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Work to widen East Spring Street in Herndon is set to begin next year (via VDOT)

The new year will ring in the beginning of a new construction project in Herndon.

Nearly $23 million in improvements to East Spring Street are slated to begin Tuesday (Jan. 3), according to the Town of Herndon.

The project will widen a quarter-mile of Spring Street from just west of Herndon Parkway to Fairfax County Parkway, creating space for additional through and turn lanes. More turn lanes are also under construction at the Spring Street intersection.

“The project, administered by the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT), will enhance the safety and efficiency of East Spring Street between the Fairfax County and Herndon parkways,” the town said.

The project will also connect the new Herndon Metro station the Washington & Old Dominion Trail through a sidewalk and eight-foot-wide cycle track along northbound Herndon Parkway.

Periodic lane closures are expected at the 100 block of Spring Street and the 400 block of Herndon Parkway.

A new sidewalk along eastbound Spring Street from Sunset Park Drive to Fairfax County Parkway and enhancements to existing pathways on both sides of spring street are also planned.

The project is expected to wrap up in the fall of 2024.

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A stray llama who was caught running on Fairfax County Parkway in the Fairfax Station area over the weekend has been reunited with her owner, the county’s animal shelter says.

Kolby, a 20-year-old female llama, was caught by Fairfax County Animal Protection Police near Popes Head Road Sunday evening (Dec. 18) after escaping her enclosure.

A combination of overhead and body camera footage shared by the Fairfax County Police Department shows officers chasing the animal in a wooded area before managing to corral her.

“A passerby saw a llama out for a jog on the Fairfax County Pkwy near Popes Head Road,” the department said. “After eluding our officers, the llama was found in a backyard and safely taken secured by APP.”

Police transported the animal to the Fairfax County Animal Shelter (4500 West Ox Road), where she got a temporary home in the facility’s barn.

“The llama was assessed by shelter staff and the shelter veterinarian and found to be in stable condition,” shelter director Reasa Currier told FFXnow. “The shelter staff provided her bedding, food, and water. Shelter staff immediately began searching for her family.”

To help locate a potential owner, the shelter turned to social media. Posts on Twitter and Facebook asking if anyone is “missing a llama” quickly gained traction.

In a welcome change of pace from previous unusual animal escapes in the D.C. region, Kolby’s adventure appears to have a happy ending: the shelter’s staff located her owner yesterday (Tuesday).

“He was eager to be reunited with his llama,” Currier said. “…Kolby received a lot of attention from the shelter staff and seemed to enjoy all of it.”

While not as common as horses or sheep, llamas are permitted as livestock in Fairfax County. The zoning ordinance allows up to five llamas per acre of land, provided the property is at least two acres in size — a rule that also applies to their cousins, alpacas.

Should any other llamas pop up and make a scene, Currier advises community members to contact Animal Protection Police, which can be reached at 703-691-2131 or FCPDAnimalProtection@FairfaxCounty.gov.

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Fairfax County police car lights flashing (file photo)

(Updated at 3:10 p.m.) A man was struck by a bus and killed on Fairfax County Parkway this afternoon, Fairfax County police say.

Police say a preliminary investigation indicates that the man “intentionally jumped in front of a vehicle” at the Old Keene Mill Road intersection in Burke. The call for service went out at 1:48 p.m., according to the Fairfax County Police Department.

The road has been closed from Old Keene Mill to Burke Lake Road to the north. Traffic backups extend for approximately 1 mile, according to the Virginia Department of Transportation’s traffic information site.

The FCPD confirmed to FFXnow that the vehicle was a bus, but not a school bus.

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Morning Notes

A frog statue looks up at Giant in University Mall (staff photo by Angela Woolsey)

Army Nurse Thanks Fairfax County Firefighters — “Sunday, August 7, was a powerful and inspiring day at Station 11, Penn Daw, C-Shift. U.S. Army Captain Paul Petrie, an OR Nurse at Fort Belvoir, stopped by to thank the shift for their role in saving his life in May. Injuries he sustained are fatal a vast majority of the time. Watch to learn more!” [FCFRD/Facebook]

Long-Term Fix for AT&T Service Issues in Reston Coming — A permanent proposal to restore full cell service in the Lake Anne area isn’t expected to come until later this fall, according to Hunter Mill District Supervisor Walter Alcorn. Alcorn says AT&T is looking at installing equipment on the new Fellowship House roof, but that will require approvals from Fairfax County and the Reston Association Design Review Board. [Patch]

Fairfax County Parkway Targeted for Traffic Enforcement — “Officers from our Motor Squad are focusing on traffic enforcement on the Fairfax County Parkway this month. On the first day of this enforcement campaign, an officer stopped a car going 108 MPH on the County Parkway at Barta Road, a 50 MPH zone!” [FCPD/Instagram]

Vienna Trail Closed for Repairs — “The Wildwood Park trail that runs between Follin Lane SE and Niblick Drive SE, along with the Mashie Drive Park entrance, will be closed tomorrow, Tuesday, Aug. 9, between 7 a.m. and 5 p.m. for repairs. Please use caution when in the area and plan for detours.” [Town of Vienna/Twitter]

Police Seek Help with Centreville Cold Case — “One of the DNA-analysis companies that Fairfax County Police in Virginia have been working with is Texas-based Othram, which is now crowdfunding help to identify a woman who was found dead…nearly 30 years ago. Even today, there isn’t a lot that police know about the woman, whose remains were found in 1993 near a cedar tree around what’s now the corner of Sharpsburg Drive and Calvary Place in Centreville.” [WTOP]

Connector Buses Not Affected by Metro Shutdown — The closure of several Blue and Yellow Line stations next month will have no impact on Fairfax Connector routes, but instead of taking a train, passengers will transfer to free shuttle buses. Drop-off and pick-up locations at the Huntington, Van Dorn Street, Franconia, and Crystal City stations may also be slightly different. [Fairfax County Government]

Reminder to Get Kids Immunized for School — “Parents, you’ve probably reminded your kids about summer reading and started purchasing school supplies. Have you booked your immunization appointment yet? Don’t wait until the last minute, make sure your children are up to date with their school required immunizations.” [Fairfax County Health Department/Facebook]

Maryland Toll Lanes Project on Hold — “A key federal agency has delayed Maryland’s plan to build toll lanes on the Capital Beltway and I-270, the latest setback for the star-crossed project. The move was immediately criticized by Gov. Larry Hogan (R), who said the delay will imperil the state’s efforts to ease one of the nation’s worst bottlenecks.” [Maryland Matters]

It’s Tuesday — Humid throughout the day. High of 94 and low of 78. Sunrise at 6:18 am and sunset at 8:12 pm. [Weather.gov]

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Traffic fills the Richmond Highway (via Fairfax County)

The Northern Virginia Transportation Authority (NVTA) has awarded nearly $341 million to seven major transportation projects in Fairfax County.

Approved on Thursday (July 14), the NVTA gave out about $630 million to 20 projects across the region with its latest six-year program. More than half the money went to projects in Fairfax County.

“The NVTA takes a multimodal approach to providing transportation solutions and options that keep Northern Virginia and beyond moving, recognizing there is no one-size-fits-all solution to tackling traffic congestion in the Washington, D.C. region,” NVTA chair and Loudoun County Board of Supervisors Chair Phyllis Randall said in a statement. “The 20 projects the NVTA has just adopted are no exception.”

NVTA committed to funding six county projects and one project from the Town of Herndon:

“We regularly talk about our goal in Fairfax County to ‘move people’ no matter how they choose or need to travel. I could not be more pleased with this investment in our community,” Board of Supervisors Chair Jeff McKay wrote in a statement. “Fairfax County is the economic engine of the Commonwealth, and our infrastructure is at the core of this tremendous progress.”

The Fairfax County Parkway funding will widen 2.5 miles of the road between Nomes Court and Route 123 (Ox Road) in Fairfax Station as part of a larger project. No timeline is being given yet for when construction might start or be completed, according to the project page.

Fairfax Connector will acquire eight electric buses to initially serve four routes between Tysons and Franconia, potentially starting by the end of this year.

The combined $140 million for the two Richmond Highway projects will widen a three-mile stretch of the corridor from four to six lanes, among other improvements, and support The One, a dedicated bus service.

According to the Virginia Department of Transportation, construction on the widening could begin “as early as 2025” and take three to four years to complete.

The bus rapid transit service expected to serve up to 15,000 passengers a day with nine stations by the time it’s completed in 2030. All in all, both projects are expected to cost a billion dollars in total. Read More

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Fairfax County Connector in Reston (staff photo by Jay Westcott)

The Northern Virginia Transportation Authority wants the public’s input on more than two dozen projects that could drastically change travel in the region.

The projects cover a six-year funding span and involve over $1.2 billion in requests, though the authority acknowledged it’s not immediately clear how much funding will be available.

Launched Friday (April 15), the public input period lasts through May 22. People can comment by email, an online form, voicemail or mail as well as in-person or remote testimony at a May 12 hearing.

Fairfax County has requested a total of $572 million — the most of any jurisdiction — for seven projects:

  • Fairfax Connector: $10 million to buy eight electric buses for an express route between Tysons and Franconia
  • Fairfax Station: $108 million to add two lanes to Fairfax County Parkway (Route 286) for a 2-mile stretch near Route 123
  • Mount Vernon District: $80 million for a $730 million project to add bus rapid transit along a 7.4-mile stretch of Route 1
  • Mount Vernon: $60.2 million for a $415 million project to add two lanes to a 3.1-mile section of Route 1 and provide other multimodal upgrades
  • Reston: $73.8 million for the $235 million Soapstone Connector. The planned one-mile extension of the roadway over the Dulles Toll Road will span Sunrise Valley Drive to Sunset Hills Road, providing vehicular lanes with a middle turning lane, bicycle lanes, and sidewalks.
  • Seven Corners: $94.8 million to start the first segment of a “ring road” at the often congested and circuitous intersection
  • Springfield: $145.2 million to extend Frontier Drive to Loisdale Road, reducing trip times and providing new access to the Franconia-Springfield Metro station and co-located Virginia Railway Express station
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