The annual Tour de Mount Vernon will return to the area on Saturday, Oct 21.
Beginning at 8 a.m., the eighth annual community bicycling event encourages riders to take in the closed George Washington Memorial Parkway alongside views of the Potomac River.
The event is organized by Mount Vernon District Supervisor Dan Storck. While more information on the exact route remains to be released, it will include a mix of paved roads, paved trails and some challenging sections. Two options — a long ride of 40 miles and a short ride of 20 miles — will be offered.
Early registration is open until Sept. 1, with tickets costing $30 per rider. A ticket includes event socks, a day pass to George Washington’s estate, one free day pass to Woodland and Pope-Leighey House and a $5 donation to the Fairfax Alliance for Better Cycling (FABB).
Registration from Sept. 2 through Oct. 21 rises to $35 per ride. All of the above perks apply, except there’s no guarantee that the socks will still be available.
Fairfax County is seeking volunteers for the event. While teens between the ages of 15 and 17 are welcome, they must be accompanied by an adult. Helmets and a liability waiver are also required.
The eighth annual Tour de Mount Vernon is dedicated to Dave Evans, a father, husband, softball coach, and United Community and Good Shepherd Housing treasurer and board member who inspired the event. He was also the owner and operator of the award-winning business La Prima Catering.
Earlier this year, the county dedicated a ball field to Evans at Walt Whitman Middle School in Hybla Valley.
For the next couple of weeks, sunset will provide no relief from construction on the George Washington Memorial Parkway in northern McLean.
Starting tomorrow (Friday), crews will spend the hours between 8 p.m. and 6 a.m. each day pouring concrete on the surfaces of the Dead Run and Turkey Run bridges, the National Park Service announced on Tuesday (Aug. 22).
“Nightwork will occur intermittently through early September,” the NPS said in a news alert. “Work will occur on one bridge at a time. One lane of travel will be open in each direction; no additional lane closures are anticipated for this work.”
The agency advises drivers to “observe traffic signs, respect the 40-mph speed limit, and watch for crews working along the parkway,” noting that construction signage and message boards will be placed along the roadway.
“In the event of inclement weather, night work will be postponed to the following night,” the NPS said. “Motorists should anticipate delays and plan for additional travel time or consider taking an alternate route.”
The construction work is part of the GW Parkway rehabilitation project, a $161 million effort to upgrade the aging roadway first built in 1962. The project includes asphalt repaving, a redesign of the Route 123 (Chain Bridge Road) interchange, stormwater management system repairs, extensions of some entrance and exit lanes, and improvements to stone walls, roadside barriers and historic overlooks.
Construction began in July 2022 and is expected to continue into December 2025.
It took four days of work, but all trees have finally been cleared from the George Washington Memorial Parkway.
The parkway’s northern section between the Capital Beltway (I-495) in McLean and Spout Run Parkway in Arlington reopened at 9:45 a.m. today after hundreds of trees downed by a storm on Saturday (July 29) necessitated an extended closure.
The northbound lane reopened at 1 p.m. yesterday (Tuesday), but the southbound lane weren’t cleared until this morning, according to the National Park Service.
The GW Parkway will be fully operational for the afternoon rush-hour.
Drivers should use caution as the 3-lane traffic configuration is still in effect for the north parkway rehabilitation project.
— National Parks of Greater Washington, DC (@NPSNewsDC) August 2, 2023
“We extend our sincere appreciation to the public for their patience and understanding during this closure period,” GW Parkway Superintendent Charles Cuvelier said. “The safety of our visitors and commuters remains our top priority. We are dedicated to ensuring their well-being and convenience throughout their journey on the George Washington Memorial Parkway.”
As of yesterday, clean-up crews had removed up to 325 trees from the roadway, creating more than 500 tons of wood and debris that filled up 100 dump trucks and 15 chipper trucks, the NPS previously said.
The NPS noted that drivers should still be cautious around ongoing construction to rehabilitate the parkway. The project required the addition of a third, reversible lane in the median that has been in effect since April.
(Updated at 1:35 p.m.) The ear-splitting thunder that accompanied Saturday’s rainstorm has faded, but efforts to clean up the resulting damage continue.
All southbound lanes on the northern section of the George Washington Memorial Parkway in McLean and Arlington remained closed during rush hour this morning (Monday), as crews worked to remove fallen trees.
“Currently, the northern section (from Spout Run Parkway to I-495) continues to be closed, with the exception of the northbound lanes from Route 123 to I-495,” the National Park Service said last night, urging drivers “to use caution in the area.”
The cleanup effort is expected to take another three to four days, according to the park service, which has deployed five different teams to assist.
“These closures are necessary to ensure the removal of hazardous trees, including those that have fallen across the roadway and broken limbs that pose a risk to travel lanes,” the NPS said in an update shortly before 1:30 p.m.
According to Dominion Energy, 768 of its customers in Fairfax County are still without power, as of 9:30 a.m.
The largest outage is in the West Falls Church area along Sleepy Hollow Road, affecting 437 people. The estimated time of restoration is still undetermined “pending investigation,” according to the utility company’s outage map.
There are also still smaller outages scattered around the Seven Corners area, Springfield and the Richmond Highway corridor.
Over the past couple of days, Dominion has managed to restore power to most of the 128,000 customers in Virginia who experienced an outage during the storm on Saturday (July 29), including approximately 26,000 people in Fairfax County.
“This was a severe storm with winds as high as 60-80 mph, which caused significant damage to trees, branches and power lines,” Dominion said in a tweet yesterday, stating that its crews would continue working through the evening to restore electricity for all those still affected.
The Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department said it responded to 238 calls between 4:30 p.m. and 10 p.m. on Saturday — double the call volume it sees on a typical summer Saturday.
⚠️Currently, the northern section (from Spout Run Parkway to I-495) continues to be closed, with the exception of the northbound lanes from Route 123 to I-495, and the southbound lanes of the Spout Run Parkway are also closed as tree crews work to remove trees from the roadway.
— National Parks of Greater Washington, DC (@NPSNewsDC) July 31, 2023
This was a severe storm with winds as high as 60-80 mph, which caused significant damage to trees, branches and power lines.
— Dominion Energy (@DominionEnergy) July 30, 2023
Yesterday’s storm meant a busy evening for your #FCFRDsBravest. The #FCFRD responded to 238 calls between 4:30pm and 10pm. That is more than double the total amount of total calls and 10x the number of fire-related calls run during that time period on a normal summer Saturday. pic.twitter.com/10YzyuJp61
— Fairfax County Fire/Rescue (@ffxfirerescue) July 30, 2023
Map via Google Maps
Updated at 12:55 p.m. on 4/14/2023 — The National Park Service has delayed the GW Parkway changes due to forecasts calling for inclement weather over the weekend. The lane shift is now expected to begin around April 21-24.
Earlier: Drivers will soon have to get accustomed to a brand-new traffic pattern on the McLean section of the George Washington Memorial Parkway.
Starting Saturday, April 15, the existing southbound lanes will close between the Capital Beltway (I-495) and Route 123 (Dolley Madison Blvd and Chain Bridge Road) so crews can begin rehabilitating that portion of the roadway.
All traffic will shift to the northbound lanes, which have been expanded with the addition of a third, temporary lane in the median. The new lane will change directions based on where rush-hour traffic is headed.
“This temporary lane will serve as a reversible lane, which provides flexibility to change direction for morning and evening rush hours,” the National Park Service said in a news release yesterday (Monday). “This traffic pattern allows the project contractor greater access to the roadway, which will reduce the time needed to complete the project.”
If there’s inclement weather on April 15, the new traffic pattern will commence on Saturday, April 22 instead.
On April 15, the NPS will implement a new, temporary traffic pattern on George Washington Memorial Parkway between I-495 and Route 123 for the next phase of the North Parkway Rehabilitation Project: https://t.co/3yjIWOU0hL pic.twitter.com/PFFBTyoNQ0
— National Parks of Greater Washington, DC (@NPSNewsDC) April 3, 2023
According to the NPS, here is the daily schedule for the reversible lane:
Weekday morning rush hour (5:30 a.m.-9:30 a.m.)
- Two lanes southbound (toward Washington, DC).
- Drivers who need to exit at Route 123 or CIA Headquarters must use the right lane.
- One lane northbound (toward Maryland/Virginia).
Weekday evening rush hour (2:45 p.m.-7:15 p.m.)
- Two lanes northbound (toward Maryland/Virginia).
- Drivers who need to exit at Route 123 or CIA Headquarters must use the right lane.
- One lane southbound (toward Washington, DC).
Weekdays (9:30 a.m.-2:45 p.m.) and weekends
- One lane southbound (toward Washington, DC).
- One lane northbound (toward Maryland/Virginia).
The park service advises drivers to pay attention to traffic signs, adhere to the roadway’s 40 mph speed limit, and prepare for potential delays.
“To increase safety, small physical barriers will divide the narrow, 10-foot-wide lanes,” the NPS said, noting that vehicles that weigh over 10,000 pounds will still be barred from the parkway.
Federal officials broke ground on the north GW Parkway rehabilitation in July 2022. The approximately $161 million project will update the parkway’s northern section — from the Beltway to Sprout Run in Arlington — for the first time since it was originally completed in 1962.
Funded by the Great American Outdoors Act, which was passed in 2020 to support infrastructure and recreational improvements on public lands, the project will install new pavement, redesign the Route 123 interchange, repair stormwater facilities, lengthen some entrance and exit lanes, and more.
The NPS anticipates the three-lane pattern remaining in place throughout the rest of construction, which is projected to finish in December 2025.
One person got trapped and needed to be extracted from a vehicle in a crash on the Capital Beltway (I-495) in McLean this morning (Tuesday).
The Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department reported at 9:05 a.m. that it had units on the scene of the multi-vehicle crash on northbound I-495 at the George Washington Memorial Parkway interchange.
“Occupant being evaluated by EMS. Only one lane open on I495 NB. Expect delays,” the department tweeted.
As of 9:25 a.m., traffic backups extend nearly 7 miles, almost to the I-66 interchange in Dunn Loring, according to the Virginia Department of Transportation’s traffic cameras.
Units on the scene of a multi-vehicle crash on I-495 NB at George Washington Memorial Parkway. One occupant was trapped and extricated by #FCFRD crews. Occupant being evaluated by EMS. Only one lane open on I495 NB. Expect delays. #traffic pic.twitter.com/H6uVm4cXyK
— Fairfax County Fire/Rescue (@ffxfirerescue) March 14, 2023
Work has begun on repairs to the George Washington Memorial Parkway’s bridge over Pimmit Run in McLean.
Construction crews are repairing façades of the structures that support the Pimmit Run Bridge as part of the ongoing project to rehabilitate the parkway’s northern section from the Capital Beltway (I-495) to Sprout Run Parkway in Arlington, according to the National Park Service.
Started around the beginning of the month, the bridge repairs are expected to continue “throughout the next couple of months,” the agency said in an update on Friday (Feb. 3).
The bridge’s lanes have been narrowed to provide more staging room for construction equipment, which is separated from the main road by a recently erected temporary barrier.
“Crews may not be visible to the traveling public as most of the work is under the bridge,” the NPS said.
Crews are also still working to install a temporary lane widening the parkway between I-495 and Route 123 (Chain Bridge Road). The added 10-f0ot-wide lane is necessary to give crews space to work and stage equipment, according to NPS.
Here’s more on what to expect during this stage of construction from NPS:
Activities include removing select trees in the median and at the outfalls, installing temporary drainage, and activities related to installing temporary pavement. Motorists may see crews remove select trees at the outfalls over the next couple of months. Additionally, once crews begin select tree removal at the outfalls near Route 123, activities may be visible from the surrounding neighborhoods. The rehabilitation project includes tree replacement, which will occur at the completion of the project.
Weekday lane closures
- Northbound lane closures from 6:30 a.m. to 2:45 p.m.
- Southbound lane closures from 9:30 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Saturday lane closures
- Northbound left lane from 6:30 a.m. to 6 p.m.
- Southbound left lane from 6:30 a.m. to 6 p.m.
- Nighttime work is possible depending on weather temperatures.
Nighttime lane closure hours
- Northbound lane closures from 7:15 p.m. to 6:30 a.m.
- Southbound lane closures from 7 p.m. to 5:30 a.m.
“These lane closures are necessary to stage equipment and keep crews safe,” the park service said. “Lane closures may occur in the left or right lane with varying lengths; however, at least one lane of traffic in each direction will always remain open.”
The project to extend the I-495 Express Lanes north toward the American Legion Bridge has been under construction for half a year now, but some McLean residents remain as determined as ever to fight the Beltway’s encroachment into their neighborhoods.
Residents along Live Oak Drive in particular have consistently argued that they will face the most disruptions from the I-495 Northern Extension (495 NEXT) without getting the congestion relief benefits touted by the Virginia Department of Transportation.
The latest blow came at the sight of workers cutting down trees that serve as a buffer between Live Oak and two existing I-495 (Capital Beltway) and George Washington Memorial Parkway ramps.
VDOT says the tree clearings were necessary to make room for the Beltway widening, a new retaining wall adjacent to I-495, and a planned noise wall adjacent to Live Oak Drive. But residents fear the redesigned interchange will be a new “Mixing Bowl,” the tangle of ramps and overpasses where I-495, I-395 and I-95 meet in Springfield.
“VDOT/Transurban are trying to shove through a new ‘Springfield Mixing Bowl’ right here in McLean,” Northern Virginia Citizens Association President Debra Butler said in a recent email to members. “Future demolition and construction will impact both sides of 495 at Georgetown Pike, Live Oak Drive, Langley Swim Club, Scotts Run Nature Preserve with a new ‘McLean Mixing Bowl’ with ramps as high as 271 feet [above sea level].”
Discussions of potential legislation underway
Organized in opposition to 495 NEXT, the association held a meeting at the Langley Swim & Tennis Club on Friday (Dec. 16) to discuss the tree removals and their issues with the project’s size.
Attendees at the meeting included Del. Kathleen Murphy (D-34) and state Sen. Barbara Favola (D-31), who have started talking to Virginia Secretary of Transportation W. Sheppard Miller III about options for addressing resident concerns.
The association has suggested allowing commercial trucks in the I-495 Express Lanes, where they’re currently prohibited, and having them get on and off in Tysons instead of McLean, eliminating the need for some flyover ramps.
VDOT says a planned exchange ramp allowing vehicles to exit the toll lanes at the GW Parkway is intended for all vehicles, though one purpose is to give trucks from Maryland access to the general purpose lanes.
Legislators could also introduce a bill with new controls on public-private partnerships like the one between VDOT and express lanes operator Transurban, improving transparency and limiting their ability to substantially change a project’s design after a public hearing, Butler says.
Murphy confirmed she and Favola are having discussions about potential legislation, but no concrete proposals have formed yet, even with a Jan. 1 deadline to submit bills for the 2023 General Assembly session looming.
“Those are certainly things we are going to bring to the attention of the secretary of transportation to see what possibilities are available, and as soon as we finish those conversations, we’ll have a better idea,” she told FFXnow. Read More
The plans cover the southern portion of the parkway, covering 15.2 miles from Arlington Memorial Bridge to Mount Vernon. This area includes the majority of the Mount Vernon Trail, though a portion of the parkway and trail through Alexandria isn’t part of the project.
The National Park Service (NPS) will soon present and accept public comment on plans that aim to boost safety with a variety of changes for both pedestrians and drivers along the corridor.
“The road and trail improvements being considered would enhance the visitor experience for drivers, pedestrians and cyclists,” the NPS said in a release. “Potential improvements to the road include the implementation of a new road diet (reducing lanes through pavement striping to improve safety) in some areas, new crosswalks and intersection changes. Potential safety enhancements for the trail could include trail widening and intersection improvements.”
A virtual meeting is scheduled for 7 p.m. on Tuesday, Dec. 6. The meeting will be virtual (Webinar ID: 314-024-315).
Comments can be submitted after the meeting online until Jan. 4.
The rehabilitation of the George Washington Memorial Parkway will bring new traffic impacts to the McLean area, starting Monday (Sept. 26).
Drivers should prepare for increased construction activities and potential delays along the parkway’s northern section between I-495 and Dolley Madison Boulevard, the National Park Service announced yesterday (Tuesday).
Advising caution in work areas, the NPS says it will “temporarily” widen the road by removing the median, creating three northbound travel lanes.
“This temporary widening will maintain a three-lane configuration during construction, allowing the contractor greater access to the roadway and reducing the time needed to complete the project,” the park service said.
The parkway’s northbound lanes may be closed between 7 a.m. and 2:45 p.m., while the southbound lanes may close between 9:30 a.m. and 6 p.m.
Per the news release:
Closing some northbound and southbound lanes at the same time will shorten the project duration. At least one lane of traffic in each direction will always be open.
To allow for the temporary road widening, the NPS will remove select trees and plants. Tree locations and topography were considered in the construction planning, and every effort was made to minimize the number of trees that must be removed. The NPS will replace the trees when the project is completed.
Some lane closures are also planned on the bridges over Pimmit Run and Glebe Road in Arlington, where crews are set to start working next week.
“To avoid traffic delays on the northern section of the parkway during this time, drivers should consider alternate routes,” the NPS said.
Announced in December, the $161 million rehabilitation project broke ground in July. It’s the first major upgrade for the GW Parkway’s 7.6-mile northern stretch since it opened in 1962, promising asphalt repavings, a redesign of the Route 123 interchange, and other improvements.
The NPS says it expects the parkway rehab to be completed in late 2025.
Photo via Google Maps