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To Close Funding Gap, County Board Approves $40 Million for Route 7 Widening

by Fatimah Waseem June 20, 2018 at 2:30 pm 33 Comments

The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors will contribute up to $40 million to help close a funding a gap in the widening of Route 7.

The $278 million project, which will widen Route 7 between Reston Avenue and Jarrett Valley Drive from four to six lanes, will cost roughly 95 million more than what engineers’ originally estimated.

The board unanimously voted to approve additional funds on Tuesday (June 19). The Virginia Department of Transportation is expected to also contribute up to $40 million.

Tom Biesiadny, director of the Fairfax County Department of Transportation, said cost overruns were linked primarily to how the contract was bid. The state is currently negotiating between two offerors who offered bids above the estimated price. The contract is a design-to-build, which is costlier than design-to-bid projects and would allow the project to begin two years earlier than originally anticipated,  Biesiadny said.

Officials hope to reduce the expected costs of the project by negotiating with the two offerors. Final bid offers must be in by early July.

Most funding to meet the gap will be taken from dollars allocated for Tysons projects. A plan to widen Frying Pan Road will also be deferred, Biesiadny said.

Biesiadny said bicycle and pedestrian improvements are also planned along the seven-mile stretch, which he said connects Reston and Tysons.

It provides benefits to both of those areas by allowing traffic to move more quickly through those areas, reduc[ing] congestion, but also provid[ing[ bicycle and pedestrian improvements and bus stop improvements,” he said.

File photo via FCDOT

  • Worlds 1st

    Medians are not required since the near future will feature self driving cars. Instead we should be looking at dynamically shifting lanes that accommodate traffic on an as need basis: 3 outbound (am), 3 inbound (pm). Progress!

    • Mike M

      If they raided the County welfare programs, they might have the money without deferring any other infrastructure investments. Clearly they have a substantial backlog with all the development they have approved in Reston alone!

      • Worlds 1st

        I was mostly promoting technology not poverty. Can technology fix poverty? APparently yes but it takes a strong leader, ask any East Indian. 20 years back 60% of Indians lived in extreme poverty, now 60% represent the middle class. If India can do this we can. MAGA

        • Mike M

          Twenty years back was before the US aggressive sought to attain freer trade by accepting imbalanced trade agreements that would improve world trade but at the expense of many Americans. The US will never get credit for that. But the downsides served up one Donald Trump with a vengeance! By the way, Indians still have much lower expectations. Many of our so-called poverty-stricken live better than India’s middle class. To your question can technology fix poverty? It’s not heading in that direction at the moment. Probably. But I haven’t heard any good ideas other than aiding and abetting Socialism and that will not work.

        • KP

          The short answer: not in this political climate.

  • Greg

    “…Tuesday (June 20).”

    Tuesday, June 19, 2018.

  • Chuck Morningwood

    offerors = bidders

  • 30yearsinreston

    While the rest of FC gets road improvements, Reston gets toll increases, bike lanes, grid lock and experimental woonfers.
    The difference is that we have Hudgins and they dont

    • Bigjer

      Really isn’t this a road improvement FOR Reston?

      • 30yearsinreston

        No

    • shamrock

      Doesn’t this allow Reston residents to avoid the toll road and get to and from Tysons?

  • 30yearsinreston

    Bike lanes on Route 7 will be a death trap

    • Greg

      And a huge waste of money. This is not extra painted lanes, bike sensors embedded in the road, and “sharrows” on the road; it’s dedicated lanes on both sides of the land-limited road.

      Cut the fluff and frills!

      Also, negotiate the cuts BEFORE to agree to pay more, BoS!

    • Mike M

      Unreal! Un-freaking-real!
      What’s next? The toll road?

      • suspicious_package

        Why not the toll road?

        • Mike M

          Putting bikes next to cars traveling at 55mph+?

        • Greg

          Let the bikers pay the same tolls, taxes, insurance, inspection, and fees that motorists do and then we can discuss ways forward.

          • suspicious_package

            Drivers pay for less than half the cost of the roads. They pay almost nothing for the pollution, environmental and societal costs of driving. They underpay for parking and crash damage, and publicly-owned roads represent billions of dollars in lost revenue. Point being, driving is heavily subsidized (about 45 cents a mile). By whom? By people who don’t drive – like cyclists. When drivers start paying their way then we can discuss how fair it is that cyclists don’t pay the same kinds of taxes.

          • Greg

            When you fix all of society’s alleged issues, come talk to us.

            But, please, start with metro so we can reduce tolls. For all.

          • suspicious_package

            OK. But in the meantime, we can put a shared use path along Route 7 and keep open the possibility of another one along the toll road – where it makes sense.

    • Willie Reston

      Where does it say bike lanes? I believe the previous article mentioned bike/pedestrian paths, aka sidewalks that are several feet off the road.

      • Greg

        Googling skills are weak, William.

        http://connectroute7.org/learn_more/default.asp

        “Adding [wasteful, unneeded] 10-foot wide shared-use paths on both sides of the road.”

        • Willie Reston

          How embarrassing for you! A shared-use path is not a bike lane. It is exactly what I said it is – a pedestrian/bike path that runs parallel to the road but is not a part of the road, a la the path on the side of the Fairfax County Parkway. Time to hang it up, Gregory.

        • suspicious_package

          Greg, I think he just – as the kids put it – pwned you.

  • OneReally

    How many times will they defer widening Frying Pan? That road is a death trap and log jam.

    They have to widening RT 7 from all of the bail out traffic off the Toll road.

  • Why do you bother?

    And I thought I was the only one who can’t count to two.

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