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County Supervisors Endorse Plans for Route 7 Widening to Tysons

by Dave Emke June 7, 2017 at 4:00 pm 35 Comments

At its meeting Tuesday, the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors gave its seal of approval to plans to widen Leesburg Pike (Route 7) from Reston to Tysons.

The Virginia Department of Transportation project will involve nearly seven miles of Route 7, between Reston Avenue and Jarrett Valley Drive, which is just before the Dulles Toll Road interchange. Supervisors approved the plan, with two minor amendments, as it was presented at a public hearing in November. (View information shared and discussed at that meeting here.)

“[This has been] a long-awaited case,” Hunter Mill Supervisor Cathy Hudgins said at the meeting prior to the vote.

This is the latest stage of VDOT’s work to add two lanes to the heavily traveled highway, bringing it to six overall. They also plan to add facilities for cyclists and pedestrians, and make “substantial intersection and other improvements” along the corridor. Those improvements, according to VDOT, will include constructing a partial interchange at Baron Cameron Avenue to reduce congestion.

A rendering provided by VDOT shows the Baron Cameron interchange will have the eastbound lanes of Route 7 traveling under the road, connected via ramps. Westbound lanes will continue to face a stoplight at the intersection.

According to 2011 traffic counts provided by VDOT, the stretch of Route 7 carries between 46,000 and 54,000 vehicles per day. That number is expected to increase to 73,000 to 86,000 by 2040, VDOT says.

Anticipated cost of the project is $234 million. VDOT is expected to put out its request for proposals on the project later this year. Work is planned to start in late 2020 and last until 2025.

Rendering and map courtesy Virginia Department of Transportation

  • 40yearsinreston

    Who is paying ?
    Knowing Hudgins its probably us and not developers

    • 41yearsinreston


  • John

    “Work is planned to start in late 2020 and last until 2025.”
    Efficiency at its best – we fought and won WWII in less time than expanding 7 miles of road

    • Freeway

      Fairfax County and Virginia are notorious for delays and lack of funding despite this area being the financial and economic lifeblood of the state.

    • TheKingJAK

      Within less than two years we went from having one of the smallest Navies, to possessing one larger than all of the warring powers. We also constructed nearly 2,000 Miles of transcontinental railroad within six years, which also occurred during the Civil War no less. Another interesting historical fact is that our United States finally built the Panama Canal within seven years of beginning actual construction (1907-1914), which up until then had languished as a supposedly impossible project which other nations had attempted and failed at since around 1881. We also managed to successfully land Americans on the Moon six times within three years, and the first landing occurred within only ten years of numerous launch pad failures (Within TWO years of the Apollo 1 disaster as well).

    • Scott

      Back then an an environmental impact study wasn’t required for D-Day, Fat Boy, or Little Boy

      • The Constitutionalist

        Fat Man*

        • Scott

          Thank you for the correction

  • Freeway

    We should have a light rail the runs from Reston to Old Town Alexandria that runs along Rt 7.

    • TheKingJAK

      The Toll Road was that opportunity, but it’s Metro.

      • Freeway

        The above ground metro is the ugliest thing I have ever seen. Thank then governor Tim Kaine for initially backing underground then suddenly going against the wishes of local residents and agreeing to have it built above ground. At the end of the day the politicians will do what is in the best interest of their donors, not their voters.

        • JoeInReston

          The toll road fees to fund the above ground metro are crazy enough as is. Where would the extra monies come from to support the underground version?

          • Freeway

            The overground metro line ran way over budget anyway so if they stuck to initial plan it could have worked. Overground line requires more maintenance and upkeep also. Just a disaster and frankly a shame and embarrassment for NOVA. Fairfax and Richmond talk about turning Tyson’s into the next big city but never want to budget or put effort into achieving satisfactory results.

          • JoeInReston

            “The overground metro line ran way over budget anyway so if they stuck to initial plan it could have worked”

            That comment makes the huge unlikely presumption that the underground version would not have run over budget too.

          • Freeway

            I know that but since it didn’t happen we will never know. All I know is Tysons looks atrocious and Rt 7 is as wide as 495 because of the metro. And yet they insist Tyson’s will be walkable.

          • JoeInReston

            Its a trade off of money (increased taxes/tolls/fees) versus exterior scenery. As much as it would have been nice to have a more scenic Tysons, few would have been willing to pay higher taxes to fund it.

          • Freeway

            It isn’t just about exterior scenery. Could you imagine if K St in downtown DC had a HUGE above ground metro that is 3 stories high. Why couldn’t they AT LEAST build the Silver Line on ground level and have it dip under at intersections? None of it makes sense. All to cut cost so corporate profit margins remain higher at the expense of just about everything else.

          • Greg

            It would have been the same price or less — much less when on-going maintenance costs are included:

            “As reported Saturday by The Post’s Alec MacGillis, local officials who were briefed by a Virginia-commissioned study panel of engineers say the experts strongly recommend going underground. They have concluded that a tunnel would be less expensive for the four-mile stretch through Tysons.”

          • JoeInReston

            I wasn’t able to find your link. But in my search, I did find this Washington Post link from 2014 (https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/trafficandcommuting/the-silver-line-story-a-new-route-is-born-after-decades-of-faulty-planning-political-paralysis/2014/06/23/bdf619c4-f894-11e3-a606-946fd632f9f1_story.html?utm_term=.bc0d9895e969) …

            A long fight in the mid-2000s over whether to build an underground rail tunnel through Tysons, instead of an elevated platform, also nearly scuttled the project.

            Both sides in the debate agreed that a tunnel would be ideal. But a tunnel also would be far more expensive than a platform, which already had been planned and approved. Hanley recalled that federal financing was dependant on a strict cost­ benefit analysis. She and others, including Connolly, argued at the time that the added cost of building a tunnel would cause Bush’s Transportation Department to withdraw funding for the project.

            React: This link is not submitted as a rebuttal to the claim that the underground is cheaper. It may indeed be.

            This link is submitted to illustrate the information known at the time. The information they had said that the underground was more expensive. They made their decision with that information. If new information from a 2017 study says otherwise, while they can’t go back in time and revisit that decision.

          • Greg

            It’s moot. But it’s shameful and pathetic what an eyesore we now have with the “rain gardens” beneath the eyesore infested with weeds and trash.

            Another source:

            On January 22, 2007, Tysons Tunnel, Inc. submitted a Proposal consisting of engineering and environmental studies for construction of an approximately 3.4 mile-long, Large Bore Tunnel (LBT) through Tysons Corner for the Dulles Corridor Metrorail Project. The proposed LBT
            would be in lieu of an aerial route previously approved as the Locally Preferred Alternative (LPA). The Proposal concludes, among other items, that:
            • The single-bore tunnel is cost-competitive with the aerial option, or possibly less expensive, and
            • The single-bore tunnel can be constructed within 54 months, or six months faster than the
            aerial option.


          • Scott

            Cheaper to build is much different than cheaper to own. The TCO on above ground infrastructure is far more than a tunnel. This is classic govt analysis and decision making.

          • Freeway

            All so Bechtel and other corporations which donate to politicians can make a short-term profit. Years of higher maintenance and the hideous 3rd world appearance of the above ground metro all for that. Imagine. Corruption at its finest and this is rampant in this country unfortunately.

    • Scott

      HAHAHAHAHAHA…Suburban Light Rail

      • Freeway

        That’s a real idea from Tysons down past Skyline but they opted instead for exclusive bus lanes. Look it up. Either way, knowing Fairfax County it will take them 50 years to get it started.

        • Scott

          Suburban light rail doesn’t work. Never has. Never will. There isn’t enough density and it will be a drain on tax payers in perpetuity. If you have to drive to the train station, that means it is a commuter line only and people will not use it regularly except for going to work and the train will never cover costs.

          • Freeway

            you may be right. I’ve lost hope for NOVA. All this wealth and nothing to show for it. Mismanaged transportation infrastructure and some of the worst traffic around with no realistic solution in sight.

          • Scott

            No defense of NOVA management, but trains don’t work in any suburbia. There are only 2 metro systems in the country that operate in the black. Politicians love trains. Citizens don’t love them enough to justify their use.

          • Freeway

            What do you think of metro expansion in NOVA? For example continue the orange line from Vienna to Manassas, Bethesda’s red line to Tyson’s silver line (via 495), Vienna to Alexandria, etc.

          • Tammi Petrine

            The Silver Line put Metro OVER capacity. Why would anyone suggest overloading a poorly designed network even more??? One lane per direction and no express or pull over spots? So sad and for an outrageous price!

          • Freeway

            What do you think is the endgame solution for the hideous traffic in NOVA? For a supposedly wealthy and sophisticated society we live in there must be a solution.

          • Scott

            Well, if there is anything that would make metro more functional it would be a “beltway” train that connected various lines with requiring the need to go into the core of DC, but as I already posted, suburban trains are a financial disaster for municipalities, so I don’t think we should continue to throw good money after bad infrastructure investments.

      • Buzz Fuzz

        I agree…call it Bicycle Light Rail…politics as usual

  • Greg

    The sooner the better. And start with the Lewinsville interchange. Sunday traffic there is horrendous.

  • compactdisqus

    I dunno…maybe drop the toll road fees for residents to help ease traffic on 7???

  • Richard May

    First – the Dulles Toll Road is not in Tyson’s Corner, it is WEST of Tyson’s Corner.
    Second – Just pave over everything and be done with it.


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