to adhere properly,” the park authority said in its news release. “New fencing and nets will be installed once the color coatings have set and the courts are ready to open again.”

People can comment on the proposal through May 27 to 65533@PublicInput.com. The plan is expected to be finalized in early June.

Maintenance needs pave way for pickleball additions

As illustrated by the GW project and a similar renovation planned at Lewinsville Park in McLean, the park authority is using the schedule for repairing and resurfacing many tennis courts as an occasion to make upgrades and add new facilities, especially for pickleball.

“We’ll be nearly doubling the amount of pickleball courts that we have in the next two years,” FCPA Project Manager Adam Wynn said at a March 23 board meeting.

Building on a pickleball study from December, the county plans to create 37 to 42 additional pickleball courts, most of which could take place in coming months, the park authority reported at that meeting.

According to spokesperson Judy Pederson, the FCPA will undertake court maintenance and renovation projects this year and next at Chalet Woods, George Washington, Lewinsville, McLean Central Park, and Dowden Terrace Park near Bailey’s Crossroads.

“As always, [work is] weather dependent and contractor availability will determine how far we get,” she said in an email.

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The New Braddock Road intersection at Singletons Way (via Google Maps)

Another serious crash on New Braddock Road in Centreville came on Monday (April 4).

According to Fairfax County police, a Kia traveling west on the road sped past Route 28’s six lanes of traffic, injuring two people and causing them to be entrapped.

The crash happened around 1:50 a.m. when the vehicle hit an embankment, went airborne, and traveled through a strand of trees, a police officer said in a court document. The impact tore the engine away from the vehicle.

Both the 42-year-old driver and her passenger were taken to the hospital with significant injuries, the officer said. Emergency room staff found two glass smoking devices in the driver’s clothing, and a male passenger suggested alcohol and drugs may have been involved, according to the officer.

The driver said she had no recollection of the crash or events leading up to it and denied drinking alcohol or using drugs, according to the court document.

Singletons Way intersection scrutinized

Monday’s crash was the sixth so far this year on New Braddock Road and the second resulting in injuries, according to data from a Virginia traffic crash database.

Of 20 crashes recorded on the road in 2021, 13 were between Route 28 and Montiero Drive, and all four incidents resulting in injuries occurred in the area of the intersection at Singletons Way, raising concerns about safety among community members.

One crash on the evening of Oct. 9 at that intersection caused six injuries.

Others involved a driver under the influence of alcohol on July 21 at 8:17 p.m., where two people were injured, and a distracted driver at 10:15 a.m. Jan. 26 of this year near the intersection, according to the database.

When asked about mitigation and prevention efforts, Fairfax County Police Department said there weren’t initiatives currently happening there, but traffic enforcement units at the station would assess the intersection.

“Our commanders constantly look for feedback from the community to help us allocate our resources,” police said in a statement.

VDOT said police would have more information about specific crashes, but a spokesperson said she would check with traffic engineering staff.

A community member on the social media site Nextdoor said police are aware of the problem. Residents were discussing the safety of the New Braddock Road and Singletons Way intersection.

The state traffic database indicates that speed was a factor in some crashes at the intersection in 2019 and 2020, but that wasn’t the case last year or this year so far at that particular intersection.

The Fairfax County Department of Transportation did not return a request for comment by publication time.

Photo via Google Maps

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Morning Notes

The new South County Police Station and Animal Shelter under construction in Lorton (staff photo by Jay Westcott)

County Elections Director Resigns — “Fairfax County’s general registrar has resigned after less than a year on the job and now the former election manager will serve as registrar until the term expires on June 30, 2023, county officials said. Scott Konopasek announced his intention to resign as general registrar during a closed session of the Electoral Board on March 24.” [Sun Gazette/Inside NoVA]

Depp-Heard Defamation Trial Will Be Televised — “Court TV will carry the televised feed of the Johnny Depp-Amber Heard defamation trial, which is scheduled to begin next week in Fairfax County, VA. The network will be the pool feed provider for the trial, and plans to provide coverage of the proceedings.” [Deadline]

Centreville HS Students Behind Blood Type Bill — “Fairfax County high school students spearheaded a bill that will allow Virginia residents to indicate blood type on their license. Sen. George L. Barker, D-Fairfax, introduced Senate Bill 345 during the regular General Assembly session. The Senate and House approved the bill, which will take effect in July 2023.” [The Roanoke Star]

Fairfax County Has Strong Showing on “Best Places to Work” List — Of the 47 Northern Virginia-based companies to make the Washington Business Journal’s annual list of the “Best Places to Work in Greater Washington,” 28 are located in Fairfax County. The ranking is based on employee surveys about topics like leadership, culture, and benefits. [Fairfax County EDA]

Vienna Hires New Planning and Zoning Director — “Town officials chose David Levy after conducting a nationwide search and receiving applications from candidates in 10 states. Levy will assume his new job May 9 at a salary of $161,000.” [Sun Gazette]

Colvin Run Miller’s House Opens — “Ceremonies took place on Sunday, April 3, 2022, to officially cut the ribbon and open the doors of the historic Miller’s House at Colvin Run Mill in Great Falls…After extensive renovation, the house now offers an interactive design representing home life in the early and late 1800s.” [FCPA]

Blood Drive Coming to Reston — “The Reston District Police Station is hosting a blood drive with the INOVA Bloodmobile on Monday, April 18, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the North County Governmental Center…Registration is required. Your blood donation will support Fairfax County Police Department’s Helicopter Division’s whole blood carrying program for medevac services.” [Hunter Mill District News]

It’s Friday — Possible light rain in the evening and overnight. High of 56 and low of 43. Sunrise at 6:43 am and sunset at 7:40 pm. [Weather.gov]

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Blend 111 in Vienna is a 2022 RAMMY Awards finalist for “Best Brunch of the Year” (staff photo by Angela Woolsey)

The finalists for the D.C.-area restaurant industry’s annual RAMMY Awards are out, and a few Fairfax County hotspots made the cut.

Organized by the Restaurant Association Metropolitan Washington (RAMW), a regional trade and advocacy group, the 40th annual RAMMYs represent a shift toward normalcy after two years of slightly modified proceedings to reflect the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Unveiled last night (Tuesday) at a party in downtown D.C., the finalists are vying for a range of categories, from familiar titles like “New Restaurant of the Year” to ones introduced during the pandemic like “Standout Family Meal Packages To Go.”

While D.C. restaurants dominate the list, Fairfax County still managed to land five nominees:

Some of those restaurants have been recognized before. Caboose previously made the “Beer Program” finals in 2020, though it didn’t win and the category took last year off. Taco Bamba’s Springfield location won “Employee of the Year” in 2020.

The categories added in response to the pandemic, including “Best Brunch,” will be determined by public voting starting in late April, according to RAMW.

All winners will be announced at an in-person ceremony on July 24 at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center in D.C.

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Heavy rains and damage came after a storm blasted through Tysons on Thursday (via @RealPotatus)

Fairfax County was, in fact, hit by two tornados during last week’s rainstorm.

The National Weather Service determined there was a tornado in Centreville on Thursday (March 31), in addition to the one that touched down in Tysons.

The tornado had peak winds of 85 miles per hour, according to NWS, which conducted a damage survey today (Monday).

Approximately 15 pine trees were snapped or uprooted at the end of Batavia Drive behind Cub Run Elementary School.

“No damage to nearby residences or other structures was evident during the survey,” the report reads. “The tornado was on the ground for well under a minute.”

The NWS estimates the tornado tore an about 80-yard path with a width of 30 feet around 8:21 p.m.

The Tysons hurricane didn’t touch down until about 20 minutes later and was also rated as an EF0 but damaged two gas stations.

Read the full NWS damage survey below:

Public Information Statement
National Weather Service Baltimore MD/Washington DC
440 PM EDT Mon Apr 4 2022

…NWS Damage Survey for 03/31/22 Tornado in Centreville VA…

Rating: EF-0
Estimated Peak Wind: 85 mph
Path Length: 80 yards
Path Width /maximum/: 30 yards
Fatalities: 0
Injuries: 0

Start Date: March 31, 2022
Start Time: 8:21 PM EDT
Start Location: Centreville VA
Start Lat/Lon: 38.8653/-77.4579

End Date: March 31, 2022
End Time: 8:22 PM EDT
End Location: Centreville VA
End Lat/Lon: 38.8655/-77.4570

Narrative:

Today, the National Weather Service in Sterling, Virginia, conducted a survey of storm damage in Centreville, Virgina, of localized damage from storms that occurred Thursday evening, March 31, 2022.

It was determined that a brief tornado occurred in Centreville, Virginia, near the end of Batavia Drive behind Cub Run Elementary School. Multiple softwood pine trees surrounding the end of Batavia Drive were impacted/damaged by the tornado, with several snapped and others uprooted. No damage to nearby residences or other structures was evident during the survey. The tornado was on the ground for well under a minute.

The tornado touched down immediately east of Cub Run Elementary School and transited from west to east toward the cul-de-sac at the end of Batavia Drive. The cul-de-sac was formerly surrounded by about two dozen trees. The seven trees on the south side of the cul-de-sac were undamaged, while most of the remainder were either uprooted, snapped at the base, or snapped 10-15 feet in the air. One of the tree tops was turned in mid-air and landed
opposite to its expected orientation had this been straight-line winds, indicative of a very brief tornado touchdown.

The tornado lifted as it moved east of the cul-de-sac.

Weather radars from NOAA/NWS KLWX WSR-88D in Sterling, VA, and FAA Terminal Doppler Weather Radars for Reagan National Airport, and Joint Base Andrews, all had corroborating doppler radar velocity data supporting the tornadogenesis.

EF Scale: The Enhanced Fujita Scale classifies tornadoes into the following categories:

EF0………65 to 85 mph
EF1………86 to 110 mph
EF2………111 to 135 mph
EF3………136 to 165 mph
EF4………166 to 200 mph
EF5………>200 mph

Photo courtesy of @RealPotatus 

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Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department determined a fire in Centreville March 10 was caused by mechanical failure of an air compressor motor (courtesy of FCFRD)

The Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department determined that a two-alarm fire in Centreville earlier this month was caused by a mechanical failure in the motor of an air compressor.

Firefighters from Fairfax and Prince William counties were dispatched to the 14600 block of Lee Highway around 2:34 p.m. on March 10 for a building fire, according to a news release.

Upon arrival, they saw smoke showing from the commercial business building’s roof from the front and fire coming out of the second floor window in the back.

The fire was confined to one unit, the department said. Four occupants were in the unit at the time of the fire, but no injuries were reported. The unit didn’t have smoke alarms or a fire sprinkler system. An employee saw the flames and called 911.

Investigators determined that the fire caused approximately $200,000 in damages.

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The hot chicken spot Hangry Joe’s will open in Centreville this spring via Google Maps)

Another Nashville-style hot chicken spot is taking the county by storm.

Hangry Joe’s Hot Chicken plans to open a Centreville location at 14215U Centreville Square in the next few weeks, according to a company representative.

The restaurant has been rapidly expanding in the county, opening an initial Fairfax location in September and one at Herndon’s Worldgate Centre in January. More Virginia locations are planned in Oakton, Short Pump and Alexandria.

While a exact date has not been determined yet, the restaurant will offer 25% off all orders on grand opening day.

Derek Cha, the founder of sweetFrog, a frozen yogurt spot, launched the business with business partner Mike Kim.

Hangry’s serves hot chicken ranging from “plain” to “angry hot.” Other items on the menu include loaded waffle fries, salad, chicken tenders, okra and Korean-style chicken nuggets.

Photo via Google Maps

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The current Village Center McDonald’s in Centreville does not have a drive-thru, despite strong demand (via Google Maps)

A small McDonald’s in Centreville’s Village Center strip mall is cooking up a big revamp.

The fast food restaurant hopes to move from its small drive-thru-less location at 5633 Stone Road to a bigger space within the shopping center at 5601 Stone Road.

The new location would have a new drive-thru. If the proposal — which is currently being reviewed by the county — moves forward, McDonald’s would take over space previously occupied by a Capitol One bank.

The company did not return a request for comment from FFXnow, but in a Feb. 10 proposal to the county, it said the relocation would “better service its existing customers and reuse an existing vacant space.”

“The new drive-through configuration includes dual drive-through lanes, quieter ordering stations, improved lighting, and high efficiency kitchen tailored for less overall site impact, but with much greater efficiency in serving customers both in-house and the drive-through,” the company wrote in the proposal.

The current location will close once the move occurs. The timeline of the change is currently unknown and is pending county approval.

Located at the intersection of Braddock and Stone Roads, the village center is managed by Saul Centers, a real estate investment trust, and is anchored by Giant Food. Other major tenants include Hair Cuttery and Starbucks.

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