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The George Washington Memorial Parkway in McLean (via Google Maps)

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.

As if one major road project isn’t enough, drivers in McLean have also been contending with shifting traffic patterns while the Virginia Department of Transportation widens I-495.

The NPS says it expects the parkway rehab to be completed in late 2025.

Photo via Google Maps

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Fairfax County police car lights flashing (file photo)

(Updated at 10:15 a.m. on 9/2/2022) Fairfax County police have arrested four people after chasing a vehicle on Route 1 that was allegedly stolen.

The north left shoulder, left lane, and center lane of Route 1 (also known as Richmond Highway) were closed today (Thursday) at the Fort Hunt Road intersection in Belle Haven, just south of the Capital Beltway, according to the Virginia Department of Transportation’s traffic information site.

According to the county police department, an officer spotted a vehicle going north on Route 1 that had been reported stolen in a Prince George’s County carjacking. When the officer attempted a traffic stop near Fort Hunt Road, the “car did not stop and continued to drive away,” a spokesperson said.

The resulting pursuit ended in the Huntington Avenue area when the officer deployed a Precision Immobilization Technique, a manuever for stopping high-speed vehicles that the FCPD pioneered but has been criticized as risky.

The move prompted the car to roll over into southbound Route 1 traffic, police told FFXnow.

Four occupants of the vehicle were taken into custody and transported to a hospital with injuries not considered life-threatening, according to police. No officers were injured.

The FCPD is advising community members to avoid the area.

The department will identify those arrested — all of them adults — and announce charges tomorrow (Friday).

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The ramp from northbound Hunter Mill Road to Dulles Toll Road East (via Google Maps)

Updated at 7 p.m. — Hunter Mill Road has fully reopened after this afternoon’s crash, per Fairfax Alerts.

Earlier: Northbound Hunter Mill Road has been closed at the Dulles Toll Road in the Reston/Wolf Trap area after two vehicles collided this afternoon (Wednesday).

A driver told FFXnow shortly after 3 p.m. that there had been an “accident” on the eastbound ramp to the toll road, and they saw fire trucks and ambulances in the area.

The Fairfax County Police Department confirmed that it has officers on the scene of a two-vehicle crash “involving a dump truck that flipped over” near Hunter Mill the toll road, also known as Route 267.

“No injuries were reported,” the FCPD said. “…Drivers are asked to use an alternative route as they work to clear the road.”

As of 4:09 p.m., all northbound lanes remain closed, with congestion building around the toll road, according to the Virginia Department of Transportation’s traffic information map.

Police said they currently don’t have an estimate for how long the closure will last.

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Morning Notes

Looking up at Tysons Tower outside Tysons Corner Center (staff photo by Angela Woolsey)

Route 7 Traffic Shift Starts Today — “During the daytime hours on Aug. 11 and the overnight hours on Aug. 15, lane closures and temporary detours will be in place along Route 7 while crews continue paving operations at Carpers Farm Way and Colvin Run Road (east) and shift westbound Route 7 traffic to the new Difficult Run bridge.” [VDOT]

Pro-Nazi Social Media Posts Excluded from Reston Murder Trial — “A Virginia judge has ruled that prosecutors cannot tell the jury in an upcoming double-murder trial about the defendant’s social media posts containing praise for Adolf Hitler and support for Nazi book burnings and the neo-Nazi Atomwaffen Division, according to newly unsealed court records.” [The Washington Post]

Foust on Upcoming Retirement — “Deciding to step down in 2023 was not easy, but Supervisor John Foust (D-Dranesville) is ready to try some new challenges…He plans to stay involved on issues he cares about – such as affordable housing, economic development and climate change — and seek part-time consulting opportunities that ‘take advantage of the expertise that I’ve developed over the years.'” [Sun Gazette]

Salt Water Levels Rising in Region — “Once algae-pocked emblems of water pollution during the early 1970s, the Potomac River and the Occoquan Reservoir — the two sources of drinking water used by Fairfax Water to serve more than 2 million customers in Northern Virginia — are now trending in the wrong direction on salt, while the other contaminants have largely been cleaned up.” [The Washington Post]

Lorton Plant Gets Tech to Reduce Emissions — “Covanta, the company that runs the facilities, announced the installation of the pollution-fighting technology in a news release earlier this week, saying it has helped cut nitrogen oxide emissions by nearly 50%…The Fairfax County facility is located at its I-95 waste management complex in Lorton, and is one of the largest waste-to-energy facilities in the nation, according to the county.” [WTOP]

Report Grades Stream From Lake Barcroft — “Holmes Run, which flows through the Annandale area, is not in great condition, according to a report released Aug. 10 by the Audubon Naturalist Society…The report gives Holmes Run a grade of ‘moderately poor’ for climate, a rating of ‘good’ for access to nature, and ‘fair’ ratings for water quality and for biodiversity and habitat.” [Annandale Today]

California Firm Buys Local Defense Office Buildings — “The properties include six buildings at five locations in Fairfax County, Fairfax City and Loudoun County. They’re 96% leased to the likes of Lockheed Martin Corp. (NYSE: LMT), General Dynamics Corp. (NYSE: GD), The Boeing Co. (NYSE: BA) and Northrop Grumman Corp. (NYSE: NOC).” [Washington Business Journal]

Reston Turns Out for Trucks — “Thank you to all the families that came out for this year’s Totally Trucks event! For the past 22 years, Totally Trucks has delighted kids and adults alike, and this year was no different with more than 1000 people in attendance.” [Reston Association/Twitter]

Local Breweries Win Awards — “Vienna and Merrifield’s Caboose Brewing Company and Sweetwater Tavern scored several awards in the 2022 Virginia Craft Beer Cup, announced by the Virginia Craft Brewers Guild Monday. The Virginia Craft Beer Cup is the largest state competition of its kind in the U.S.” [Patch]

It’s Thursday — Possible drizzle in the morning. High of 85 and low of 73. Sunrise at 6:20 am and sunset at 8:10 pm. [Weather.gov]

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Morning Notes

Ping pong games are underway at the Mosaic District (staff photo by Angela Woolsey)

GW Parkway Rehab Prompts Closures — “Rolling single-lane closures are coming to a busy portion of George Washington Memorial Parkway starting today (August 1) and continuing through Friday (August 5). Impacted will be the seven-mile segment of the GW Parkway between Spout Run Parkway in Arlington and the I-495 interchange in McLean.” [ARLnow]

Wolf Trap Road Closed for Route 7 Project — “Starting on or about Aug. 2 and continuing until Aug. 19, Trap Road will be closed at Route 7 while crews continue to build the improvements in this area. Drivers will use Towlston Road for access between Trap Road and Route 7. All residences, businesses and other public facilities will remain accessible.” [VDOT]

Patrick Henry Housing Project Advances — “The Fairfax County Planning Commission on July 27 endorsed a proposal to replace the Patrick Henry emergency family shelter in Seven Corners with a new building providing permanent supportive housing. The new four-story facility, called Patrick Henry Place, will have 16 units.” [Annandale Today]

FCPS Mostly Staffed But Still Hiring — Fairfax County Public Schools will interview candidates for teacher and counselor positions both in person and virtually on Thursday (Aug. 4). Superintendent Michelle Reid said last week that classrooms are 97% staffed, and there are “plans in place to address the remaining vacancies” before the new school year starts Aug. 22. [FCPS/Twitter, WTOP]

County Gets Money from Opioid Settlement — “Attorney General Jason Miyares (R) announced July 29 that payments were heading out to Virginia’s 133 counties and cities as the first installment of the settlement with McKesson, AmerisourceBergen and Cardinal Health…Fairfax County — the commonwealth’s largest jurisdiction by population — is entitled to 8.672 percent of the latter total, or $352,630.” [Sun Gazette]

Clifton Restaurant Prepares for Reopening — “Nearly three years ago, the decade-old, highly acclaimed restaurant Trummer’s on Main completed a major renovation and menu overhaul to reopen as an American bistro, hoping to pivot from its reputation as a special-occasion spot to something more approachable…Fast forward two-and-a-half years and Trummer’s is completing what it set out to do, led by a new executive chef, Zack Ridenhour” [Northern Virginia Magazine]

Herndon IT Company Looks to Grow — “Fairfax County is the ideal location for Herndon-based IT solutions provider Iron Bow Technologies’ new 35,600-square foot headquarters, said Rene LaVigne, president and CEO of Iron Bow… ‘We’ve recently relocated to new offices in February to accommodate our employees in this new era of hybrid work,’ said LaVigne.” [Fairfax County EDA]

Discount on Bicycle Storage Available — Fairfax County is currently offering a 50% discount on memberships for its secure bicycle lockers, which can be found at the Wiehle-Reston and Herndon Metro station as well as the Stringfellow Park and Ride. Anyone interested can use the code FFX50 to get the discount. [FCDOT]

Vienna Youth Players Musical Sells Out — “All remaining shows for ‘Shrek The Musical’ are officially sold out. There are no more tickets available for purchase online or in person on show night. Thank you, Vienna, for supporting the arts and for supporting all those who help make shows like this possible!” [Town of Vienna/Twitter]

It’s Tuesday — Humid throughout the day. High of 89 and low of 75. Sunrise at 6:12 am and sunset at 8:20 pm. [Weather.gov]

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(Updated at 5 p.m.) A tractor-trailer caught fire on I-495 this afternoon (Wednesday), shutting down all southbound lanes at the Route 50 interchange in Merrifield.

The fire appears to have sparked right as the afternoon rush hour was getting underway. The Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department reported at 4:16 p.m. that it has units on the scene working to extinguish the fire.

“Currently no clue as to how long the entire roadway will be closed,” a fire department spokesperson told FFXnow.

There have been no reported injuries resulting from the fire, according to FCFRD, which notes that the express lanes are open.

The Virginia Department of Transportation advises that drivers find an alternate route. VDOT traffic cameras suggest vehicles backups on the Beltway extend past Tysons to the Lewinsville Road bridge.

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The existing Georgetown Pike Bridge over I-495 (via Google Maps)

Construction on the I-495 Express Lanes expansion in McLean is about to get a little more intense.

Work to demolish the existing Georgetown Pike Bridge over I-495 — also known as the Capital Beltway — will begin this week, potentially even today (Tuesday), the Virginia Department of Transportation announced Friday (June 17).

Contracted for the 495 NEXT project to extend the Beltway’s toll lanes from Tysons to the George Washington Memorial Parkway, workers will start by demolishing the median in the center of the Georgetown Pike bridge and installing a temporary traffic barrier on the westbound shoulder, according to the news release.

“Temporary traffic signals will be installed to enable the removal of the existing signals,” VDOT said. “East- and westbound traffic on Georgetown Pike will then be shifted south on the existing bridge.”

The changes are necessary for crews to take down the northern part of the bridge, a process expected to start in mid-July and take approximately three weeks to complete, depending on the weather and other factors.

The Georgetown Pike bridge’s center median will be demolished, prompting changes to the lane configuration (via VDOT)

Here is more from VDOT on what to expect:

Specialized equipment will be used to demolish the bridge, including excavators fitted with hammers, saws and hydraulic jaws. While every effort will be made to control noise, some demolition is unavoidably noisy and must be performed during nighttime hours when Beltway traffic below the bridge is lightest and necessary lane closures can occur.

Overnight triple- and double-lane closures on the Beltway and periodic stoppages of all lanes for brief intervals will be necessary to ensure the work is performed safely. Virginia State Police will implement periodic shutdowns of all lanes for up to 30 minutes. Traffic will be cleared before subsequent shutdowns take place.

Periodic lane closures will occur throughout construction during midday and overnight hours.

“Travelers approaching the Georgetown Pike Bridge should use caution, pay attention to roadway signs approaching and in the work zone, and anticipate delays and plan their trips accordingly,” VDOT said.

The bridge will be replaced by a longer, six-lane-wide span to accommodate the Beltway, which is getting two new lanes in each direction. The revamped bridge will also have a six-foot-wide sidewalk and a trail link to Scotts Run Nature Preserve, according to updated plans shared earlier this month.

VDOT has spent months slowly ramping up work on 495 NEXT, starting preliminary activities late last year before breaking ground in March. Construction in the corridor began in earnest at the beginning of June with the permanent closure of the interstate’s northbound left-shoulder lane between Old Dominion Drive and the GW Parkway.

While VDOT says the project will provide much-needed congestion relief, it has faced resistance from some residents and elected officials, most recently over plans to task Maryland with some construction work tying the new toll lanes into the new American Legion Bridge that it’s supposed to build.

Maryland transportation officials released a final environmental study for proposed express lanes on their side of the Beltway on Friday, reporting that changes to the design will reduce the project’s anticipated impact on land, streams, and trees.

Photo via Google Maps

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Morning Notes

Relaxing in the sun at Reston Town Center (staff photo by Jay Westcott)

Annandale Subway Vandalized — “A rowdy group of youths vandalized the Subway on Heritage Drive in Annandale at about 10:15 a.m. this morning [Thursday]…It will cost $2,000 or $3,000 to fix the window, [owner Emil] Ranakusuma says. He plans to file an insurance claim.” [Annandale Today]

General Assembly Dumps Football Stadium Bill — “The state legislator who has led the charge to lure the Washington Commanders to Virginia gave up the fight Thursday…State Senate Majority Leader Richard L. Saslaw (D-Fairfax) said comments that Commanders defensive coordinator Jack Del Rio made this week about the Jan. 6 insurrection were the last straw for the stadium bill.” [The Washington Post]

Tysons Financial Company to Expand HQ — “Nodal Exchange, a Fairfax County-based derivatives exchange providing price, credit, and liquidity risk management solutions to participants in the North American commodities markets, will increase capacity at its headquarters located at 1921 Gallows Road in Tysons. The expansion will create 37 new jobs.” [Fairfax County EDA]

I-66 West Ramp to Close — “The ramp from I-66 West to Vienna/Fairfax/GMU Metrorail Station (Country Creek Road and Virginia Center Boulevard) is scheduled to close for about three weeks beginning on or about Monday, June 13, for continued construction of the new westbound I-66 express and general-purpose lanes…Drivers will be detoured around the closure via Route 123 (Chain Bridge Road) and I-66 East.” [VDOT]

Flooring Store Opens in Tysons — “Floor & Décor, an Atlanta-based retailer of hard-surface flooring, has…signed a 10-year, 11,327-square-foot lease at the Tysons Corner Retail Plaza, a three-building, 22,000-square-foot retail center, and has already opened for business.” [Commercial Observer]

Vienna Approves Covid Relief Funds for Police Cameras — “The Vienna Town Council on June 6 unanimously approved the spending of $128,600 in American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds to replace and upgrade in-car video systems for Vienna Police Department patrol vehicles.” [Sun Gazette]

Friends of Reston Library Officially Makes Donation — “We love our library branches in Fairfax County, but Reston is especially dedicated to the Reston Regional Library! I was honored to join in the celebration last night (6/9) of the Friends of Reston Regional Library donating $200,000 to the library for its book collection.” [Supervisor Walter Alcorn/Facebook]

FCPS Appoints New Ombudsman — Fairfax County Public Schools has named Dawn Clements as its next ombudsman, effective July 1. Currently the assistant ombudsman for special education, Clements will lead the office responsible for addressing student, family, and community questions and complaints. [FCPS]

It’s Friday — Possible drizzle overnight. High of 77 and low of 60. Sunrise at 5:45 am and sunset at 8:35 pm. [Weather.gov]

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Morning Notes

Verizon truck drives through water while turning from Baron Cameron Avenue to Reston Parkway after rain (photo by Ed Schudel)

Fairfax County Rescue Dog Dies — “We regret to announce the passing of #canine Phayu after a long illness. An 8-year veteran, he deployed worldwide including to quakes in Haiti & Nepal, and hurricanes in the Bahamas & USA. We thank Phayu for his service and extend condolences to his family and our #K9 section.” [Fairfax County Urban Search and Rescue Team/Twitter]

County Firefighters Deliver Free Shoes to Kids — “The Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department along with Firefighters and Friends to the Rescue on Thursday gave away more than 300 pairs of new shoes to children and families in need. The giveaways were held at Gum Springs and Lee District community centers in Alexandria.” [ABC7]

Route 28 Lanes Closed for Skewed Sign — A Route 28 sign for the Willard Road exit in Chantilly got knocked out of place during the morning rush hour yesterday (Thursday). Crews had to block off two southbound lanes for almost five hours while they addressed the situation, which required a removal of the sign pole. [VDOT/Twitter]

Free School Meals to End This Fall — “For the past two years, the federal government has provided no-cost meals to all public school students without the need to complete the annual Free and Reduced-Price Meal application. The extension of the no-cost meals benefit to all students is expected to expire at the end of this school year, meaning families must submit an application and be approved to be eligible for free and reduced price meals for the 2022-23 school year.” [FCPS]

McLean Rec Center to Close Tomorrow — “Spring Hill Rec Center will close June 4 through 7 to address electrical maintenance issues. This project was planned for August but has been moved up to ensure continuous site operation and safety.” [Supervisor John Foust/Twitter]

Herndon Man Charged With Assault — A 43-year-old man faces aggravated assault and burglary charges after Herndon police say he allegedly “entered a home in the 600 block of Center Street without permission on May 23 and assaulted one of it occupants.” The man is currently being held without bond at the Fairfax County Adult Detention Center. [Patch]

Asian Fusion Eatery Joins Tysons Biergarten — “RollBär, an Asian fusion restaurant, opens TODAY at @shipgarten! Shipgarten, a new pop-up located at the future site of Scotts Run’s ‘Taylor’ block, launched last Thursday with the reopening of #TysonsBiergarten.” [Tysons Partnership/Twitter]

The St. James Plans Maryland Expansion — After unveiling a performance club at Reston Town Center in April, the Springfield-based sports complex announced yesterday (Thursday) that it will bring a similar facility to downtown Bethesda this winter. The new club will be smaller than The St. James’ flagship site, which is the largest athletic facility in the region, but it will include a Vim & Victor Café. [Washingtonian]

Charcoal Chicken Restaurant Coming to West Falls Church — “Super Pollo Charcoal Chicken is moving into the spot vacated by DC Steakholders at 6641 Arlington Blvd…Juan Carlos Hernandez, manager of the Barcroft Plaza Super Pollo expects the new place will open in two to three months.” [Annandale Today]

It’s Friday — Mostly cloudy throughout the day. High of 75 and low of 63. Sunrise at 5:46 am and sunset at 8:31 pm. [Weather.gov]

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The current end of the I-495 North Express Lanes in Tysons (staff photo by Jay Westcott)

A lane closure is coming for I-495 in McLean, the first of what will likely be many similar changes to the roadway over the next few years.

The left-shoulder lane on northbound I-495, also known as the Capital Beltway, will close permanently between Old Dominion Drive and the George Washington Memorial Parkway interchange as soon as next Tuesday (May 31), the Virginia Department of Transportation announced yesterday (Wednesday).

Typically open during peak travel periods from where the existing I-495 Express Lanes end near the Dulles Toll Road in Tysons to the GW Parkway, the lane will be shut down to make room for construction on the 495 NEXT project, which will extend the express lanes 2.5 miles toward the American Legion Bridge north of McLean.

“The closure of this shoulder lane is necessary to make space in the center of the Beltway for construction of new bridges that will span the wider, future Beltway at Old Dominion Drive, Georgetown Pike and Live Oak Drive,” VDOT said in a news release.

Officials broke ground on the $660 million project in March, but on-site work so far has consisted only of soil collections, surveying, and other preliminary activities.

Gov. Glenn Youngkin announced at the groundbreaking that full construction work will start this summer, even though no news has come out of Maryland on its Beltway toll lanes project. Fairfax County officials have argued that toll lanes on the other side of the Potomac River are necessary for 495 NEXT to relieve traffic congestion as promised.

The I-495 North left-shoulder lane will soon be permanently closed, requiring a new traffic pattern (via VDOT)

The upcoming lane closure in I-495 North will be accompanied by some other changes as well, VDOT says:

  • Closing the southbound center shoulder
  • Restriping and realigning the general purpose lanes to create additional space in the center of I-495
  • Placing temporary barriers to secure the center work zone for the safety of drivers and workers.

“Periodic lane closures are required to complete this work, but will be scheduled during non-peak travel hours,” VDOT said. “Travelers approaching the construction area should anticipate delays and plan accordingly.”

The department says it will update the public on traffic changes throughout construction with roadway signs, news releases, social media posts, emails, and “outreach to directly-affected stakeholders.”

VDOT, Express Lanes operator Transurban, and contractor Lane Construction will soon hold the first public meetings on the project since late September. There will be an in-person meeting at Langley High School from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. on June 6, followed by a virtual one during the same time frame on June 7.

According to the project page, the meetings will provide updates on coming construction activities, including an initial timeline, as well as changes to the design and efforts to coordinate with the Maryland toll lanes project and the National Park Service’s plan to rehabilitate the GW Parkway.

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