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The Lewinsville and Spring Hill roads intersection in McLean has safety and congestion issues (via FCDOT)

(Updated at 2:45 p.m. on 5/17/2022) Plans to modify a centrally located yet awkward intersection in McLean have been put on hold indefinitely.

The Fairfax County Department of Transportation shared earlier this month that, after roughly four years of study, it has settled on a final, preferred conceptual design to revamp the intersection of Spring Hill and Lewinsville roads.

However, a lack of funding and some community objections to the proposed design have left the project in limbo.

A key connection between the Dulles Toll Road to the south and Route 7 to the north, the two roads currently intersect at acute angles, creating an X-shape that county officials say contributes to frequent crashes — a safety issue that is especially concerning with Spring Hill Elementary School just feet away.

“The intersection…has quite a few traffic accidents, including head on and angle collisions,” FCDOT spokesperson Robin Geiger said by email. “These are some of the most dangerous accident types. At the intersection they are attributed to driver confusion which is due to the significant skew of the intersection.”

According to a presentation delivered at a community meeting in June 2019, there were 33 crashes in or around the intersection between January 2011 and December 2015, including 21 rear-end crashes, four angle crashes, and five head-on crashes.

Four of the five head-on crashes occurred in the intersection, all involving vehicles trying to turn left from Lewinsville Road.

The intersection also experiences regular congestion, with drivers encountering 134.5 seconds of delay during morning peak hours and 75.7 seconds of delay in the afternoon, according to data collected on Jan. 26, 2017.

According to Geiger, FCDOT hasn’t updated its data during the pandemic, but the county anticipates that traffic will eventually “grow beyond what was happening pre-Covid.”

Based on a preliminary engineering study, county staff presented four potential concepts for redesigning the intersection in May 2018, including a “peanut” roundabout, additional lanes on the existing roads, and a modified offset T-intersection that would essentially create two intersections.

The Fairfax County Department of Transportation’s recommended concept for the Lewinsville and Spring Hill roads intersection (via FCDOT)

While the community initially favored maintaining a conventional intersection, staff suggested a revised version of the offset T-intersection concept in 2019 that has now been recommended as the preferred option.

In addition to splitting the intersection into two, eliminating the skewed angle, the proposed design will add medians, bicycle lanes, and pedestrian crosswalks.

“Offset-T had [the] best results in term of safety, delays and needed [right of way],” Geiger said, noting that the new design will improve safety for pedestrians and cyclists, reduce driver confusion, and lower congestion.

FCDOT had been planning to hold a virtual community meeting on the recommended concept tonight (Monday), but the meeting was postponed on May 5 and has not been rescheduled.

While an online survey initially appeared to be open, Geiger clarified that it should not have been enabled and has now been closed.

FCDOT says it selected the offset T design based on written feedback and an online survey conducted after the 2019 meeting, but homeowner groups in the area have come out against the concept, according to a Summerwood Civic Association member who contacted FFXnow.

Geiger confirmed that the project has been put on hold while the county evaluates “the practical implications” of an offset T concept proposed for the intersection of Old Dominion and Balls Hill roads, which has been met with similar skepticism.

According to Geiger, the Lewinsville/Spring Hill project is currently unfunded with no timeline for design or construction.

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The Fox Mill and Pinecrest roads intersection in Reston (via VDOT)

Construction on improvements to the intersection of Fox Mill and Pinecrest road is slated to begin in the fall of 2024.

Once the $5.7 million project is completed, the intersection will have a permanent traffic signal, left-turn lanes on northbound and southbound Fox Mill Road, four crosswalks, new sidewalks and curb ramps, and an 8-foot-wide walkway on the southeast corner.

The Virginia Department of Transportation will hold a public hearing on the project design on May 18.

A temporary signalized intersection was installed in August last year in order to improve the safety of the area. Between 2013 and 2020, the intersection has been the site of 53 crashes, two of which resulted in severe injuries.

Right-of-way acquisition is expected to begin in the summer of 2024.

Information on how to log on to the meeting — which takes place online — is available the project’s page.

The project is primarily funded by county dollars and is currently in the design phase.

A completion date in the summer of 2025 is anticipated.

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A road project replaces pavement (via Fairfax County Department of Transportation)

Road paving and striping season has arrived.

The Fairfax County and Virginia transportation departments will hold multiple public meetings this month on proposed pedestrian crossing and road changes for 2022.

The changes include narrowing several roads to an 11-foot standard and upgrading crosswalks. Bicycle lanes are also slated for several areas across the county.

The most significant change appears to be in Sully District, where bicycle lanes — potentially buffered — have been proposed where possible on Braddock Road between Belle Pond Drive and Sully Station Drive.

The Fairfax County Department of Transportation said underutilized travel lanes on Braddock Road will be converted.

New bicycle lanes are also planned in the following areas:

  • Lee District: Lockheed Boulevard, between Route 1 and the Huntley Meadows Park entrance where feasible
  • Providence District: Cottage Street between Gallows Road and Cedar Lane where possible, as well as Wolftrap Road between Gallows Road and the end of the street
  • Sully District: Centreville Farms Road, where outside travel lanes could be buffered between Lee Highway and Stringfellow Road

Crosswalk upgrades are slated for:

  • Braddock and Lee districts: Greeley Road at Bellamy Avenue near West Springfield Elementary School
  • Lee District: Summer Ridge Road at Westcott Hills Way
  • Mason District: Westmoreland Road at both Barrett and Wayne roads
  • Providence District: Madrillon Road at Boss Street and Merry Oaks Lane; Stonewall Drive and Shenandoah Street; Wolftrap Road at Wolftrap Court; and Hibbard Street at Chain Bridge Road
  • Springfield District: Autumn Willow Drive at Stringfellow Park as well as Fair Lakes Boulevard at Sedgehurst Drive
  • Sully District: Newton Patent Drive at Awbrey Patent Drive

Some areas could see parking restricted to help address sightline issues.

FCDOT will hold virtual community meetings to discuss the changes on April 18 for Dranesville, Hunter Mill, and Providence districts; April 19 for Lee, Mount Vernon and Springfield districts; and April 21 for Braddock, Mason and Sully districts.

There are no striping improvements proposed for Dranesville and Hunter Mill districts, though.

Comment periods will close two weeks after each meeting. Paving work will begin this spring and finish in November.

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Wolf Trap Road off of Gallows ends at a bicycle route (via Google Maps)

A pair of streets linking Vienna and Dunn Loring could be altered to make room for bicycle lanes as part of an annual paving and restriping program.

The Fairfax County and Virginia transportation departments have proposed narrowing the travel and parking lanes on Cottage Street and Wolf Trap Road so bicycle lanes can be added “where possible.”

The focus of the Cottage Street project would be 1.1-mile stretch between Gallows Road and Cedar Lane. On Wolf Trap, the bicycle lanes could be added from Gallows to where the road dead-ends and turns into a bicycle path through Heritage Resource Park.

“Existing legal on-street parking will be maintained,” the Fairfax County Department of Transportation says of both proposed projects.

FCDOT and the Virginia Department of Transportation are also planning to upgrade crosswalks at five intersections in Providence District, four in the Dunn Loring area and one in Oakton:

The county and state collaborate on repaving and restriping efforts annually as part of VDOT’s regular street maintenance duties. This year’s work will begin sometime in April and continue until November.

Here’s more from FCDOT on what to expect:

Residents can expect work vehicles in their neighborhood during the project. Motorists are asked to be alert to temporary traffic patterns. Cars, basketball hoops or garbage cans may need to be temporarily relocated while work is under way. Work hours are usually limited to outside of rush hours. Crews typically work on neighborhood streets weekdays from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. On other roads such as interstates and some primaries, work may occur overnight.

A virtual public meeting on the proposed Providence District projects will be held at 7 p.m. next Monday (April 18).

VDOT has a statewide paving map with information on specific roads that will be updated weekly throughout the season.

Photo via Google Maps

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Uneven payment conditions on Braddock Road near Parklawn Elementary School (staff photo by David Taube)

The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors has increased the rates that property developers pay in certain areas to support transportation projects, citing inflation-related pressure.

The board approved 7.5% increases on March 22 for road funds in Centreville, Fairfax Center, Reston, and Tysons. The new rates will go into effect tomorrow (Friday).

The payments are intended to offset the impact of increased density or intensity from developments.

The revenues support various transportation upgrades, including bridge and interchange projects on interstates and primary roadways, new street connections, and pedestrian, bicycle, and parking facilities.

The Tysons area alone has an estimated $1.2 billion in road projects planned through 2051, including for the ongoing Route 7 widening, according to county documents.

Projects that have benefitted from the road funds so far include portions of the Fairfax County Parkway widening and improvements to the Route 29 and West Ox Road interchange in the Fairfax Center area.

The rates are reviewed each year, and the county has typically raised them between 2% and 3% over the last decade.

The county said the rates are tied to a consumer price index and have been increasing due to inflationary construction costs for road projects. They make up a small part of developers’ overall housing costs.

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A small portion of Sterling Road will be reconfigured (via Town of Herndon)

The Town of Herndon is gearing up to seek federal funding for a reconfiguration of Sterling Road.

The project would reconfigure the existing road between Herndon Parkway and Elden Street from three undivided lanes to two lanes with a middle lane for turning. A landscaped median is also planned for the project.

Staff is currently seeking the Herndon Town Council’s permission to incorporate the project in the 2030 Comprehensive Plan in order to secure funding for the project. The project was discussed at a meeting last week.

Town Mayor Sheila Olem noted that the project is in its early phases. A design concept has not yet been proposed.

“This is exciting. We have been working on this for a few long time,” Olem said.

The amendment would also incorporate the town’s bicycle and pedestrians plans — both adopted in 2019 — into the comprehensive plan.

The proposal also includes meshing complete street policies — a design approach that requires streets to be designed and planned to enable safe travel for all users — into the comprehensive plan.

The town’s Planning Commission will hold a public hearing on the proposed change, followed by a public hearing by the Herndon Town Council. Dates for both hearings have not been determined yet.

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Fairfax County drivers are no strangers to potholes during the winter, but residents felt conditions were becoming especially egregious along a stretch of Braddock Road in Lincolnia, including near Parklawn Elementary School.

After airing their concerns on Nextdoor, they turned to the Virginia Department of Transportation. Residents noticed this week that at least one large pothole was filled in.

“There was a large major pothole (the Grand Canyon) for weeks, which I noticed just today was filled,” resident Steph Bates told FFXnow on Tuesday (March 8). “I drive that stretch each day, and there are many, many smaller potholes still.”

People can report concerns to the Commonwealth by calling 1-800-FOR-ROAD (1-800-367-7623) to report any maintenance issues or fill out a form at my.vdot.virginia.gov.

“We are aware of the issues along Braddock Road,” VDOT spokesperson Ellen Kamilakis said in an email. “Crews have been out this week patching potholes.”

VDOT encourages people to contact its Customer Service Center about road issues. Kamilakis said pothole repair work there is continuing.

VDOT maintains roads throughout most of the Commonwealth, including interstates and primary routes. Other roads are maintained by cities, towns and some counties.

Adopted by the General Assembly in 1932, the Byrd Road Act permitted counties to pass responsibility to Virginia’s Highway Commission, later renamed the Commonwealth Transportation Board. Four counties chose to retain their authority, but only Arlington and Henrico counties have maintained that decision.

Resident Carolyn Spencer, who submitted a maintenance ticket, thinks VDOT is responsive, especially with quick fixes and Americans with Disabilities Act issues.

“I’m a big believer in telling people when I notice something wrong,” Spencer told FFXnow. “If nobody reports problems, they will never get fixed.”

But for more in-depth policy and planning issues, such as concerns about traffic back-ups, inquiries can involve contractors and end up unanswered, she wrote.

It wasn’t immediately clear when and whether VDOT plans to repave the portion of Braddock Road under scrutiny.

“That stretch seems worse than other places I drive,” Bates wrote, adding that problems are “on both sides of the yellow line, with very narrow ability to dodge.”

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