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Fairfax County Seeks Public Comment on Soapstone Drive Extension Tonight

by Fatimah Waseem November 8, 2017 at 2:45 pm 24 Comments

Plans to extend Soapstone Drive could move forward as Fairfax County officials seek public comment tonight on the project, which would create an additional crossing on the Dulles Toll Road for cars, pedestrians and cyclists.

At Dogwood Elementary School (12300 Glade Drive) from 6:30 – 8:30 p.m., the floor will be open for the public to comment on a environmental assessment completed as part of a multi-step process since the Board of Supervisors approved the project in 2014. The study examines the potential effects of the project for properties listed in or eligible for the National Register of Historical Places, the country’s official list of historic sites worthy of preservation.

The new roadway will provide a half-mile extension between Sunrise Valley Drive and Sunset Hills Road and a new crossing over the Dulles Corridor. County officials have said the project is necessary to tackle congestion on Wiehle Avenue, limited access for buses to Wiehle-Reston East Station and the lack of connectivity for pedestrians and bicyclists in the area.

Completed in August, the assessment reviews impacts of the project on surrounding land. For example, the assessment finds the project rests within 200 feet of on two sites with hazardous materials and would result in increased noise for two areas near the project.

Overall, the assessment concludes the project will not “contribute substantially to cumulative impacts, particularly in light of the efforts to minimize adverse impacts of the project and other mitigation measures to be implemented.”

Following the public hearing, the county will revise the assessment as needed and submit it to the Federal Highway Administration, the body which will make a decision about the feasibility of the project.

In 2014, the county’s supervisors included $2.5 million for the preliminary design of this project as part of its Six Year Transportation Project Priorities. At that time, they also put the project — estimated to cost $91.75 million — on the county’s list of high-priority projects for 2015-20.

More information on the project is available on the county’s website. Written or oral comments may be submitted at the hearing or in writing within 10 days after the hearing to [email protected]. Include “Soapstone Connector” in the subject line.

  • OneReally

    Where are the tolls going to be located?

    • Sam

      I don’t believe it will connect to Toll Rd — just provide another crossing north to south.

      • OneReally

        shhh. sarcasm was in play here.

  • Greg

    Why does the federal government have anything to do with a 1/2 mile local street extension?

    BTW — Paragraph three should be Sunrise Valley — not Sunset Valley.

    • Tom

      I’ve lived in Reston for 13 years and I STILL get Sunrise Valley and Sunset Hills mixed up.

      • Greg

        Maybe the new editor can do a story on the street names. I believe Sunset Hills predates Reston, and I imagine Sunrise Valley must have been a play on that original name. Perhaps to confuse everyone?

        • Cubsfan6116

          Yup. Sunset Hills was the original name for the small settlement near Old Reston Ave and Sunset Hills Road. Sunrise was an attempt to mirror that. Loudoun did the same thing with Atlantic Blvd and Pacific Blvd.

      • RestonGrandma

        I have lived here for 47 years and I still have to think for a moment – Sunset, Sunrise? Seems harder than Atlantic, Pacific.

  • Guest

    Environmental assessment or not, still trying to figure out why it’s going to take more than two decades after the initial 2009 RMAG recommendation to build a bridge across the Dulles Corridor from Soapstone to Sunset Hills.

    How many years of county salaries will be paid before this gets done?

    • Greg

      And likely cost way north of $100 million. Most expensive road to nowhere ever.

    • Space__jockey

      Don’t you see the comments from the nervous Nellies of reston? All our whackado neighbors who want to but a glass bubble around reston so it never changes rail against every project proposed.

  • jak1230594383

    Finally there will be any easy way to get from South Reston to the power transformers and bucket trucks at Sunset Hills there!

  • TheKingJAK

    It’s actually a horrible idea for Soapstone. Through-traffic will intensify tremendously as it has on Wiehle Avenue, but Soapstone is even less capable of dealing with it. Maybe they should wait for the Metro extension to be completed before even considering another crossing, since the other stations may very well disperse some of the current traffic headed towards the station on Wiehle Avenue.

    • John Farrell

      Get this thing built yesterday, please!!

    • Space__jockey

      For the silent majority of reston that embraces progress please go tonight and give a counter point to the chicken Littles of reston that want to keep us in the 1970s in color scheme and infrastructure. This overpass is badly needed and sticking your head in the sand and hoping traffic will fix itself is just dumb.

    • Space__jockey

      How is building abother road going to increase traffic? Traffic is a function of people, not roads. If anything this will reduce traffic on reston parkas and wiehle as they are parallel paths to the extension. Please try to think more about how the traffic really works, may be use matchbox cars on a mat with some different road configurations.

  • David from Lakebreeze

    They excluded the environmental impact on Lake Thoreau from the scope of the study even though Soapstone crosses the watershed and street runoff, including oil, from Soapstone ends up in the lake.
    They also excluded consideration of impacts on neighborhoods south of the golf course, even though some 16,000 cars per day are expected to use the crossing. Health consequences from exhaust from cars and trucks are well known, and the absence of significant setbacks on Soapstone south of the golf course only make the health and noise considerations more significant.
    Finally, no consideration was given to the effect on Ridge Heights from greatly increased Soapstone traffic. School kids and parents will face greatly increased cut-through traffic from South Lakes to Soapstone.
    Ion all, while existing traffic is bad, the crossing will do no good if it is only used to justify higher density development in the Neighborhoods.

    • vdiv

      NP, bicycles and pedestrians only.

      • davidfromlakewinds

        I don’t know what NP means, but the Soapstone overpass is designed for cars, trucks, buses, bicycles and pedestrians.

    • Mike M

      But, but, what about the Pomeranian Humped Back Cricket!
      ([email protected]!)

    • Space__jockey

      It is also not a lake. It is a water management feature that would be completely toxic with rotting plants without human interaction.

  • John Farrell

    So let the construction contract already!

  • Cubsfan6116

    I live off Soapstone in South Reston and cannot wait for this to be built. The congestion crossing the DTR on the Parkway, Reston Parkway, and Wiehle Avenue is due to the fact that there are no other ways across. All traffic must funnel from streets like Town Center Pkwy, Old Reston Avenue, Soapstone Drive, and South Lakes Drive onto these few crossings. This crossing, along with the Town Center underpass and South Lakes overpass will disperse traffic and provide more options (including ones that aren’t frightening to walk/bike across).

    • Mike M

      I have to agree. I wish the development weren’t approved until this was planned. The development is here. Now we need the infrastructure. This should actually be good for Restonians as the commuters will want to connect to the toll road via Wiehle and Reston parkway.

      My only question: Is this serious?

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