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Route 7 Widening Project to Tysons Hit by Funding Gap

by RestonNow.com June 14, 2018 at 1:30 pm 55 Comments

An additional $40 million is being sought to begin widening a seven-mile stretch of Route 7 between Reston Avenue and Jarrett Valley Drive.

State officials’ estimates of the overall $278 million project came in $95 million above the amount originally anticipated by the proposal. The project has been bid and is ready for construction, pending the approval of additional funding.

The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors will consider approving funding at their June 19 meeting.

Once the funding gap has been bridged, construction will begin to widen Route 7 from four to six lanes with intersection improvements and the addition of a shared-use path on both sides of the roadway. County and state officials said the project is necessary to reduce congestion, improve safety and boost mobility for bicyclists and pedestrians.

Officials said the project came in nearly $1 million above estimates due to the competitive market generated by ongoing construction in Northern Virginia, several challenging utility relocations (including a $200 million upgrade project by Washington Gas) and the more than 230 property transactions required to ensure right-of-way.

The county is considering pitching in $23 million in funding that was not previously allocated by the board. Dollars will be drawn from the following project:  Route 123’s widening ($13 million), Frying Pan road widening ($3 million) and a park and ride expansion at the Lorton VRE ($690,470). The Virginia Department of Transportation will provide up to $40 million in state funding.

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.

Map via VDOT

  • Stop Virginia

    Next headline: “Tolls Planned for Route 7”

    • 30yearsinreston

      A ‘public private partnership’

    • Mike M

      Ouch! Direct hit!

  • Umust B Kidding

    Rather than provide added funding, GET ANOTHER CONTRACTOR. If this contractor can’t meet his obligations under the existing contract, no reason to keep him.

    But, no, the idiots at the Taj (& Richmond) will dig deeper into OUR pockets to find the extra money–and you know this won’t be the end.

    • John Higgins

      You have to do a bit of between-the-lines reading here. At this point, there is no contract and no company has an “obligation”. What we are hearing is that there is a proposal that is higher than the funding available from VDOT. If the county increases its contribution, so too will VDOT, and a contract can be signed and work begun.
      Note also that none of the additional money will come from the county’s general fund (our tax dollars.) They are reallocating money from other projects and from revenues you and I did not pay. (Someone is paying, but this time it is not us.)

      • Greg

        Is there only one proposal / bidder / contractor?

        Are tolls, HOT lanes or both options?

        Why can’t some of the frills be cut? Do we really need ANY shared-use paths let alone TWO of them?

        Can the lanes not be narrowed to eliminate some or all of the 230 property transactions?

        Can the rarely-mowed, overgrown median be eliminated to cut immediate and long-term maintenance costs?

        How is it that Harry Byrd Highway (Rt. 7 west of Reston) has been widened and fitted with grade-separated interchanges? There’s only one traffic light left between 28 and Leesburg.

        We don’t see any shared-use paths out that way…

        • Reston Realist

          Not sure where all your anger is coming from… it’s very typical for the municipality to estimate the cost of construction and then put it out to competitive bidding. Evidently, this is the best bid they could get. That’s what happens during an economic growth cycle and that’s also why it’s best to take on these type of projects during a recessionary period….. However during a recession no one wants to spend money on anything – and rightly so. Be thankful that the project is going to start and get completed…..It’s well overdue

        • 30yearsinreston

          The answer to your questions is :
          They dont have Hudgins or do gooders ‘representing’ them
          Loudon County is NOT a exclusive Democrat domain

        • WW

          Rt. 7 west of Reston traversed fields of hay. Way easier to build when there is no existing infrastructure to move / accommodate. How Loudon votes has little to do with geography. However, how Loudon grows has everything to do with traffic, because the work being done on Rt. 7, to a large degree with funding from Fairfax County taxpayers, has everything to do with increasing throughput for out-of-county commuters.

          As for shared-use paths, I guess you’d have a choice- either put a path on just one side and have pedestrian controlled lights all over the place so people can access the one path on one side of the road, or you put in two paths and do away with the impediment to flow while dramatically improving safety for the non-motoring public.

          And that leads to your other gripe – about just removing the green median. Here again safety is an issue. On Fairfax County Pkwy they expanded the road by taking away some of that median, and now, if you’ve noticed, they had to install barriers because in accidents cars have made it across into opposing traffic. And imagine how an accident like that would impede your commute.

          All that being said, what we’re paying for this project is ridiculous. And you can bet that just like any other blacktop project, this one will deliver a roadway that will require serious maintenance in the not-too-distant future. At our expense of course.

          • Greg

            Let me guess — a biker. Imagine that.

          • WW

            Let me guess – you’re commenting just for sport, having read nothing and having learned nothing. Go troll somewhere else.

          • Greg

            You’ve affirmed my guess; proven my point.

        • Spending spree

          Many of these 230 properties are purely speculative: dilapidated and overprized, not even occupied. See for yourself. Right now is the worst time to do this project. Eliminating the median on some stretches would be fine.

      • Umust B Kidding

        Are you saying the state funding doesn’t at least partially come from us? And the “other projects” not being done because of the re-allocation will just have to be funded with new tax dollars–yours, mine, and maybe state-wide $$$$.

        • John Higgins

          I can’t say just where the state funding comes from. Federal grants, gasoline tax, sales tax, tolls, bonds, income tax…it’s a long list. So, yes, some at least partially comes from us. Less clear is that we pay more. The projects from which the funding was taken may be scaled down or eliminated. Or the funds from which is comes will be replaced by future taxes on commercial entities that pay into those funds. That’s why I said someone is paying, but this time not us.

  • Greg

    Paging the mathlete and paging the editor:

    State officials’ estimates of the overall $278 million project came in $95 million above the amount originally anticipated by the proposal.”

    “Officials said the project came in nearly $1 million above estimates.”

    IS the $278 million project $95 million or $1 million above estimates?

    What does Washington Gas’ $200 million upgrade have to do with the cost of widening Leesburg Pike?

    And, if the county is pitching in $23 million and the Commonwealth, up to $40 million, where does the additional $32 million come from?

    • John Higgins

      It’s unfortunate, but true, that explaining complex funding arrangements in a brief article invites confusion and error. The $23mm mentioned here is in addition to funds that had already been allocated by the BOS. The county and VDOT are kicking in an additional $40mm each and VDOT aims to reduce the now-estimated cost ($278mm) through scope reduction and other savings opportunities. We shall see.
      The mention of Washington Gas $200mm project is less than clear. WashGas is doing a major upgrade in the same footprint as this roadway expansion. That adds an additional element of risk for the VDOT contractor; it’s understandable that they include this potential additional cost in their bid…we are just not told how much it is.

  • 30yearsinreston

    More bike lanes and woonerfs will fix the problem
    Look how well they are working in Reston

    Where’s Mr speaker wannabe Plum?
    Still whining about how hard his job is and having another extended vacation ?

    Why isnt Hudgins asking the developers for a contribution ?
    Silly me, I forgot she doesnt think infrastructure is required

    • The education of KP

      A woonfer without cobblestones is less romantic but as KP has learned on one of his European vacations it is quite plausible that earlier revolutions began with cobblestones.

      So no cobblestones, just woonfers.

      • Greg

        Oh, the cobblestoned irony!

  • Mike M

    Before it collapses, the citizens of the US will come to understand that their massive and inefficient welfare state was not sustainable. Had they ditched it, they would have found infrastructure improvements remarkably affordable. The Obama years were the time to cut back in massive and unproductive expenditure in favor of infrastructure investment in the most powerful economy in the world. Interests rates were telling us that. But we were too busy flattering ourselves that we were wonderful because we were handing out free lunches at the expense of our grandchildren. Sorry about that grand kids. But we did feel the righteous rush. Grant us that!

    • Willie Reston

      By golly, you’re right! We should strip away safety nets for our poorest citizens to pay for new roads and let the filthy rich keep every last nickel. While we’re at it, let’s cut taxes for the uber-wealthy! As our lord and savior Ronny Reagan once promised us, trickle-down economics will solve everything!

      • Mike M

        Half wit, look at what I said. I stand by it. Why put words in my mouth. Oh, right, it makes it easier for half wits to refute.

        • OneReally

          MM your having a intellectual fight with an unarmed person.

          That’s just not fair!

          • Mike M

            You are right. I apologize.

        • Willie Reston

          You are massively mistaken and have it completely backwards if you think the country is going to collapse because the bottom 10% are getting too much. You complain about our poor investments in infrastructure and your solution is to blame the meager benefits paid to the poorest segment of society? Where do you think all the real money has actually gone, Mike? Try getting your information from somewhere other than Koch-funded sources, please.

          • Greg

            $23 trillion “invested” in the war on poverty. Those handouts are far from meager.

          • 30yearsinreston

            If finance is your bag , Its more cost effective than fighting wars against people.

          • Greg

            Really? Then why are more people living in poverty than ever?

          • Willie Reston

            Because our rich corporate overlords don’t pay their workers enough and so it becomes a government problem. Said overlords have also bought off the government so of course they’re not gonna do a darn thing to change it. They also spend a fortune on misinformation dissemination to the folks on the right 🙂

          • Mike M

            Defense could take a hit too. But defense is essential and expensive. Do we spend too much there, yes.

            But NO, it is not more cost effective.

          • Willie Reston

            Provide a source for that number. Regardless, there wouldn’t need to be a war on poverty if workers were paid reasonable wages.

          • Greg

            Google it yourself. It’s widely available.

            Also, focus. Stay on topic.

            We are discussing a road-widening project here.

          • Willie Reston

            That’s exactly right, Gregory. In an article about a road widening project, Mike M went off on a wild tangent about welfare, the Obama administration, the jobs market, and the potential collapse of the USA as we know it. I merely responded to his misguided ranting.

            Please do focus. Please do stay on topic. For the betterment of our discussions that you have so much trouble keeping up with.

          • Greg

            You are something else. Good for a chuckle, though 🙂

          • Willie Reston

            Thanks for admitting your defeat.

          • Mike M

            The bottom 50% are getting too much. But look at where our spending goes. It goes to a massive welfare state that produces nothing. We are borrowing massively to sustain it. It is not sustainable.

            https://www.nationalpriorities.org/budget-basics/federal-budget-101/spending/

          • Willie Reston

            Pull the rug out from under the bottom 50% and see how quickly you get that revolution you perplexingly seem to be longing for.

          • Mike M

            So, your notion is to throw free stuff at people so they won’t hurt you. Typical of fearful Ls. Mind you the “safety net” has been steadily expanding. Shall we extend it to 75% on some form of handout? There was no need to expand it. There was no threat of revolution in 1950. Back to my original point. We have real things to buy to help the economy grow. But as early as 2018 we can see our ability to address the infrastructure deficit is slipping beyond our grasp. Consequences will be dire. Most will be looking for help and there will be no one to foot the bill or even qualify for the international loans. Meanwhile, we cannot sustain the welfare state, let alone grow it as the left constantly urges in their quest to buy votes with our grandchildren’s money. I already made my point. You have yet to offer any refutation.

          • Willie Reston

            In 1950 even poor people earned living wages.

            You and I agree that more needs to be spent on infrastructure and we don’t seem to have enough money to do it. But you honestly think it’s because poor people have taken all the money? REALLY?! You don’t think all that money got sucked right up to the top?
            And you keep saying I bring no points to the discussion even though I routinely do and routinely outclass you. Your overwhelming ignorance toward facts does not mean those facts don’t exist. You model yourself after your Dear Leader too much in this regard.

          • Mike M

            Willie, I doubt you ever outclassed anyone or anything in an way. Who said anything about “poor people.” You did. It is a simple objective fact that the majority of what we throw federal money at ever year is mandatory expenditure most of which is entitlement. We have decades of evidence that the programs are not solvin any big picture problem. But there is all manner of welfare. You don’t have to be poor to benefit. Did you know there are counties in Virginia where more than 30% of the population is living off federal entitlements. Some of these people are former truck drivers who suffer from obesity. Living wages? People lives with less in the 1950s. If you can’t afford it, the government should be borrowing to get it for you. Welfare was never meant to be permanent nor multigenerational. But it is. It is waste.

          • Willie Reston

            Again, it looks like companies aren’t compensating their employees fairly. In prior generations they did – you know, like in the 1950s. In 2018, people work two shifts per day at Walmart and Wendy’s and still don’t have enough money to pay for both rent and food. The government buttresses these families with critical benefits such as food stamps.

            Your solution to our national debt/deficit addiction is to take these basic benefits away from our poorest citizens. Never mind the corporate welfare and tax cuts for the wealthy. Let me guess – you profess to be a Christian, too. Get f_cked.

          • Mike M

            Marxism? Potty mouth. Nice package.

        • 30yearsinreston

          Half wits repeat dogma
          Congratulations for joining the clan

          • Mike M

            All you have is an insult. I had facts that you obviously don;t like. Willie earned the insult. He questions that the majority of our national spending is on mandatory programs and largely entitlements. Simple fact.

          • Willie Reston

            Social Security and Medicare are lumped into that “entitlement” figure and inflate the number by an enormous amount. And if you think Social Security and Medicare are “entitlements” or “welfare” I encourage you to take a look at your pay stub. Assuming you have a job, of course.

          • Mike M

            You are not worth the time. Scroll up and look what I wrote. It’s all true.

    • 30yearsinreston

      Trickle down economics has proven to be a sham
      There is not one example where it has worked even though it has been tried on numerous occasions
      Always it has resulted in a eventual revolution of the poorer against the oligarchy because they have had enough
      Despair breeds revolution

      I suggest you read up on history before you spout Ayn Rand dogma

      • Mike M

        Who said anything about trickle down economics? Not I. Keep up with what I actually said. Nothing controversial. Just a little reminder of the obvious for the left. Its a reality they know, but want to ignore. Refute one point I made originally?

  • OneReally

    Frying pan needs to be widened for sure. That road is dangerous.

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