Another Halloween has come and gone, but the jack-o’-lantern that may be sitting on your stoop isn’t going to get rid of itself.
Instead of trashing the carved-up squash, the Fairfax County Department of Public Works and Environmental Services is encouraging residents to compost with its annual “PumpkinPalooza” services.
“Repurposing them in this manner is more environmentally friendly than throwing them away,” DPWES said in a press release announcing the event.
The county is accepting pumpkins for composting through Nov. 17 at its I-95 Landfill Complex (9850 Furnace Road) in Lorton and the I-66 Transfer Station (4618 West Ox Road) near Fair Lakes.
Pumpkins can be dropped off at both facilities between 7 a.m. and 5 p.m. Monday through Friday, and from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday.
“All pumpkins and squash must be free of all decorations, such as paint, glitter and candle wax,” DPWES said. “Those items cannot be composted.”
The county officially introduced its compost outpost for food scraps at the I-66 disposal facility in April after a two-year pilot to demonstrate its effectiveness.
The Fairfax County Park Authority has also added composting drop-offs at all of its farmers markets, though the Wakefield and Kingstowne markets have already ended their seasons. The park authority collected nearly 37 tons of compost last year, when the service launched at five markets before expanding to all sites for 2023.
(Updated at 9:30 p.m. on 10/26/2023) Several Republicans campaigning to represent parts of Fairfax County in the General Assembly have vowed to change up Virginia’s interstate tolling system if they’re elected on Nov. 7.
With the McLean Metro station in Tysons as a backdrop, the candidates unveiled a “Tolling Equity and Relief Plan” last Friday (Oct. 20) that they argued would reduce congestion and lower the cost of using the Express Lanes on I-66 and the Capital Beltway (I-495).
Crafted by former Congressman Frank Wolf, who represented Virginia’s 10th district from 1981 to 2015, the proposal calls for frequent Express Lanes drivers to get rebates from toll and state tax revenues, lower high-occupancy vehicle requirements, and standardization of toll rates on I-66 inside and outside the Beltway.
“We are hearing many complaints about the high cost of the tolls — especially on the new I-66 express lanes but also I-495 and other toll roads, which is adding to the cost of living of Northern Virginia families,” said Ken Reid, who organized the press conference. “Government must do its part to give the region’s motorists a break.”
A former Loudoun County supervisor, Reid is vying for the State Senate District 37 seat against Saddam Azlan Salim, who won the Democratic primary in June over longtime Sen. Chap Peterson. The district includes Tysons, Vienna, Oakton, Merrifield and the cities of Fairfax and Falls Church.
Other candidates who endorsed the proposed legislation include:
- Mark Springman, competing for Senate District 34 against incumbent Scott Surovell
- Matt Lang, competing for Senate District 38 against Sen. Jennifer Boysko in a district reshaped by redistricting
- Kristin Lee Hoffman, competing for House District 6 against Del. Rip Sullivan
- Maxwell Fisher, competing for House District 8 against incumbent Irene Shin
- Nhan Huynh, competing for House District 9 against incumbent Karrie Delaney
- James Thomas, competing for House District 10 against incumbent Dan Helmer
- Ed McGovern, competing for House District 18 against Del. Kathy Tran
According to a press release from Reid’s campaign, the Tolling Equity and Relief plan would offer rebates to commuters who use the I-66 and/or I-495 Express Lanes more than 30 times a month, similar to a SunPass toll relief program that took effect in Florida this year.
The plan would also reinstate HOV-2 “at certain hours” on both interstates. Drivers were able to use the I-66 Express Lanes for free if they had at least two passengers until last December, when the Virginia Department of Transportation raised the requirement to HOV-3.
Per the press release, the plan would allocate toll revenue to widening I-66 to three lanes in each direction from the Dulles Access Road in Pimmit Hills to the Nash Street tunnel in Rosslyn.
“No funds would go to bike trails or other modes of transit until that project is done,” Reid’s campaign said.
Virginia currently uses I-66 and I-395/95 toll revenue for a Commuter Choice grant program that supports road and public transit improvement projects in those corridors. Recently funded projects include a north entrance for the McLean Metro station and Fairfax City’s first Capital Bikeshare stations. Read More
Virginia State Police are investigating a fatal motorcycle crash that occurred on I-66 in the Oakton area last Saturday (Aug. 19).
At 8:24 p.m., Cody P. Riley, a 36-year-old resident of Owens Cross Roads, Alabama, was headed east in the I-66 Express Lanes “at an excessive rate of speed” when he lost control of his 2018 Yamaha FZ09 motorcycle near Route 123 (Chain Bridge Road), VSP said in a news release today (Thursday).
“[The motorcycle] operator was thrown from the vehicle, which came to rest on the left shoulder of the Express Lanes,” VSP said.
Riley died from his injuries at Inova Fairfax Hospital.
Police say Riley was wearing a helmet. An investigation into the crash is ongoing.
There have been five fatal crashes involving a motorcycle in Fairfax County so far this year, exceeding the four such crashes recorded in 2022 through August, according to Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles data.
An Alexandria man faces multiple felony charges after allegedly shooting at another vehicle on I-66 in what state police are calling a “road rage incident.”
Daniel L. Serrano, 24, “fired several rounds” at a black Honda sedan from the white Honda he was driving on I-66 near Compton Road outside Centreville on Tuesday (Aug. 22), according to the Virginia State Police.
The driver of the black Honda — an adult man — was hit by the gunfire and transported to Inova Fairfax Hospital with injuries considered serious but not life-threatening, police said. There was also an adult woman in the car who didn’t get injured.
“At this stage of the investigation, it appears the adult male driver of a black Honda sedan threw an object at a white Honda sedan while the two vehicles were traveling east on I-66,” VSP said in an update yesterday (Wednesday).
By the time troopers responded to the shooting at 1:08 p.m., both vehicles had pulled off to the side of I-66 near the 50-mile marker, according to police. Troopers found Serrano and a firearm at the scene and arrested him without incident, per the news release.
Currently in custody at the Fairfax County Adult Detention Center, Serrano has been charged with a felony count of malicious wounding and a felony count of shooting into an occupied vehicle.
According to Fairfax County court records, he previously faced property destruction charges for incidents on Feb. 25 and March 1, 2021 that got dropped or dismissed. He was also cited on Feb. 14 of this year for failure to obey a highway lane marking, an infraction that was dismissed yesterday.
After an arraignment yesterday, Serrano is scheduled to get a preliminary hearing on the shooting charges at 2 p.m. on Nov. 6.
One person was hospitalized after a driver shot at their car while they were traveling on I-66 just outside Centreville.
Virginia State Police responded to a call for a shooting on I-66 East near Compton Road at 1:08 p.m., according to the VSP.
“At this stage of the investigation, it has been determined that two Honda sedans were traveling east on I-66 when the driver of the white Honda began shooting at the other Honda,” police said in a news release. “Both vehicles pulled over to the side of the interstate near the 50 mile marker.”
One of two people in the other Honda was hit and taken to a hospital to get treatment of injuries not considered life-threatening.
Police haven’t provided any identifying information yet, but a dispatcher told the responding troopers at 1:10 p.m. that a caller said her husband had been shot in the leg, according to scanner traffic on Open MHz.
A Fairfax County police helicopter was dispatched to the scene, but troopers quickly reported that the suspect had been detained. VSP says the suspect remained at the scene and was taken into custody “without incident.”
As police investigate the incident, the VSP is asking anyone who may have witnessed the shooting or any other interactions between the two vehicles to call 703-803-0026 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Updated at 6:40 p.m. on 8/13/2023 — Fairfax County police have determined that the crash on Route 50 started when the driver of a 2007 Jeep Laredo rear-ended a 2023 Lexus. The driver then hit a Land Rover and a guardrail, drove across the grass median and went airborne, striking a 2009 Ford U-Haul Truck.
The Jeep and U-Haul drivers were hospitalized with injuries initially considered life-threatening, but their condition has since been changed to non-life-threatening.
Police are still investigating whether alcohol, drugs or speed were a factor in the crash.
Updated at 3:30 p.m. — Route 50 has reopened to traffic, according to police.
Earlier: Two people have been taken to the hospital after a
two-vehicle four-vehicle crash at the Route 50 and I-66 interchange near Fair Oaks Mall.
Eastbound Route 50 has been shut down at West Ox Road as officers investigate the crash, according to the Fairfax County Police Department. The eastbound I-66 ramp to eastbound Route 50 and the I-66 West ramp to westbound Route 50 have also been closed.
A Fairfax Alert on the road closure described the crash as “significant.”
The Virginia Department of Transportation advises drivers to expect delays. Its traffic camera system indicates that the east left and right shoulders of Route 50 are closed.
Officers are on scene of a two vehicle crash on Rt. 50 near I-66. I-66 EB ramp to Rt. 50 EB is shutdown for the crash investigation. One patient is being transported with injuries considered to be life-threatening. Expect delays. #FCPD pic.twitter.com/PNsyqL8mTT
— Fairfax County Police (@FairfaxCountyPD) August 11, 2023
According to scanner traffic on OpenMHz, the incident involved two separate crash scenes with a Jeep Grand Cherokee and a U-Haul mini truck found overturned about a quarter-mile apart.
“We have a report of a Jeep Cherokee that flipped over the median with a female occupant still inside the vehicle,” a dispatcher told responders with the Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department at 11:11 a.m.
Per scanner traffic, the Jeep occupant had a broken arm and needed to be extricated.
The person who suffered life-threatening injuries was trapped in the driver’s front seat of the U-Haul. FCFRD responders reported that they had extricated the person around 11:35 a.m.
At least two other vehicles were reportedly involved in the crash, including an SUV that got flipped onto its driver’s side. The dispatcher reported at 11:38 a.m. that they got a call from someone who had pulled off at Route 50 and Waples Mill Road with two people in need of medical attention.
Map via Google Maps
The new Nutley Street interchange at I-66 just south of Vienna is about to achieve its final form.
Lanes that will let drivers going from Nutley to I-66 bypass the dreaded roundabouts are scheduled to open tomorrow (Wednesday), the Virginia Department of Transportation recently announced.
With the added bypass lanes, the interchange will be in its “permanent configuration,” VDOT said.
The area has been under construction since 2019 as part of the Transform 66 Outside the Beltway project, which added 22.5 miles of toll lanes on I-66 from the Capital Beltway in Dunn Loring to Route 29 in Gainesville.
In preparation for the bypass lanes, there have been some lane closures on Nutley Street so crews can finish paving the roadway.
Starting at 9 p.m. today (Tuesday) until 5 a.m. tomorrow, the northbound lanes from Saintsbury Drive to the bridge and the southbound lanes from Virginia Center Blvd to the bridge will be closed.
Northbound drivers will be detoured left onto Saintsbury Drive and then right onto Vaden Drive and Virginia Center Boulevard to get to Nutley, while southbound drivers will be directed along the same route in the opposite direction.
“Drivers should expect delays if traveling in this area and are encouraged to use alternate routes,” VDOT said. “All work is weather dependent and will be rescheduled to the following day should inclement conditions occur.”
Though community members have called the roundabouts “dangerous” and a “mess,” VDOT said the new configuration will provide “safer, more efficient travel” for vehicles entering and exiting I-66, as well as drivers and pedestrians on Nutley.
Compared to straight-on intersections, roundabouts reduce serious crashes by slowing vehicles down and minimizing points of conflict, according to the Federal Highway Administration.
As part of the Transform 66 project, VDOT has also been constructing a shared-use path along I-66, opening the first completed section on May 17. Crossings at the Nutley interchange are slated to open in the middle of this month.
Fairfax Connector is shaking up its service along the I-66 corridor in anticipation of two major parking facilities finishing construction later this year.
The Fairfax County Department of Transportation has proposed adding or revising almost 30 routes in Tysons, Vienna, Springfield, Chantilly and Centreville, as it seeks to incorporate the upcoming Springfield and Monument Drive garages into its bus system.
According to FCDOT, the changes will improve travel throughout the D.C. region, with the Monument Commuter Parking Garage and Transit Center in particular supporting new connections between the eastern and western sides of the county.
“By creating a transfer point at the new Monument Park-and-Ride facility, riders will have the opportunity to transfer between local routes, access regional routes, and connect to the Vienna Metrorail Station, Franconia Metrorail Station, Tysons, or…D.C.,” FCDOT said in a news release.
Shaped by two previous rounds of public engagement, the proposed service plan will be presented today (Monday) at a 7 p.m. community meeting in the Franconia Government Center (6121 Franconia Road). Virtual meetings are also scheduled for 7 p.m. tomorrow (Tuesday) and Thursday (May 25).
The public can also provide input through an online survey until June 5.
The $43 million Monument facility will boast 820 parking spaces, eight bus bays, a pick-up and drop-off area, and bicycle racks and storage. Located at the Government Center Parkway intersection next to Fairfax Corner, it broke ground in November 2021 as part of the I-66 widening.
Other notable changes involving the Monument facility include:
- Route 605: Reston Town Center Metro station to Fair Oaks Mall
- Route 622: Fairfax Towne Center circulator with more local links and new weekend service
- Route 625: New route to Random Hills Road and Pender Drive
- Route 651: New seven-day service to the Westfields, Chantilly, and Fair Ridge areas
- Route 663: Stringfellow Road Park and Ride to the Vienna Metro station
- Route 670: New peak express service between Chantilly and the Franconia-Springfield
- Route 671: New peak service from Chantilly to the Dunn Loring Metro station
The first segment of the Virginia Department of Transportation’s planned shared-use trail along I-66 has been completed.
State and Fairfax County officials will celebrate the milestone today (Wednesday) with a ribbon-cutting ceremony at 11 a.m., followed by an inaugural bicycle ride or walk on the finished section, which starts east of the Vienna Metro station and extends to Cedar Lane near Merrifield.
The segment includes a tunnel under Nutley Street, one of several below-grade crossings planned for the 11-mile, mostly 10-foot-wide trail being built from Gallows Road in Dunn Loring to Route 29 in Centreville.
More portions are expected to be finished later this month, including a crossing at an I-66 entry ramp at the Nutley Street interchange and a segment from Blake Lane to Route 123 in Oakton.
“The 66 Parallel Trail and new bike and pedestrian access across the I-66 bridges supports VDOT’s commitment to providing multimodal travel options to ‘move more people — not just vehicles,'” VDOT said in a statement to FFXnow.
VDOT’s private partner I-66 Express Mobility Partners (I-66 EMP) and construction contractor FAM Construction built the 66 Parallel Trail — a name chosen by a Fairfax County survey — as part of the Transform 66 Outside the Beltway project, which added 22 miles to the I-66 Express Lanes.
Including sidewalks being added on bridge crossings over I-66, the project will deliver 18 miles of new pedestrian and bicycle facilities, according to VDOT.
“The new 66 Trail will significantly improve east-west connectivity for people walking and biking in the corridor that does not exist today,” said former FABB President Sonya Breehey, who’s now the Northern Virginia advocacy manager for the Coalition for Smarter Growth. “The trail opens up the opportunity to walk, bike, roll to the Metro, schools, parks, restaurants, retail, and other places throughout the corridor.”
The design process for the trail was contentious, as cycling advocates pushed to keep it outside the I-66 soundwalls. However, adjacent homeowners objected to giving up part of their backyards, fearing a loss of privacy and green space.
The final design placed approximately three miles directly next to the highway, while about eight miles will be behind a noise barrier or have no noise barrier.
Breehey calls the trail’s placement inside the soundwalls an “unfortunate compromise,” but VDOT mitigated some concerns by elevating some portions above the highway and putting others behind a 50-inch concrete barrier. Read More
The toll lanes on I-66 outside the Capital Beltway have been open for over three months now, but some drivers are still getting tripped up by the accompanying signage.
The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors directed staff on Tuesday (March 7) to prepare a letter asking the Virginia Department of Transportation to clarify the information on its signs about toll prices and exit locations.
“The signage used on these newly opened Express Lanes is not as clear as the signs on I-495 and I-95 Express Lanes,” Herrity said. “The signage does not provide total cost information for the entire length, and it does not give clear information to drivers on locations of exit ramps to general purpose lanes, which is important for drivers deciding whether to pay additional tolls.”
Covering 22.5 miles from the Beltway (I-495) in Dunn Loring to Route 29 in Gainesville, the westward extension of the I-66 Express Lanes became fully operational on Nov. 22, though portions of the overall $3.7 billion project are still under construction.
The signage was developed in accordance with federal guidelines and approved by the Federal Highway Administration, but both VDOT and I-66 Express Mobility Partners (I-66 EMP), the private company that operates the toll lanes, acknowledged that this is “a learning period” as drivers adjust to new signs and traffic patterns.
“We are looking at areas in the corridor where we might enhance or clarify the signage in an effort to help drivers,” VDOT Northern Virginia’s megaprojects section said in a statement.
Because of their length, the new lanes are split up into three eastbound segments and four westbound segments, charging drivers for each segment they take. Signs for the lanes currently show only toll prices for specific sections, rather than the whole corridor.
Nancy Smith, the corporate affairs director for I-66 EMP, says the operator is “aware” that this approach “may present particular confusion” at spots like the I-495 interchange that are complicated to navigate, but it’s ultimately more effective.
“This system provides our drivers with the most accurate rates as well as greater flexibility to determine when to get on and off the lanes,” Smith said. “An end-to-end rate wouldn’t accurately reflect conditions in the furthest segment by the time a driver gets there. Again, it will take time for all drivers to completely familiarize themselves with our segmental tolling system.”
According to I-66 EMP, the average weekly toll lanes usage increased from about 3% to 5% of I-66 users over the past month, suggesting drivers becoming more accustomed to the lanes.
“That’s a very encouraging growth trend,” Smith said.
I-66 EMP has an online trip planning tool that provides toll estimates. Its customer service center at 1-833-643-2867 will also answer questions, Smith said.
Despite his concerns about the signage, Herrity called the I-66 Express Lanes project an “impressive feat” that provides new transportation choices and “a quicker commute due to the additional capacity from the toll lanes.”
“I thought a letter from the board might help VDOT encourage the contractor to get that signage done,” Herrity said.