Supervisors Allocate $8.7 Million for Reston Underpass

by Karen Goff November 20, 2014 at 4:30 pm 1,481 18 Comments

Map of Town Center Parkway underpass location

The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors approved a plan this week to pay $8.7 million towards a Silver Line underpass structure on Town Center Parkway from Sunrise Valley Drive to Sunset Hills Road.

The supervisors said in county documents it is crucial to get the underpass built soon rather than try and construct it when Phase 2 of Metro’s Silver Line is already running. The funding will go towards planning the $157 million project.

Fairfax County Department of Transportation staff worked with Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority on the plan, which calls for construction of a four-lane divided roadway under the Dulles Toll Road.

The Town Center Parkway Underpass Rail Support Structure project was part of the Board of Supervisors’ Six Year Transportation Priorities for FY2015 to FY2020, which was approved by the Board earlier this year.

According to FCDOT’s project timelines for the Six Year Transportation Priorities, the Town Center Parkway Underpass Rail Support Structure project is scheduled to begin implementation in FY 2015.

Phase 2 of the Silver Line, which will run from Reston’s Wiehle Avenue to Reston Parkway and Herndon, Dulles International Airport and into Loudoun County, is under construction and expected to open in 2018. Phase 1, which opened in July, runs from Tysons Corner to Wiehle Avene.

Said the supervisors:

The extension of Town Center Parkway from Sunset Hills Road to Sunrise Valley Drive west of Edmund Halley Drive is recommended in the County’s Comprehensive Plan.

This improvement is necessary to achieve the vision of the Reston Transit Station Areas, and enhance connectivity of the overall roadway network.

Constructing the underpass structure beneath an active Metrorail line in the future would cause significant interruption to the rail service. To help eliminate, or at least minimize this disruption as much as possible, the county has proposed to fund the design and construction of the rail support structure as part of the Phase 2 Metrorail project that passes over the future underpass, thus allowing Metrorail tracks to span the future roadway extension.

This work would ensure that Phase 2 of the Silver Line would be supported when the  future underpass is constructed, and limit disruption to Metrorail service during construction of the underpass.


  • Bill Burton

    Confusing map–can’t figure out where the underpass is.

  • allan

    They better be putting in a safe bike lane, there are many people that would prefer to bike across this section instead of Reston Parkway or Fairfax parkway.

    • John Farrell

      Bikes represent less than 1% of all trips. Resources should be allocated accordingly.

      • Guest

        . . . AND there is no bicycle congestion on Reston’s roads/paths/sidewalks!

      • Brian

        I agree. We can’t keep pouring $$ into infrastructure for a tiny percent of the population

      • cosmo

        Agreed. Why do we spend tax dollars to put nice paved multi-use paths along new roads only for the bicyclists to avoid them and ride in the traffic lanes?

        • Cyclist

          Which “nice new” multi-use paths are you referencing? There is no multi-use path along Reston Parkway south of the toll road, just a terrible sidewalk. When it actually turns into a multi-use path, there’s nothing nice or new about it all the way up to Wiehle. Cyclist avoid the paths generally because a) they’re in bad shape or b) they are a not direct enough. But why should you support them? Because it is legal for me to take the entire lane in front of you. If you don’t have to wait, support giving me a safe, decent, adequately maintained alternative.

      • Cluster Tycoon

        The reason why people are afraid to ride their bikes is because Reston is “car-centric” and as recent incidents reveal, make it unsafe for people to ride their bikes. basically Reston has two options; become a high density community to the point where cars dont make sense or stick to the car theme where pedestrians and cyclists get mowed down at a regular rate. You’re the social engineer, you decide.

        • John Farrell

          The social engineers are the folks who want to misallocate scarce public resources to a tiny minority of trips. The less than 1% figure is not only true in Fairfax but nation-wide even in very low density localities.

          Bicycles predate the automobile and yet people chose to stick with the horse & buggy until the automobile became affordable.
          Simple reason: greater carrying capacity and better protection from the weather.

          That’s not changing – no matter how much the 1% want to force the rest of us to change.

          Only when population density approaches levels 100 times greater than Fairfax is congestion sufficient to get people to abandon the autonomy and comparative comfort of the automobile. But even the most ardent cycling advocate doesn’t want Manhattan like density in Reston

          • Kolonel Panik

            Ever been to Amsterdam?

  • ?

    So where will the other $150 million needed come from?

    • Karen Goff

      state funds and VDOT

  • Debra

    Will this underpass replace the Soapstone Connector, or be in addition to it? We need more options for vehicle travel between north and south Reston which avoid Toll Rd entrances/exits and Metro station traffic.

    • John Farrell

      This tunnel is in addition to Soapstone Connector and the South Lakes fly-over.

  • Reston Watcher

    It’s great that this project is in a plan and achieves a vision, but what will it actually do? Not much, except move the traffic congestion around a bit (and cost a bunch of money).

    The traffic that will use this tunnel would otherwise be coming south down Reston Parkway or the Fairfax County Parkway. Once the traffic exits the new tunnel and hits Sunrise Valley, it will have to go either east back to Reston Parkway or west back to the County Parkway. Both these intersections are already congested during rush periods.

    The tunnel won’t actually ease or reduce traffic congestion, it will just relocate it further into south Reston. The total number of lanes taking traffic out of Reston to the south will not be increased, the number of cars won’t be reduced, and the congestion once all the cars are back on the two parkways will be the same, or even worse (since the traffic will now be coming through existing intersections from different directions).

    And some traffic may be pushed into neighborhood streets (for instance, traffic leaving the new tunnel on Sunrise Valley that tries to bypass the congestion at Sunrise and Reston Parkway by cutting through the USGS campus on South Lakes, Pinecrest and Glade.

    The same situation will exist for the proposed new Access Road crossing between Reston Parkway and Wiehle. Once the traffic is on the south side of the Access Road, it will just feed back into the same set of inadequate roads that currently exist, but will introduce new cycles into the signals at the intersections where new roads meet old.

    Changes that would reduce congestion would include improving the Reston Parkway/Fox Mill/Lawyers Rd intersections and adding over- or underpasses on the Fairfax County Parkway at Sunrise Valley, Fox Mill and West Ox.

    The current arrangement of intersections at Reston/Fox Mill/Lawyers was designed, as I understand it, based on the premise that McLearen at Lawyers would be connected through to McLearen at West Ox, a concept that has long since be laid aside. It’s time to redesign the Reston/Fox Mill/Lawyers mess to speed traffic out of south Reston.

    Smaller improvements throughout the road system would also help, such as lengthening turn lanes on cross streets to keep lanes clear and providing two turning lanes instead of one to reduce green time dedicated to the cross streets. Real, small improvements aren’t “visionary” and don’t pump up any department’s budget, but they can make a huge difference for the people having to drive on the roads.

    Building large and expensive projects, like tunnels, that just rearrange the traffic doesn’t really help, and can actually hurt by subdividing the total amount of “green time” at traffic signals in to more segments, each with additional “yellow time” that reduces the total amount of “green.”

    Of course, there are some folks who think that slowing down and impeding traffic is a good idea.

    Or maybe I’m missing the point, and the purpose of the tunnel isn’t to actually improve traffic, but just to increase the property values for those folks that own the commercial property between Sunrise Valley and the Access Road by giving them easier access to the coveted addresses at Town Center. If so, how about they pay for the tunnel?

  • “Cut taxpayer subsidies to ZERO for big oil, big auto, asphalt, cement!”

    Carey Campbell candidate for Braddock District Supervisor, Fairfax County Board of Supervisors.

    “The conservative, constructive, positive solution is more trains, less traffic. Walkable, bikeable, pedestrian friendly communities.”

    Last week the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors gave more subsidies for big oil, big auto, big cement, big asphalt. According to Reston Now the Board created a $115 million dollar bond to build parking garages. The Board also voted an additional $8.6 million in tax payer subsidies to big asphalt to build another road in Reston.

    Carey Campbell, “Giving $125 million taxpayer subsidies to big oil, big auto, big asphalt doesn’t create walkable, bikeable, rail. Building another tax payer subsidized road in Reston doesn’t get rail built. It only creates more traffic.”

    Carey Campbell “We need more trains, less traffic.”

    “Creating more parking garages as tax payer expense is hardly the way move more people to walking, biking, riding rail. Want less traffic? Put those resources into pedestrian ways, biking lanes, and more trains.”

    Carey Campbell, is an accountant, USAF veteran, and North Springfield Civic Association member. Carey Campbell served on the Braddock District Comprehensive Transportation Task Force, and as co-chair of the Fairfax Federation of Citizens Association budget, and transportation committees.

    Carey Campbell, ” My opponent in Braddock District Supervisors race should have voted no on this tax payer subsidy for big oil, big auto. They are his campaign contributors.”

    In the 2014 November election voters passed a $100 million bond for pedestrians and bikes. $6 million of it goes to sidewalks and pedestrian improvements county wide. $78 million to goes to bike lanes and paths.

    “It’s absurd!” Carey Campbell declared. $6 million for sidewalks for all of Fairfax County. $8 million in taxpayer subsidy for a single stretch of asphalt.

    Carey Campbell, “Rail is safer. Walking and biking are healthier. Walkable, bikeable, rail communities are most popular, and growing profits. That’s the positive direction for Braddock District, and Fairfax County. Not more taxpayer subsidized garages for campaign contributors.”


    Carey Campbell is a candidate for Fairfax County Board of Supervisors – Braddock District.
    Contact: 703-351-1235


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