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Fairfax County Seeks $132 Million for Soapstone Connector

by Fatimah Waseem April 27, 2018 at 1:30 pm 15 Comments

Nearly $132 million is being sought to fund the Soapstone Connector, a long awaited, half-mile-long extension between Sunrise Valley Drive and Sunset Hills Road.

The funding request for the $169.2 million project comes roughly five years after the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors approved a hybrid design for the project, which will provide an additional overpass over the Dulles Toll Road and ease traffic on south Reston roads.

Major development in the Wiehle-Reston East area, including Comstock’s Reston Station mixed use project, is expected to generate additional traffic on area roadways.

Local and state officials have long identified the need for the project, which aims to alleviate bottlenecks along Wiehle Avenue at Sunset Hills Road and Sunrise Valley Drive and improve connectivity for pedestrians and bicyclists to the Wiehle-East Metrorail Station.

According to preliminary plans, the new road will include a three-lane cross section with one travel lane in each direction and a two-way, left-turn-only lane. Other features include five-foot wide bicycle lanes on each side, a five-foot wide sidewalk on the west side and a 10-foot wide path on the east side.

Construction is not anticipated until after 2023. Additional design, engineering and environmental work is expected to continue through 2022.  In 2014, the county’s board placed the project on its list of high priority projects for 2015 to 2020.

A funding gap of $25 million remains to complete the project. Requests to the Commonwealth Transportation Board have been made. Construction is expected to cost $45 million.

The Northern Virginia Transportation Authority will review the request, which is one of 60 candidate transportation projects in the area. NVATA is seeking public comment on the project on May 10 at 3040 Williams Drive, Suite 100 in Fairfax. Online comments can be submitted through Sunday, May 20.

File photo

  • 30yearsinreston

    Make the developers pay for it
    If we had a supervisor who did her job, it wouldn’t be an issue

    • vdiv

      I’d go a step further and claim that we’ve already paid for it, special tax districts, vehicle property taxes, tolls for roads that should be free, etc, etc.

    • David Romero

      The special transportation tax district is supposed to accomplish that.

    • Bill

      Wow you must really like Hudgins deep down because you can go a day without making a comment about her.

      • 30yearsinreston

        If she did the job she is being paid for, I wouldn’t berate her
        Her incompetence is an affront to all constituents who have live with the results

    • dudewe

      Absolutely! Unfortunately the train has already left the station; it happened when they rezoned the area along Metro with very little thought of the costs needed to improve the infrastructure. The BOS are inept and their decisions are driven by developers and their land use attorneys who are making the big bucks from the redevelopment without paying anywhere need the costs of new infrastructure to handle the traffic generated by their projects.
      To build the connector now is a waste of taxpayer’s money and is a stealth connection to connect to the country club golf course which the new owner wants to develop. Its construction will create more traffic and cause Level of Service E to the Soapstone/Sunrise Valley intersection. Widening Sunrise should be priority one not a new connector between Sunrise and Sunset Hills.

      • 30yearsinreston

        The Golf Courses are history
        Bulova let the cat out of the bag because she couldn’t resist opening her mouth

  • Greg

    If construction is expected to cost $45 million, then why is the funding request $169.2 million?

    • 30yearsinreston

      It doesnt include the cost for woonerfs and bike lanes within 5 miles

    • MakeRestonBetter

      The actual construction is only one part of the financing piece. The engineering end of things, land acquisition, environmental studies, etc. make any road construction much more expensive than just the cost of the physical work. It is really distressing how bloated the numbers for construction of basic infrastructure have risen in this country. People gripe about the bike and pedestrian infrastructure, but that’s a tiny piece of the overall crazy cost. For a project like the Soapstone Connector that is designed to get all kinds of multi-modal traffic to the Metro, the increased numbers of cyclists and pedestrians who will use means that infrastructure has to be part of the design to protect them.

  • Arielle in NoVA

    This has been needed for an incredibly long time. I love that it’s finally being taken seriously; I don’t love that it’s being put off for another 5 years or more. Finish the environmental and planning surveys now! Developers of Reston Town Center and along Soapstone should have been required to proffer money toward it already – before they could start building – and that money should have been used to build the connector before those developments were completed.

    • 30yearsinreston

      developer proffers are not a Hudgins concern

  • Госпла́н ☆

    I am paying for the soapstone connector now so that it can be built in 2023! Honestly, I would rather give that money to my two children.

    Since we needed this bridge yesterday or today we will have to deal with bad traffic for the next five years! Most people by then have work arounds or have moved on.

    Lets cancel this master piece of poor 5 yr planning.

  • Nearby Resident

    The longer the connector id delayed, the more continued development will limit its utility. Environmental planning assumes that development will follow a plan, but the plan changes with each new project. We should have the infrastructure guide development, not the other way around.

    • Guest

      There is no “need” for any connector whatsoever,save in the fertile imaginations of the development community and BoS. Why do we continue to subsidize those who would ruin Reston?

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