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Route 7 has a new eastbound lane between Reston Avenue and Riva Ridge Drive (via VDOT)

Drivers headed east on Route 7 in Reston can now get a small taste of what the road will be like once it’s fully widened.

A third eastbound travel lane opened along a 2-mile stretch of Route 7 (also known as Leesburg Pike) from Reston Avenue to Riva Ridge Drive on Friday (Sept. 30), the Virginia Department of Transportation announced.

A third westbound lane will open in the same area during the week of Oct. 10, VDOT says, noting that both lanes are arriving “ahead of schedule.”

This is the first segment of new lanes to be finished since construction began over three years ago on the project, which is expanding a 7-mile section of the corridor from four to six lanes between Reston and Tysons.

The $313.9 million project is also adding shared-use paths on both sides of Route 7, replacing the Difficult Run bridge, reconfiguring the Lewinsville Road intersection, and building a new pedestrian underpass at Colvin Run.

Work on the median and noise barriers between Reston Avenue and Riva Ridge will continue until mid-2024, when the full project is scheduled to be complete, according to VDOT’s project page.

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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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Construction is underway to replace the aging bridge (Photo via VDOT).

Construction is ramping up today (Sept. 14) on the $5.2 million project to replace the one-lane Hunter Mill Road bridge that runs over Colvin Run near Vienna.

A new two-lane bridge where Hunter Mill crosses Colvin Run right near the border of Reston and Vienna is set to replace the nearly five-decade-old, weight-restricted one-lane bridge currently there.

While construction began a year ago, this week marks the beginning of using temporary traffic signals and Driveway Assistance Devices (DADs) in the vicinity of the bridge to allow crews to complete construction on the new bridge. Those will be in place until the new two-lane bridge reopens to traffic in the spring of 2023.

The existing bridge was built in 1974 and is being replaced both because it’s in need of major repairs and to help with traffic, per Mike Murphy with the Virginia Department of Transportation.

“The new bridge will have two lanes, thereby improving traffic flow as traffic in one direction will no longer have to yield to the other when crossing the bridge,” Murphy told FFXnow.

That section of Hunter Mill Road averages about 7,400 vehicles per day.

Beyond a new bridge, there will also be a landscaped median/splitter island and abutments for a new trail bridge over Colvin Run. Fairfax County is responsible for the trail bridge and it’s expected to be built in the future.

The project is costing $5.2 million in total, including $1 million for engineering and $4.2 million for construction. Funding is a mix of federal, state, and county funds with the state contributing about $3.3 million from its State of Good Repair program and the county about $400,00 to the project, per Murphy.

The full VDOT press release on the use of temporary traffic signals and DADs:

Temporary traffic signals on Hunter Mill Road (Route 674) will be activated just north and south of Colvin Run around noon Wednesday, Sept. 14 as part of the Hunter Mill Road over Colvin Run bridge project, according to the Virginia Department of Transportation.

The transition points from two lanes to one on Hunter Mill Road will be moved further away from the bridge. For traffic coming from the Dulles Toll Road (Route 267), the transition to one lane will occur before the Lake Fairfax Park Maintenance entrance; for traffic coming from Baron Cameron Avenue (Route 606), the transition to one lane will occur before the residential access road located just north of the bridge. Relocating the transition points will allow the second lane of Hunter Mill Road to be constructed along and adjacent to the bridge.

Also, three Driveway Assistance Devices (DADs) will be installed: one at the Lake Fairfax Park Maintenance entrance, one at the residential access road just south of the bridge (opposite the maintenance entrance) and one at the residential access road just north of the bridge. The DADs will allow drivers turning onto Hunter Mill Road to see which direction traffic is moving between the two temporary traffic signals.

The temporary signals and DADs, which will efficiently manage the one lane of alternating traffic in each direction on Hunter Mill Road and traffic from the side entrances, will be in place until spring 2023.

The traffic pattern changes are part of the project replacing the weight-restricted (10 tons) one-lane Hunter Mill Road bridge over Colvin Run. The bridge was originally built in 1974. The new bridge will have two lanes separated by a median/splitter island. The project also includes an improved trail crossing south of the bridge, landscaping in the median/splitter island and abutments for a new trail bridge over Colvin Run (Fairfax County will construct the trail bridge at a future date). The project is scheduled for completion in spring 2023.

Visit the VDOT project page for more details.

Drivers, cyclists and pedestrians are reminded to use caution when traveling in active work zones. Be alert to new traffic patterns and limit distractions.

You can get real-time traffic, work zone and incident information online at 511virginia.org, via the free mobile 511Virginia app, or by calling 511 in Virginia anywhere anytime.

View this release online.

Follow VDOT Northern Virginia on Twitter: @vadotnova

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The I-66 Express Lanes connecting Route 29 in Gainsville to Route 28 in Centreville are set to open this weekend, ahead of schedule.

The Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) made the announcement Friday (Sept. 2), touting that the opening of the western part of its highway widening project will help congestion on I-66 “sooner than originally planned.”

“We are pleased to join our 66 Express Lanes project partners in opening the first segment of one of Virginia’s largest megaprojects ahead of schedule,” VDOT Commissioner Stephen Brich said in the press release. “By opening the western segment of the new 66 Express Lanes early, we are able to start delivering congestion relief to I-66 travelers sooner than originally planned.”

The 9-mile stretch of road opening this weekend connects the Route 28 interchange in Centreville to Prince William County. Officials said opening that section now will help motorists get used to the new traffic patterns before the rest of the lanes open later this year.

Extending to the Capital Beltway interchange in Dunn Loring, the remaining 13 miles of express lanes are scheduled to open by December.

“This is an important step in opening the new 66 Express Lanes, allowing customers to begin to experience the benefits that the new managed lanes and project enhancements will provide, and helping to ensure a great customer experience when the full corridor opens at the end of the year,” Javier Guiterrez, CEO for the private contractor I-66 Express Mobility Partners, said.

Overall, the nearly-complete $3.7 billion project mostly centered in Fairfax County will bring widened roads with toll lanes and potentially make room for mass transit projects, while also rebuilding a number of bridges spanning the highway.

There will also be 11 miles of shared-use trails between Fairfax and Prince William counties.

Work began in late 2017 and is expected to finish in mid-2023, though the remaining express lanes will open to traffic a few months prior to that.

I-66 will still have three general traffic, toll-free lanes in the eastbound and westbound directions. The project is adding two high-occupancy toll (HOT) lanes in each direction.

Buses, carpoolers, and motorcyclists will be able to use those lanes for free, while all other motorists will pay a toll based on real-time traffic conditions. The lanes expand the 10 miles of toll lanes between the Beltway and D.C. that opened in 2017.

The project also includes the construction of dedicated on- and off-ramps at Route 234/Sudley Road, Route 28, and Braddock and Walney Roads. Drivers will be able to access the Express Lanes from several general-purpose lanes, including near Route 28.

The I-66 Express Lanes construction is a result of a public-private partnership between VDOT and I-66 Express Mobility Partners, which will maintain and operate the HOT lanes under the 50-year agreement.

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Detours and lane shifts are planned as the Route 7/Baron Cameron Avenue intersection is reconstructed (via VDOT)

While orange traffic cones are a familiar sight as the widening of Route 7 continues, more changes are afoot at the Baron Cameron Avenue intersection in Reston.

Night work on the project began last night, resulting in detours and changing traffic patterns on eastbound and westbound Route 7, Baron Cameron Avenue and Springvale Road. Detours are planned at night between 10 p.m. and 5 a.m. through Thursday (Sept. 1).

Beginning around Tuesday, Sept. 6, more detours and lane shifts are planned during the same hours, as crews reconfigure the intersection to shift traffic to the north.

All homes, businesses and public facilities will remain accessible.

Here’s more from the Virginia Department of Transportation on signage and changes:

Monday, Aug. 29 – Thursday, Sept. 1, 10 p.m. to 5 a.m.

  • The median crossover at Route 7 and Baron Cameron Avenue will be closed.
  • Drivers on westbound Route 7 to Baron Cameron Avenue will proceed to Bishopsgate Way, U-turn to eastbound Route 7, and turn right onto Baron Cameron Avenue.
  • Drivers on Springvale Road to Baron Cameron Avenue will turn right onto westbound Route 7, U-turn at Bishopsgate Way to eastbound Route 7, and turn right onto Baron Cameron Avenue.
  • Drivers on eastbound Route 7 to Springvale Road will proceed to Delta Glen Court, U-turn to westbound Route 7, and turn right onto Springvale Road.
  • Drivers on Baron Cameron Avenue to Springvale Road will turn right onto eastbound Route 7, U-turn at Delta Glen Court, proceed on westbound Route 7 and turn right onto Springvale Road.

On or about Tuesday, Sept. 6, 10 p.m. to 5 a.m.

  • Drivers will follow the detour routes above and will experience lane shifts on eastbound and westbound Route 7 while crews shift traffic to the north.

Following the traffic shift and continuing through late 2022:

  • Drivers on eastbound Route 7 will use a temporary displaced right-turn lane to access Baron Cameron Avenue.
  • Access from eastbound Route 7 to the Sunoco Service Center and Three Cees Car Wash will be maintained. To return to Route 7, drivers exiting the businesses will turn right onto Baron Cameron Avenue and U-turn at Hunter Gate Way/Hunter Mill Road.

The project is part of VDOT’s effort to widen almost seven miles of Route 7 from Reston Avenue to Jarrett Valley Drive. The project would widen the road from four to six lanes, add paths and update many of the intersections along the route. Overall, the project is on track for a July 2024 finish.

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Drivers to and from eastbound Route 7 at the Lewinsville Road intersection will be detoured this weekend (via VDOT)

By this time next week, the intersection of Route 7 and Lewinsville Road in the Wolf Trap area will have a whole new look, but drivers must endure some inconveniences before the result of the makeover is revealed.

The median that currently facilitates traffic between eastbound Route 7 and Lewinsville will close at 7 p.m. on Friday (Aug. 26), requiring drivers to take an extended detour through Tysons, the Virginia Department of Transportation says.

Signs will be erected to guide drivers through the detour, which will go from Route 7 to Westpark Drive with a northward turn onto International Drive and Spring Hill Road.

“All residences, businesses and other public facilities will remain accessible via the signed detour route,” VDOT said in the news release.

The new Lewinsville Road will open to westbound Route 7 drivers, who can turn right at the McLean Bible Church intersection.

The detour will remain in place through 5 a.m. on Monday (Aug. 29), but the median will reopen to some movements at 6 a.m. Sunday (Aug. 28):

  • Drivers on LewinsvilleRoad/Brook Road will be able to turn left onto eastbound Route 7, turn right onto westbound Route 7, and go straight across to McLean Bible Church at the old Lewinsville Road intersection.
  • Drivers from McLean Bible Church at the old Lewinsville Road intersection will be able to turn left onto westbound Route 7, turn right onto eastbound Route 7, and go straight across the intersection to Lewinsville Road/Brook Road.
  • Drivers from McLean Bible Church at the new Lewinsville Road intersection will be able to turn right onto eastbound Route 7.
  • Drivers on westbound Route 7 will be able to turn left into McLean Bible Church at the old Lewinsville Road intersection.

When the new intersection fully opens at 5 a.m. on Monday, there will be a new, displaced left-turn lane for eastbound Route 7 drivers to access Lewinsville and Brook Road. The service road in front of McLean Bible Church will permanently close.

The new Lewinsville Road and Route 7 intersection (via VDOT)

The intersection was previously expected to open in the spring as part of the ongoing project to widen Route 7 from four to six lanes between Reston Avenue and Jarrett Valley Drive.

The intersection’s permanent configuration is scheduled to be completed on Oct. 25, with the overall Route 7 project on track for a July 31, 2024 finish.

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A new ramp from I-495 North to I-66 West is scheduled to open on Aug. 25 (via VDOT)

After enduring roughly four years of construction, drivers will soon get access to the first piece of the revamped I-66 and Capital Beltway interchange in Dunn Loring.

A new flyover exit ramp from the northbound Beltway, also known as I-495, to I-66 West is set to open next Thursday (Aug. 25) morning, the Virginia Department of Transportation announced on Wednesday (Aug. 17).

According to VDOT, the ramp will open ahead of schedule, and as the first ramp in the interchange to be completed, next week’s opening will represent a milestone for the I-495 portion of the massive project to add toll lanes on I-66 outside the Beltway.

The ramp is located a half-mile south of the old exit ramp, which “will close to allow construction of new ramp connections at the I-66/I-495 interchange,” VDOT says.

“Drivers should stay alert for this new travel change and use caution when traveling in this area,” VDOT said.

With the reconfigured interchange, drivers will be able to get to and from the I-495 Express Lanes to the new I-66 Express Lanes and switch between express and general-purpose lanes. The ramp from I-495 North to I-66 East will stay in the same place.

The new I-66 toll lanes, which will extend 22.5 miles west into Gainesville, are on track to begin operations in December.

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Accotink Creek bridge along Alban Road in Springfield ( via Google Maps)

The seven-decade-old Accotink Creek Bridge along Alban Road in Springfield will be closed to traffic starting Saturday (Aug. 13) to undergo “urgent” repairs. The shutdown is expected to last about five weeks, until late September.

With the bridge crossing shuttered, traffic will be detoured to go around to bridge. That means vehicles will be directed to take Alban Road to Rolling Road to Fullerton Road (Route 4502) to Boudinot Drive and back to Alban Road.

Alban Road detour starting Aug. 13 (via Virginia Department of Transportation)

The work will affect 13 Fairfax Connector bus stops. Service will be consolidated into four temporary, alternative stops along the route.

The 77-foot bridge in Springfield near I-95 was first built in 1950 and last underwent repairs more than 30 years ago. An average of about 10,700 vehicles drove over it a day, per the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT).

The concrete supporting the bridge is deteriorating and in need of “urgent” repairs, with “severe cracking” and “exposed/corroding reinforced steel” being major issues, according to a VDOT presentation.

Repairs will include removing and replacing old concrete with reinforcing steel as well as new concrete.

The bridge and that section of Alban Road are expected to reopen to traffic in late September. The rest of the project, which won’t require road closures, will be completed later in the fall.

VDOT hasn’t yet provided an estimated cost for the project, which is being financed by the state.

Photo via Google Maps

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Richmond Highway (via Fairfax County)

A project to underground Richmond Highway utilities may be buried due to cost, construction delays, and the risk it poses to federal funding for other projects happening along the corridor.

The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors weighed the pros and cons of undergrounding utilities along the highway, also known as Route 1, at an economic initiatives committee meeting on Tuesday (July 26).

Undergrounding utilities is a fairly common (and supported) practice, but the Route 1 proposal is complicated by two other major infrastructure projects in the corridor: the highway widening and the build-out of a bus rapid transit (BRT) service.

While the board didn’t take any definitive action on Tuesday, it was clear that a number of committee members, including Chairman Jeff McKay, were leaning towards scrapping the project altogether.

“It feels a little bit like ‘why wouldn’t we do it?’ if you just look at it on the surface, but as we dug into it today quite a bit…it makes it a little bit clearer how unclear it is,” Providence District Supervisor Dalia Palchik said.

In a presentation, staff said the county would be solely responsible for financing any undergrounding, with no assistance from the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) or the Federal Transit Authority (FTA).

Undergrounding utilities could also result in a two-year delay for the Route 1 widening and BRT projects, tacking on an extra year each for design work and construction. That would push the completion date for the widening to 2031 and for the BRT to 2032.

Utility undergrounding would also increase the cost of the two projects by at least $264 million, requiring an additional $136 million for the actual construction and potentially another $128 million to account for inflation during the two-year delay.

Potential costs of Richmond Highway utility undergrounding (via Fairfax County)

To raise the needed funds, county staff proposed working with the General Assembly to implement a utility “surcharge.” A $1 per month surcharge for residents and a 2.5% surcharge on commercial properties that could reach a maximum of 6.67% would bring in $40 million in revenue annually.

However, a surcharge would require an agreement with utility companies, mainly Dominion Energy, Verizon, Cox, and NOVEC. Even if an agreement is reached, it could take 12 to 18 months for the companies to sign off through their own “internal legal review” processes, delaying the undergrounding even more.

According to staff, undergrounding utilities could also result in the loss of $334 million in federal funding that the FTA is providing for the BRT project. Read More

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Drivers coming onto I-495 South from the GW Parkway will be detoured while the north side of Georgetown Pike bridge is demolished (via VDOT)

Nights are about to get noisier in McLean, as work begins in earnest this week on the demolition of the Georgetown Pike bridge over the Capital Beltway.

As early as Wednesday (July 27), construction crews working on the I-495 Northern Extension (495 NEXT) project will start demolishing the northern side of the bridge, which is being replaced and widened to fit six lanes and a new 6-foot-wide sidewalk.

During the demolition, traffic on Georgetown Pike will shift to the south side of the bridge. Crews have been laying the groundwork for the shift since late June, eliminating an existing concrete median and installing temporary traffic lights.

Demolition of the bridge’s north side is expected to take about three weeks, with work generally taking place between 9:30 p.m. and 5 a.m. on Sunday through Friday nights. Work may be needed on Saturdays from 9:30 p.m. to 7 a.m., depending on the weather and other factors, the Virginia Department of Transportation says.

“Specialized equipment will be used to demolish the bridge, including excavators fitted with hammers, saws and hydraulic jaws,” VDOT said in a news release published Friday (July 22). “While every effort will be made to control noise, certain demolition activities are unavoidably noisy and must be performed during nighttime hours when Beltway traffic below the bridge is lightest and necessary lane closures can occur.”

In the coming weeks, drivers should prepare for regular lane closures and traffic stoppages during overnight hours, according to VDOT:

To keep workers and motorists safe during the demolition, overnight triple- and double-lane closures on I-495 (Capital Beltway) and periodic stoppages of I-495 lanes for up to 30-minute intervals will be necessary. Virginia State Police will be on site to assist with implementation of the closures. Lane closures may also occur on Georgetown Pike approaching and over the bridge.

During certain multi-lane closures of the left side of southbound I-495, motorists coming from the George Washington Memorial Parkway heading for southbound I-495 will follow a minor detour accompanied by advance signage. Instead of accessing the Beltway from the left lane of the exit ramp, drivers will be directed to stay right and take the ramp up to Georgetown Pike, proceed straight through the traffic light, and take the ramp back down where traffic will then be able to merge onto the Beltway.

The Georgetown Pike bridge overhaul is part of the 495 NEXT project to extend the Beltway’s express lanes from the Dulles Toll Road in Tysons to the George Washington Memorial Parkway in McLean.

The bridge’s south side is scheduled to be demolished in spring 2024, according to VDOT. The overall project is currently slated for completion in 2026, with the new express lanes potentially opening in late 2025.

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