One driver was killed and another hospitalized with serious injuries in a two-car crash on Route 29 in the Clifton area early this morning (Tuesday).
A Fairfax County police officer reported at 12:25 a.m. that he “just had a vehicle roll over in front of me at the Clifton 7-Eleven,” describing an occupant as “trapped and unresponsive,” according to scanner traffic on Open MHz.
Police confirmed to the dispatcher that the crash involved two cars, and both drivers were found unconscious.
“Two four-door vehicles, we have one up in the 7-Eleven parking lot, extensive intrusion, T-bone accident,” a Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department responder reported at 12:30 a.m., per the scanner. “We also have a second vehicle into the traffic pole, on its wheels again, in the intersection.”
One of the drivers — an adult man — was pronounced dead at the scene, while the other was taken to a hospital with injuries initially considered life-threatening, the Fairfax County Police Department said at 1:16 a.m.
The Route 29 and Clifton Road intersection was closed as the department’s Crash Reconstruction Unit investigated. The hospitalized driver’s condition was later upgraded to non-life-threatening, the FCPD reported in an update at 4 a.m.
The intersection didn’t reopen to traffic until shortly before 8:30 a.m., according to police.
Officers investigating a 2 car crash on Clifton Rd/Lee Hwy in Clifton. One driver, an adult male, was pronounced deceased at the scene and other driver taken to the hospital with life-threatening injuries. The intersection of Clifton Rd/Lee Hwy closed. Please avoid the area #FCPD pic.twitter.com/8DNjbzAbrE
— Fairfax County Police (@FairfaxCountyPD) December 5, 2023
Image via Google Maps
Officially, Fairfax County doesn’t have a Lee Highway or Lee-Jackson Memorial Highway anymore, but months after the names were dropped, they can still be seen on street signs throughout both corridors.
By the end of this month, that should no longer be the case — at least for smaller signs, the Fairfax County Department of Transportation says. A contractor is replacing the small blue signs at street corners with ones identifying the roadways as Route 29 and Route 50, respectively.
“This work is underway, and we anticipate this work to be complete by the end of November,” FCDOT Head of Communications Freddy Serrano told FFXnow.
The process of replacing larger, overhead directional signs, however, isn’t expected to begin until next year.
Getting those signs made and installed will be the Virginia Department of Transportation’s responsibility, though the county is covering all of the costs. A VDOT spokesperson says the department hopes to finalize an agreement with a contractor by the end of this year.
“It will involve 110 signs and it should take about two years to complete from the start of the contract that is anticipated to start in Jan. 2024,” VDOT said by email.
According to Serrano, a preliminary schedule from VDOT estimates that the overhead sign replacements will be finished by the end of 2025.
The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors voted on Sept. 13, 2022 to stop referring to routes 29 and 50 as Lee and Lee-Jackson Memorial, names adopted in the early 20th century as nods to Confederate generals Robert E. Lee and Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson.
Instead of giving the roadways entirely new names, as Arlington County did with its Route 29 segment in 2021, the board opted to use the route numbers to reduce confusion and the cost of new street signs. FCDOT staff previously said changing the signs would be more challenging for longer names.
At the time of the vote, county staff estimated that the sign updates would cost about $1.4 million. It cost about $46,000 for FCDOT’s contractor to fabricate and install the corner street signs, according to Serrano.
“Most of the costs of the sign replacement will be VDOT’s replacement of the larger overhead signs,” he said. “FCDOT will not have an updated cost estimate for that portion of the sign replacement until VDOT begins their preliminary design.”
County staff estimated it would take another $1.5 million to fund grants to help affected property owners cover expenses for updating business licenses, land records and other documents, as recommended by the Confederate Names Task Force that reviewed the proposed renamings.
On its website, FCDOT says the county “is developing” a financial assistance program, but Serrano confirmed to FFXnow that “the proposed grant program for businesses has not been approved at this time.”
The county updated addresses in its records to reflect the name changes, including for property taxes and voter registrations, on July 5.
A pedestrian remains hospitalized two days after he was hit by a driver on Route 29 in the West Falls Church area, police say.
A 911 caller reported that a blue Tesla struck a pedestrian, who was injured, a police dispatcher told responding officers at 8:07 p.m. The Fairfax County Police Department didn’t confirm the type of vehicle involved in the crash by press time.
The pedestrian, an adult man, was transported to a hospital with injuries initially considered life-threatening, police said. Eastbound Route 29 was shut down at the intersection while police investigated the crash.
As of this morning (Monday), the man is still in the hospital, but his condition “has been upgraded to non-life threatening,” according to the FCPD.
Police say that the driver in the crash remained on the scene and “has cooperated fully” with the investigation, which is still active.
“Preliminary investigations suggest that alcohol may have been a contributing factor for the pedestrian, but a thorough examination is ongoing,” an FCPD spokesperson told FFXnow. “It is important to note that speed and alcohol do not appear to be contributing factors on the part of the driver.”
According to state data, this is the fourth crash at the Route 29 and Hollywood intersection since 2020 where a pedestrian got injured. Crashes with injuries occurred in February 2020, March 2022 and January of this year, but there haven’t been any fatal crashes involving pedestrians since the Department of Motor Vehicles started the online database in 2010.
Officers are on scene of a crash involving a pedestrian at Rt 29 & Hollywood Rd in West Falls Church. The pedestrian, an adult man, was taken to the hospital w/life-threatening injuries. The driver stayed on scene. E/B Lee hwy is closed at Hollywood Rd. Please avoid the area. pic.twitter.com/e1esFGTnar
— Fairfax County Police (@FairfaxCountyPD) November 12, 2023
A ditch will no longer force pedestrians and bicyclists to ditch the shared path along Route 29 in Merrifield.
Construction has been substantially completed on a new, unbroken shared-use path spanning about one-third of a mile between Vaden Drive and Nutley Street, the Virginia Department of Transportation announced on Friday (Oct. 6).
The path replaces an asphalt sidewalk that abruptly ended at an Accotink Creek tributary that runs under the roadway. In addition to filling in some missing segments, the project added a central yellow line to the new trail and extended a box culvert over the tributary to support it.
In the works since spring 2019, construction on the improvements began in November 2022. The project cost an estimated $3.8 million, funded by local dollars and a concession fee that the I-66 Express Lanes operator agreed to provide as part of the Outside the Beltway toll lanes extension.
“Construction on the project…is now substantially complete, with minor work occurring in the coming weeks until final completion with minimal impacts,” VDOT said.
#Merrifield area bicyclists & pedestrians – enjoy your new shared-use path along NB Rt 29 from Vaden Dr to Nutley St! This project constructed missing path segments and extended a culvert to carry the new path over an Accotink Creek tributary. 🚴🚶
— VDOT Northern VA (@VaDOTNOVA) October 6, 2023
While the new path isn’t especially long, it provides a crucial connection for pedestrians and cyclists to the nearby Vienna Metro station and other area sidewalks and trails, including ones in Towers Park, VDOT says.
However, that accessibility still ends at Nutley Street, since the south side of Route 29 has no sidewalk east of the intersection.
As part of a plan to redevelop the Pan Am Shopping Center, Fairfax County staff recommend implementing “continuous bicycle and pedestrian facilities along Route 29” in the future. The existing Bicycle Master Plan doesn’t show any trail on the south side and indicates that “further analysis and outreach is needed to determine the best fit for bicycle facilities along this roadway,” according to the amendment approved by the Board of Supervisors on Sept. 12.
Developer Federal Realty, which owns the shopping center, has proposed adding a 10-foot-wide shared-use path along Nutley Street with the redevelopment. To the north, VDOT is working to complete its I-66 shared-use trail, which opened a first segment in May that included a tunnel under Nutley.
As of Aug. 9, most remaining sections were slated to open this October, according to VDOT’s project website. That excludes a segment through the Route 50 interchange that’s not projected to open until spring 2024.
Shoppers at the Route 29-adjacent Costco might notice some major changes soon.
The wholesale company is seeking a special exception from Fairfax County to increase the size of its existing retail warehouse at 4725 West Ox Road by around 8,500 square feet and enhance some of the store’s departments.
The new addition would be located to the eastern side of the building.
“The additional space proposed for the existing warehouse building would be utilized for upgrading and expanding the delicatessen and rotisserie area, increasing the size of the refrigerated meat storage space, constructing a new produce cooler, and expanding sales aisles,” the application said. “There will be slight increase in [floor area ratio].”
The application says Costco’s Fairfax area location is a popular one, with around 5,000 customers per day. The expansion is estimated to bring in another approximately 300 customers.
The company also anticipates hiring another 16 employees if the addition is approved, bringing its total workforce for that location to approximately 286 people.
The expansion is expected to result in dozens more vehicle trips to the already heavily frequented site, according to the application:
- 26 AM peak hour trips (14 in/12 out)
- 37 PM peak hour trips (18 in/19 out)
- 63 Saturday peak hour trips (31 in/32 out)
- 417 weekday average daily trips (7,453 Weekday average trips total)
- 753 Saturday average daily trips (8,218 Saturday trips total)
“The proposed expansion of the retail warehouse building will provide a significant improvement to the operation of the facility for Costco’s members,” the application said. “The proposed amendment conforms to the spirit of the Zoning Ordinance and the recommendations of the Comprehensive Plan. Therefore, for the reasons set forth herein, the Applicant respectfully requests approval of this Special Exception Amendment application.”
The county accepted the application for review on Sept. 6, but no hearings have been scheduled yet.
The proposal comes after Costco got the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors’ approval in March to expand the gas station at its West Ox location from 16 to 30 fuel pumps.
Image via Google Maps
(Updated at 9:55 a.m.) A man from Falls Church has been arrested for allegedly firing a gun into a crowd outside Taco Baja (7716 Lee Highway) in Merrifield.
Police say their investigation indicates that Jorge Armando Melendez Gonzalez, 25, approached a group of men standing outside the restaurant early in the morning on Saturday (Aug. 26).
“During the encounter, the suspect was assaulted by one of the men and the suspect opened fire into a crowd of people who were standing in front of the business,” the Fairfax County Police Department said. “The suspect then fled the area on foot.”
Police were called to 7716 Lee Highway at 1:51 a.m. for the reported shooting, according to scanner traffic on Open MHz.
Upon arriving, officers found two adult men in the parking lot with gunshot wounds. One of the men had been shot in the arm, while the other was shot in the abdomen, the FCPD says. Both men were taken to a hospital, one of them with injuries that police initially said were life-threatening.
Police identified a third victim when Inova Fairfax Hospital called 911 at 3:39 a.m. to report that a man had walked in with a gunshot wound to the arm, according to FCPD and the police scanner.
“Officers were able to determine the victim was related to the earlier shooting,” the FCPD said. “The victim’s injuries were considered non-life threatening and he was treated and released from the hospital.”
Gonzalez was arrested late Sunday (Aug. 27) night by detectives from the FCPD’s violent crimes division with the assistance of the Arlington County Police Department’s robbery and homicide unit and SWAT team, according to the news release.
He has been charged with three felony counts of malicious wounding and three counts of using a firearm in the commission of a felony. He’s currently being held at the Fairfax County Adult Detention Center with no bond.
“Detectives are still investigating if there’s any connection amongst all parties involved in this incident,” an FCPD spokesperson said.
Photo via Google Maps
Fairfax County can officially retire Lee Highway and Lee-Jackson Memorial Highway as its names for routes 29 and 50.
The highways will be renamed after their route numbers effective July 5, the county announced today (Thursday).
The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors voted on Sept. 13 to drop the highway names, which were homages to Confederate generals Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson, but the Commonwealth Transportation Board didn’t approve the changes until May 24.
“The renaming of both roadways signifies our unwavering dedication to acknowledging the experiences of our community, especially our African American neighbors,” Board of Supervisors Chairman Jeff McKay said in a statement. “Thanks to the dedicated work of all the community members who participated in the Confederate Names Task Force, we can put these divisive names behind us and continue to move our County in the right direction.”
According to the county, its records will automatically update on July 5 to reflect the new street names, including for property taxes, voter registrations and Fairfax Water.
However, individual property and business owners will be responsible for updating their address when it comes to their driver’s license, legal documents, utility bills, mail and other services.
The county says it’s developing a grant program to provide financial assistance for those affected by the name changes, though the program needs to be approved by the Board of Supervisors.
The Virginia Department of Transportation will replace the road signs, but the county has agreed to cover those costs, which were previously estimated to range from $1 million to $4 million, depending on the length of the new names.
The Board of Supervisors created the Confederate Names Task Force in 2021 after the Fairfax County History Commission identified hundreds of sites bearing names associated with the Confederacy, including Lee and Lee-Jackson Memorial highways.
According to the task force’s report, Lee Highway covers about 14 miles from Centreville to Falls Church, with a break in the middle where Route 29 meets Route 50 in Fairfax City. It was named after Robert E. Lee in 1919.
Lee-Jackson Memorial consists of about 8 miles of Route 50 in western Fairfax County. The name was adopted in 1922.
Fairfax County and the Virginia Department of Transportation have kicked off construction to widen a 1.5-mile stretch of Route 29 near Centreville.
Though there will be a ceremonial groundbreaking today (Wednesday), construction on the project began Feb. 9 to add two lanes to the roadway between Union Mill Road and Buckleys Gate Drive.
By the time work finishes in spring 2026, there will be six lanes instead of four on that stretch of road. In addition to the new lanes, the project aims to make improvements to sight distance for drivers and shared-use paths on the roadway.
It will also connect pedestrian and bicycle trails located at the Fairfax County Parkway/West Ox Road interchange.
This work has been on VDOT’s radar for years, with the project first coming to the public at a meeting in October 2018. Notes from a 2019 public hearing say that a 2005 VDOT study “explored the feasibility of providing a continuous 6 lane section from Centreville to the City of Fairfax.”
“Over the past several years, portions of Route 29 have been widened to six lanes (three in each direction) between Centreville and the City of Fairfax,” Mike Murphy, a senior communications specialist at VDOT, wrote in an email to FFXnow.
After this widening, a continuous six-lane section will exist “along the five-mile stretch between Pickwick Road and Shirley Gate Road/Waples Mill Road to improve capacity and safety through the corridor,” Murphy wrote.
The project is removing trees between Stringfellow Road and Meadow Estates Drive on the north side of Route 29. To accommodate that work, residents will need to use alternate routes in place of part of Willow Pond Trail through April 2023.
The estimated cost is $97 million, and those dollars come from four sources: federal, state and local money, plus funding from a I-66 concession fee.
Today’s groundbreaking will be held on the Route 29 service road, near the Brightview Fair Oaks senior living facility. Two members of the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors — Pat Herrity (Springfield) and Kathy Smith (Sully) — plan to attend.
(Updated at 10:25 a.m. on 12/5/2022) A pedestrian died last night after a vehicle hit them on Route 29 (Lee Highway) in Centreville.
The crash occurred at 9:03 p.m. in the Trinity Parkway/Centrewood Drive intersection, which is outside the Centrewood Plaza and Centreville Square shopping centers.
Officers arrived at the scene before 10 p.m., shutting down southbound Lee Highway until around 1:20 a.m., according to Fairfax County Police Department tweets.
The pedestrian, 29-year-old Jacinto Chavez Ramos from Centreville, was using a crosswalk from Trinity Parkway when the driver of a 2021 Toyota Corolla going south on Lee Highway struck him, police say.
“The driver of the Toyota remained at the scene. Rescue personnel responded and pronounced Chavez Ramos deceased,” the FCPD said this afternoon. “Preliminarily, speed and alcohol do not appear to be factors for the driver in the crash. The investigation remains active.”
— Fairfax County Police (@FairfaxCountyPD) November 29, 2022
At Trinity Parkway, Route 29 has three travel lanes in each direction, plus right and left turn lanes. The intersection has a traffic signal, but there is only a narrow median, and the crosswalks aren’t striped.
Virginia crash data indicates there have been at least three crashes involving pedestrians at that intersection since 2010: one in 2019 and two in 2020, all resulting in injuries but none fatal. The database doesn’t include a crash on Sept. 8, 2016 where a woman suffered critical injuries, according to an NBC4 report at the time.
After last night’s crash, Fairfax County’s pedestrian death toll for 2022 has risen to 24 people — the highest it has been in over a decade. That includes 19 deaths on county roads, almost doubling the 11 fatalities recorded by FCPD at this point in 2021.
Photo via VDOT Northern Virginia/Twitter
Lee and Lee-Jackson highways may officially no more.
In a 9-1 decision, the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors voted yesterday (Tuesday) to change names of Lee and Lee-Jackson highways to Route 29 and Route 50 respectively.
“This is a necessary and important change for Fairfax County. We will continue to strive to realize our vision of a more equitable One Fairfax,” wrote Fairfax County Board of Supervisors Chairman Jeff McKay in a statement.
The move comes after a yearlong review by the county’s Confederate Names Task Force, which called on renaming the highways. The task force submitted recommendations in December.
Overall, updates to signage is expected to cost roughly $1.4 million, according to a county memo. An additional $1.5 million is estimated for a financial assistance program that would affect businesses and residential units that may be impacted by the name change.
That financial assistance program will be developed in the fall through a formal proposal.
Supervisor Pat Herrity — the board’s lone Republican — voted against the proposal. Officially changing the names will require the approval of the Commonwealth Transportation Board.
The vote comes at the heels of a June decision to change the Lee District’s magisterial name to the Franconia District.
Evoking Confederate generals Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson, the highways were among 150 sites in the county with names whose Confederate origins were confirmed by a 2020 report from the Fairfax County History Commission. Combined, they represent over 20 miles of roadway from Chantilly on the county’s western end to the Falls Church border in the east.