Supervisors OK Soapstone Extension Option

Traffic on Wiehle Avenue/Credit: Reston 2020The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors will vote Tuesday to endorse the hybrid alternative for the Soapstone crossing to connect Sunset Hills Road and Sunrise Valley Drive.

The Supervisors’ endorsement would enable the crossing to go into the preliminary design phase, getting Reston one step closer to an additional way to cross the Dulles Toll Road and alleviate traffic.

In February, Fairfax County Transportation Department staff and the County Executive recommended that the Board of Supervisors endorse the Recommended (Hybrid) Alternative. That alternative is a combination of several alternatives for the crossing presented to citizens in 2013. 

The Soapstone extension will create a direct connection between Sunrise Valley Drive, Soapstone Drive and Sunset Hills Road; reduce traffic on Wiehle Avenue; increase connectivity across the Dulles Toll Road; and enhance access to Wiehle-Reston East Metro Station, county officials said.

Without major road improvements — including several more toll road crossings — traffic could be a disaster, development-watchers say.

Transportation staff developed four options in a report in February of 2013. The hybrid combines two of them: a direct extension of Soapstone that crosses slightly northwest and ends at a new intersection at Sunset Hills.

The plan would impact several properties on both side of the toll road, including Solus and Musica on the north side and the National Association of Secondary School Principals on the south.

Additionally, there would be a four-way intersection with traffic signal at Sunrise Valley, as well as another four-way intersection with no signal, or perhaps a traffic roundabout, on the Sunset Hills side, planners said.

Earlier this year, the Board of Supervisors included $2.5 million for the preliminary design of this project as part of its Six Year Transportation Project Priorities. Funding is currently programmed for fiscal year 2015 in Fund 40010, County and Regional Transportation Projects, the county says.

A Soapstone crossing (at a cost of $91.75 million) has already been identified on the county’s list of high-priority projects for 2015-20.

An exact price tag won’t be known until the connector is farther in the planning process. An environmental impact study will also be forthcoming.

To see graphics and other details of the hybrid alternative, see this Fairfax County proposal.

Photo: Reston traffic/Credit: Reston 2020

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