by Fatimah Waseem April 23, 2019 at 10:45 am 0

Despite a toll increase that went into effect in January, more drivers are using the Dulles Toll Road than the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority anticipated.

Between January and March, tolls brought in $46.4 million — 31 percent more compared to the same period last year. That gives the MWAA $11.2 million to work with in order to fund phase two of the Silver Line.

Even though the number of toll transactions dipped by 4.8 percent compared to the previous year, transactions were 1.3 percent higher than MWAA expected. So far this year, there have been 21.7 million transactions.

The cost of operations also increased this year. Year-to-date expenses were $1.3 million or 17 percent higher than the same period last year. MWAA attributed this increase to $1 million in operating expenses for expanded service and $300,000 in transaction fees.

Toll prices increased for the first time in four years from $2.50 to $3.25 and from $1 to $1.50 at ramps in order to cover phase two of the Silver Line past Reston Town Center to Dulles International Airport and Ashburn. Another increase is expected in 2023.

Photo via MWAA

by Catherine Douglas Moran January 22, 2019 at 1:15 pm 0

Construction work on the second phase of the Metrorail Silver Line project brings lane and ramp closures from Monday (Jan. 21) until Saturday (Jan. 26).

Most of the closures avoid prime rush hour times.

In a post about the closures, the Dulles Corridor Metrorail Project reminds drivers to use caution; remain attentive to all signage, barricades and speed limits; and obey all police and flagger instructions. Work is subject to weather changes.

Eastbound on the Dulles Toll Road has a left lane closures from 500 feet west of the Reston Parkway Overpass to 300 feet before the Wiehle Avenue Overpass from Monday until Wednesday. The lane will be closed from 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. each day.

Then, from Wednesday through Friday, a left lane will be closed from 200 feet west of the Hunter Mill Road Bridge to 700 feet before the Beulah Road Overpass. This will take place from 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.

A final left lane closure eastbound on the Dulles Toll Road will stretch from 400 feet west of the Wiehle Avenue Overpass to 600 feet before the Hunter Mill Road Bridge. This is scheduled for 9:30 a.m. until 3:30 p.m., starting Tuesday and ending on Friday.

Two triple left lane closures are also slated from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. They are the following:

  • Monday to Tuesday: from just west of Centreville Road to Herndon Station
  • Tuesday to Wednesday: from Van Buren Street to Reston Town Center Station

The toll road will also have alternating right and left lane closures from just west of the Route 28 Overpass to the Reston Parkway Overpass. The times for this are:

  • Monday to Friday: 10 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., 9 p.m. to 5 a.m.
  • Saturday: 10 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., 8 p.m. to 5 a.m.

Westbound on the Dulles Toll Road also alternating right and left lane closures between the Route 28 and Reston Parkway overpasses. The times for this are:

  • Monday to Friday: 9:30 a.m. to 3 p.m., 8 p.m. to 5 a.m.
  • Saturday: 10 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., 8 p.m. to 5 a.m.

Westbound also has two triple left lane closures from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. They are:

  • Wednesday to Thursday: from Reston Parkway to the west end of Herndon Station
  • Thursday to Friday: from Van Buren Street to the west end of Innovation Station

Eastbound on Sunset Hills Road will have alternating right and left lane closures from 400 feet west of Town Center Parkway to the Bechtel Building Entrance. The civil work will take place from 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. from Monday until Thursday and from 9: 30 a.m. to noon on Friday.

 Eastbound on Herndon Parkway from 1,000 feet east of Van Buren Street to 800 feet west of Exchange Place will have a right lane closed from 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. from Monday until Thursday and from 9:30 a.m. to noon on Friday.

Several different spots westbound on Sunrise Valley Drive will have closed right lanes from 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. from Monday to Thursday and from 9:30 a.m. to noon on Friday, including:

  • from Dulles Technology Drive to Dulles Station Blvd
  • from Thunder Chase Drive to Millburn Lane
  • from Reston Parkway to 200 feet west of Edmund Halley Drive

Edmund Halley Drive will have a right shoulder closed from 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. from Monday to Thursday and from 9:30 a.m. to noon on Friday.

Image via Google Maps

by Catherine Douglas Moran December 13, 2018 at 10:15 am 30 Comments

Updated at 9:52 a.m. — United Airlines said that it does not receive a special jet fuel tax break. 

Del. Elizabeth Guzman unveiled a bill yesterday that would lower the tolls on Dulles Toll Road, one month after the toll hikes were approved for next year.

The bill would offset some of the upcoming toll increases by ending what Guzman calls United Airlines’ “jet fuel tax exemption” and directing that roughly $4 million per year toward the Silver Line project, which is currently funded largely by tolls.

That revenue could cancel almost 9 percent of the scheduled 2019 toll increase, according to a press release from UNITE HERE Local 23.

“United Airlines does not receive a special tax break and pays the same jet fuel tax as all other airlines that serve airports in the Commonwealth,” Kimberly Gibbs, a spokeswoman for United Airlines, said.

Gibbs added that the second phase of the Silver Line “will benefit residents, employers and businesses throughout the Dulles corridor.”

In Virginia, larger airlines like United Airlines pay less per gallon in taxes on most of the jet fuel they use, the press release says.

The Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority Board of Directors voted Nov. 14 to increase rates on the Dulles Toll Road for the first time since 2014 to fund the Silver Line extension project and improvements on the Dulles Toll Road, according to the MWAA. Starting in January, the hike will raise the toll from $2.50 to $3.25 at the main toll plaza and from $1 to $1.50 on ramps.

The bill responds to community concerns about the increasing tolls, which are expected to rise to more than $11 by 2043 without alternative funding, the press release said.

“Virginia continues to face a transportation infrastructure funding crisis,” Guzman said. “But Virginia commuters should not be asked to accept higher tolls to fund transit projects that benefit United Airlines, while the airline receives millions in state tax breaks.”

Dels. Kaye Kory and Lee Carter, Virginia AFL-CIO, UNITE HERE Local 23 and CASA in Action, joined Guzman by the windows outside the United Airlines ticketing counters on Wednesday (Dec. 12) at 5 p.m. for the announcement about the bill.

Supporters of the bill argue that the Silver Line project will redirect more of the consumer air traffic market to Dulles International Airport, bringing an additional $66 million to United Airlines with 1 percent more of the regional passenger airline market.

Similar efforts in New Jersey are also underway. In September, the New Jersey Senate passed similar legislation to end United’s jet fuel tax break there to fund aviation-related transit projects.

“Commuters and every other business along the Dulles Corridor are already paying their fair share for the Silver Line. United Airlines should too,” Doris Crouse-Mays, president of the Virginia AFL-CIO, said.

Photo via Nova Labor/Facebook

by Catherine Douglas Moran November 15, 2018 at 10:15 am 63 Comments

The Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority Board of Directors voted Wednesday (Nov. 14) to increase rates on the Dulles Toll Road for the first time since 2014.

The hike will raise the toll from $2.50 to $3.25 at the main toll plaza and from $1 to $1.50 on ramps, starting in January. The rate increases are necessary to fund the Silver Line extension project and improvements on the Dulles Toll Road, according to the MWAA.

The decision came “after careful consideration of public input received at the three toll rate public hearings held this summer, the public comments received on-line and the recommendation of the Dulles Corridor Advisory Committee,” said Warner Session, chairman of the Airports Authority Board.

In 2014, an agreement froze increases before tolls rose again to continue funding Silver Line construction. “Under the contract governing construction of the Silver Line, the Airports Authority is required to use revenues from the toll road to help fund the [Silver Line] project,” according to a Nov. 14 MWAA press release, adding that other funding includes Fairfax and Loudoun counties, the Commonwealth of Virginia, the Airports Authority and the federal government.

Last month, a federal appeals court in Richmond affirmed the dismissal of a lawsuit challenging the tolls helping to fund the Silver Line construction.

MWAA held a public hearing in Reston back in July to hear feedback on the proposed rate increases. The Dulles Corridor Advisory Committee reviewed and recommended the rates adopted by MWAA’s Board, according to the press release.

The next expected toll rate increase is planned for 2023.

Photo via MWAA 

by RestonNow.com September 19, 2018 at 6:10 pm 3 Comments

A stinky situation on the Dulles Toll Road has resulted in a lane closure and a significant cleanup effort.

A garbage truck’s load of trash caught fire this afternoon, shortly after 4 p.m., prompting the truck driver to dump the burning refuse on the side of the westbound Dulles Toll Road near Wiehle Avenue.

The fire was extinguished and the effort to remove the charred garbage is now underway. According to WTOP, the ramp from Wiehle Avenue to the westbound lanes of the toll road are currently blocked.

by RestonNow.com July 11, 2018 at 3:30 pm 2 Comments

Beginning tomorrow (July 12) and on Friday night (July 13), triple lane closures on planned on the Dulles Toll Road after 10 p.m.

Dulles Corridor Metrorail Project crews will continue to install equipment under the pedestrians bridges at the Reston Town Center and Herndon Metrorail Stations that cross over the eastbound and Westbound lanes of the Dulles Toll Road.

Three lanes will be closed, resulting in 20-minute traffic halts after midnight each night.

Beginning Thursday at 10 p.m., three left lanes of the eastbound Dulles Toll Road will be closed to traffic between the Monroe/Van Buren Street and Reston Parkway overpasses. One right lane will be open to traffic and 20-minute stoppages will occur in the right lane of the eastbound lanes after midnight. Lanes will reopen on Friday at 5 p.m.

On Friday at 10 p.m., the three left lanes of the westbound Dulles Toll Road will be closed to traffic between the Wiehle Avenue and the Monroe Street/Van Buren Street overpasses. One right lane will be open to traffic and 20-minute stoppages are planned after midnight on the right westbound lane and on the ramp from Fairfax County Parkway to the westbound Dulles Toll Road lanes.

Normal operations will resume on Saturday (July 14) at 6 a.m. Utility work is expected to continue through July.

Maps via Dulles Corridor Metrorail Project

by Fatimah Waseem June 26, 2018 at 10:15 am 21 Comments

The Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority will hold a public hearing in Reston on July 17 to hear feedback on proposed rate increases along the Dulles Toll Road.

Under the proposal, commuters would pay fifty cents more at ramp plazas and seventy-five cents more at the mainline plaza beginning in 2019. According to the MWAA, rate increases are necessary to fund the Silver Line extension project and improvements on the Dulles Toll Road.

The public hearing is scheduled for July 17 from 5-8 p.m. at South Lakes High School (11400 South Lakes Drive). Two other hearings will be held at Spring Hill Elementary School in McLean and Stone Bridge High School in Ashburn.

Attendees are encouraged to comment on how the planned toll increase of $1.25 for a typical Dulles Toll Road trip should be allocated between ramp and mainline plazas. The MWAA is also seeking comments on whether toll plaza lanes that allow customers to pay with cash should be converted to “E-ZPass only” tolling.

Comments on other operational improvements, including whether or not credit cards should be accepted at toll plaza lanes, are also encouraged.

MWAA representatives will be on site to discuss the proposal. Translators will also be available at each public hearing. The public engagement period will run from July 2 through August 3. Comments can be submitted to [email protected].

The MWAA’s board is expected to vote on planned toll increase later this year.

by RestonNow.com June 19, 2018 at 1:30 pm 17 Comments

Commuters on the Dulles Toll Road could pay 75 cents more at the main toll plaza and 50 cents more at each ramp. The proposal will be presented to the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority’s Board of Directors on Wednesday (June 20).

If approved by the board, tolls would increase from $3.50 to $4.75 for most one-way trips beginning in January. Rates would be higher for larger vehicles.

In 2019, tolls are expected to generate $198.7 million in revenue, nearly 30 percent more than the currently generated revenue. Despite projected increases in revenue, the number of toll transactions is expected to decrease by 6.4 percent next year due to declines in road usage during weekends and off-peak hours.

A nearly 1.5 percent increase is expected until 2023 when the next planned toll increase is scheduled to take effect.

Public hearings on the proposal are set for July 11 in McLean, July 17 in Reston and July 19 in Ashburn. During the meetings, attendees can discuss their thoughts with authority officials, as well as whether or not the board should switch to electronic-only tolling.

The board is expected to vote on the final proposal in October. Plans to increase tolls have been in the works since 2009. Revenue generated from toll transactions would cover debt tied to the Silver Line.

Photo by Fatimah Waseem

by Fatimah Waseem May 16, 2018 at 12:00 pm 74 Comments

For the first time since 2014, Dulles Toll Road rates could increase by about one-third next year.

Motorists have paid $2.50 at the mainline plaza and $1 at exit ramps, totaling $3.50 for the last four years.

Under the plan, tolls would rise to $3.25 at the main plaza and $1.50 at exit ramps, totaling $4.75 overall. Increases would continue in the years ahead, with a $6 toll from 2023 through 2027, $7.25 from 2028 through 2032, $8.75 from 2033 through 2037, and $10 from 2038 through 2042.

Public hearings on the proposal are set for the summer, most likely in July and August. A vote authorizing the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority to proceed with the process for proposed rate adjustments is set for June 20. Board action on final increases would occur in mid-October.

Officials said the toll increase is necessary to prevent toll revenue from falling below the minimum required to cover debt service costs. Tolls are expected to fund about $2.8 billion of the $5.7 billion cost of the Silver Line project.

Photo by Fatimah Waseem; graphic by MWAA

by Dave Emke October 18, 2017 at 11:30 am 45 Comments

Users of the Dulles Toll Road can expect to pay more in 2019, according to a 2018 draft budget presented to the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority Board today.

No increase from the $3.50 toll ($2.50 at the plaza and $1 at the ramp) is planned in 2018; however, it is expected to jump to $4.75 the following year. Numbers presented by the Board’s Finance Committee show that is only the beginning of the hikes.

In 2023, the toll is projected to go up to $6. Additional jumps of $1.25 or more are projected every five years for the following two decades, resulting in an $11.25 toll in 2043.

The toll last increased in 2014, when it went up from $2.75 to the current rate. It steadily increased each year from 2010 to 2014. Prior to that, the toll was $1.25 (75 cents at the plaza and 50 cents at the ramp).

Tolls are used in part by MWAA to help fund the expansion of Metro’s Silver Line. Nearly half the cost of the construction, about $2.8 billion, is being paid by Toll Road fees.

by Karen Goff September 21, 2016 at 2:45 pm 5 Comments

Rendering of Dulles Toll Road Land Bridge over Town Center Parkway/Credit: Dulles Corridor Metrorail Project

The flurry of construction you see in the median of the Dulles Toll Road near Reston Parkway isn’t all the Reston Town Center Metro Station.

Designers of the Silver Line’s Phase 2 are planning way ahead — perhaps decades from now — when a possible new road will take vehicle traffic under rather than over the toll road.

Crews have started construction of a so­-called “land bridge structure” in the median. The bridge will enable the future connecter — a four-lane highway linking Town Center Parkway to Sunrise Valley Drive — to be built without disrupting the toll road, said Dulles Corridor Metrorail Project spokeswoman Marcia McAllister.

The structure is being built in the median of the toll road near mile marker 4.8, approximately 500 feet west of the future Reston Town Center Station. That station is slated to open in early 2020.

The bridge was requested by Fairfax County as an element of the Board of Supervisors’ Six Year Transportation Priorities for FY2015 to FY2020. The county pledged $8.7 million for the $157 million underpass project in late 2014.

Building the bridge­-like structure in advance would minimize any impact to Silver Line Phase 2 service during future construction of the planned roadway, McAllister said.

Graphic: Rendering of land bridge on Dulles Toll Road/Credit: Dulles Corridor Metrorail Project

by Karen Goff August 16, 2016 at 4:30 pm 0

America's 911 Foundation Memorial Ride/Credit: 9/11 Foundation via Facebook

If you are traveling on the Dulles Toll Road near Washington Dulles International Airport on Friday, be advised of some potential backups and closures due to America’s 9/11 Ride.

There will be lane closures between 2 and 6 p.m. Friday, Aug. 19 to accommodate the large procession of motorcycles through the region, says the Metropolitan Washington Airport Authority.

The America’s 9/11 Ride is expecting about 1,500 motorcyclists to participate in a ride from Shanksville, Pa., to the Pentagon then to New York City.

On Friday, the group plans to travel eastbound from Leesburg along the Dulles Greenway, the Dulles Toll Road, the Dulles Airport Access Highway and Interstate 66 at the beginning of the afternoon commute.

Traffic procedures during the motorcycle procession will include:

Eastbound traffic leaving Dulles International Airport will have unimpeded access to the eastbound Dulles Airport Access Highway (all the way to I-495 and I-66) and Route 28 north and south, but not to the eastbound Dulles Toll Road. Access Highway traffic will share the road with the motorcycle procession east of Hunter Mill Road.

NOTE: local exits prior to Route 7 in Tysons will not be available from the Access Highway. Route 28 or Route 7 are the recommended alternates.

Traffic on Route 28 will not be able to exit to the eastbound Dulles Toll Road. Ramps to Dulles Airport and the Dulles Greenway will remain open.

Eastbound Traffic from the Dulles Greenway will merge to one lane to join the eastbound Dulles Toll Road. The motorcycle procession will occupy the closed lane.

The eastbound Dulles Toll Road will be divided in the center by cones. The two left lanes will be reserved for the motorcycle procession, while the two right lanes will be for local traffic.

All westbound lanes and ramps of the Dulles Access Highway and Dulles Toll Road will operate normally.

The motorcycle procession will come from the Dulles Greenway and travel the left side of the eastbound Dulles Toll Road for several miles. It will then cross to the right lane of the Dulles Access Highway and continue inside the beltway to I-66. The Virginia State Police will facilitate the movement of the procession from there.

The airport authority says all eastbound traffic in the Dulles corridor should plan extra travel time and expect delays.

Meanwhile, this is the last year of the ride after a clash between the event’s organizer and state governments, ARLnow.com reports.

by Karen Goff August 20, 2014 at 11:00 am 8 Comments

Dulles Toll Road Main Plaza/Credit: MWAAIn an effort for efficiency, more lanes on the Dulles Toll Road will become E-ZPass only, the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority said on Wednesday.

Beginning Sept. 2, MWAA will convert 19 exact-change lanes into E-ZPass lanes. First up: Westbound Fairfax County Parkways exit, far right lane.

During the conversion project coin baskets will be removed and replaced by upgraded E-ZPass infrastructure. Conversions are scheduled for unattended “exact change” lanes at the main toll plaza and exit ramps along the roadway, says MWAA. To minimize congestion, lanes will be reconfigured one at a time, with each conversion taking two-to-four weeks. When the project is complete, all toll plazas will still have at least one “full service” lane available.

“This lane conversion continues the long tradition of providing a convenient, consistent travel option for drivers in Northern Virginia,” Dulles Toll Road Manager Cyndi Ward said in a statement. “About 90 percent of drivers currently using these lanes are already paying with E-ZPass rather than coins. Full-service lanes will continue to be available at all toll plazas along the roadway for those wishing to pay with cash, but we encourage drivers to consider the added convenience of E-ZPass in order to bypass the lines associated with cash payments.”

Don’t have an E-ZPass? Sign up for one at ezpassva.com.

MWAA will announce other lane conversions as they are about to occur so drivers can plan accordingly.

Photo: Dulles Toll Road/file photo

by Karen Goff April 28, 2014 at 2:30 pm 1,547 0

Bear in Vienna/Credit: Fairfax County

Fairfax County Police say residents need to be on the lookout for black bears.

Over the weekend, there were several bear sightings in Vienna, said Fairfax County Police spokeswoman Lucy Caldwell.

A bear was reportedly hit on the Dulles Toll Road Saturday morning between Beulah Road and Hunter Mill Roads, the latter of which borders Reston. A resident of the 1600 block of Fremont Lane in Vienna called in a report of a bear in his backyard Saturday at about noon.

Caldwell said police do not know if it was the same bear or two different bears.

There are usually a few bear sightings each year — there were several near Baron Cameron Road  and Reston Parkway a few years ago — says Caldwell. However, late April is very early for the bears to be out, she said.

“It is unusual to see them in April,” she said. “In past years we have seen them in June.”

Animal Control Officers say should not panic or feel alarmed when they see one.

From the county:

Bears typically avoid humans, but in their search for food it is not uncommon to see one. Most often, bears will keep moving through an area once they fail in their attempts to find food.

Unless the animal is sick or injured, or poses a threat to public safety, animal control officers do not take actions to attempt to remove bears from a neighborhood. Black bears have a natural fear of humans, and in most cases, would rather flee than encounter people.

If addressed quickly, wildlife issues caused by food attractants in yards can be resolved almost immediately.

Take the following precautions to keep bears and other wildlife away from your home:

• Do not store trash on porches, decks or in vehicles.
• If a bear is sighted in your neighborhood, remove birdfeeders.
• Take garbage to the curb on the morning of pickup, rather than the night before.
• Consider installing electric fencing around gardens, dumpsters and other potential wildlife sources. Electric fencing is an inexpensive and efficient proven deterrent against bears.

Photo: Bear in Vienna April 26/Credit: Fairfax County Animal Control

by Catherine Douglas Moran February 20, 2019 at 8:45 am 1 Comment

Snow plows are working to clear roadways this morning after a snowstorm began earlier this morning.

A traffic camera facing westbound at the snow-covered intersection of Reston Parkway and Sunset Hills Road shows more trucks with snow plows than cars this morning.

Still, drivers can expect some slow-moving traffic on the Dulles Toll Road and major roads in Reston and Herndon with spots of congestion near intersections.

Fairfax County wants locals to stay off the roads, especially with low visibility near the Reston Parkway.

https://twitter.com/fairfaxcounty/status/1098213296472240130

The National Weather Service’s Winter Storm Warning is in effect until 7 p.m.

The warning says that “travel will be very difficult, especially during the morning commute. The hazardous conditions could also impact the evening commute.”

The Virginia Department of Transportation wants locals to stay off of the roads. “Pockets of heavier snow may limit visibility and stick to the pavement, and a mix of freezing rain may quickly make roads slick,” VDOT said in an update at 6 a.m.

https://twitter.com/VaDOTNOVA/status/1098210597328556032

Images via Virginia 511, Google Maps

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