The National Weather Service said today the area could see some lightly accumulating snow between 10 p.m. tonight and 2 a.m. tomorrow morning.
In anticipation of the possible snowflakes, The Virginia Department of Transportation says it’s preparing area roads for wintry weather tonight through the weekend.
From a VDOT press release:
Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) officials will hold a public meeting Thursday to show its place for a proposed design for the widening of Elden Street between Monroe Street and the Fairfax County Parkway in Herndon.
Officials hope the project will reduce traffic congestion, improve safety and enhance access to and from the busy Fairfax County Parkway.
Planned improvements include widening East Elden Street (Route 606) from four lanes to six between Herndon Parkway and Fairfax County Parkway, as well as improving access management from Van Buren Street to Herndon Parkway.
Other planned improvements include a new raised median with streetscaping between Van Buren Street and Herndon Parkway, moving utilities between Monroe Street and Fairfax County Parkway underground, and replacing the culvert over Sugarland Run with a new bridge.
The proposed design also features accommodations for cyclists and pedestrians, including enhanced facilities like on-street bike lanes between Monroe Street and Herndon Parkway, and off-street bike lanes from east of Herndon Parkway to Fairfax County Parkway.
VDOT officials say they hope to have plans approved by the spring, though it could take a few years to receive authorization for right-of-way funding, and to advertise to potential construction companies for the job. All in all, construction could begin in the spring of 2022.
The total costs of the project, including preliminary engineering, right-of-way and construction, add up to just under $35 million.
Thursday’s meeting will take place at the Herndon Senior Center, located at 873 Grace St. The public is invited to drop by to view the plans and talk with officials anytime between 6:30 to 8 p.m.
Comments can also be sent to VDOT directly anytime before Nov. 28. by e-mailing [email protected] or by sending mail to Mr. Hamid Misaghian, P.E., Project Manager, Virginia Department of Transportation, 4975 Alliance Drive, Fairfax, VA, 22030.
View the East Elden Street Widening project page online for more information.
Image: VDOT/Google Maps
A car crash investigation has closed all lanes of the Fairfax County Parkway near New Dominion Parkway as of 9:15 a.m. Tuesday.
Fairfax County Fire Rescue and Fairfax County Police are both at the scene.
Additionally, there is a crash being removed from Reston Parkway and Fox Mill Road as of 9:35 a.m. so steer clear of that area as well.
Reston Now will have more details as they are available.
After a car crash with injuries on Wiehle Avenue earlier this week, many Reston Now readers chimed in that “something needs to be done” about the stretch of Wiehle from Baron Cameron Avenue to Sunset Hills Road.
The road is on a hill in that section and features a slight blind curve. Monday’s crash occurred at Wiehle and Inlet Court. That intersection was the site of nine crashes in 2015, according to Fairfax County Police. It was the second crash at the intersection in 2016.
A pedestrian was hit and killed by a driver at Wiehle and Chestnut Grove last October, one of three car-vs.-pedestrian incidents in 2015, records show. The woman killed in that crash was crossing Wiehle at dawn outside of a crosswalk.
FCPD points to several intersections as trouble spots on Wiehle. Since the start of 2015, there have been 20 collisions at Wiehle and North Shore Drive. The busy intersection at Baron Cameron has had 17 crashes in that time frame.
There have been 12 crashes at the intersection at Sunset Hills since the start of 2015, FCPD records show. That area continues to be a trouble spot, with the W&OD Trail also crossing Wiehle there. Access to the Silver Line station at Wiehle-Reston East and egress from Fairfax County Fire Rescue Station 25 also complicate things at that intersection.
The Fairfax County Department of Transportation plans a pedestrian bridge to take the W&OD over Wiehle. The $10 million bridge likely won’t be built until 2021, however.
Meanwhile, while it seems Wiehle is an increasingly dangerous road, FCPD spokesman Officer Don Gotthardt points out that incidents are actually down in 2016.
There were 53 collisions on Wiehle in 2015. With a little over three months left to go in 2016, there have been 25 recorded by police. Gotthardt said the reasons for the decline were unknown.
Overall, there have been 78 collisions recorded since the start of 2015, though, which does it make Wiehle a trouble spot. What do you think should be done to make it safer? Tell us in the comments below.
Also, check out the document from Fairfax County Police mapping and categorizing what has happened on Wiehle in the last 20 months.
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
This week (Sept. 19-23) is Try Transit Week in Virginia, and Fairfax County is hoping citizens get involved and get commuting by methods other than four wheels.
The county is even offering prizes for the most enthusiastic public transportation users. The county is holding a social media contest. If you take transit and post about it this week, you could win a $50 SmarTrip card or other prizes.
Here is what to do:
When you do that and mention them in a post, you will be automatically entered into the contest. Prizes include daily winners of a $50 SmarTrip card and a Grand Prize winner who will receive two (2) $50 SmarTrip cards.
Visit this Fairfax County page for more details on what to post and how to tag.
Try Transit Week includes Car Free Day on Thursday.
Car Free Day is a free international event celebrated every September 22 in which people are encouraged to get around without driving alone in cars and instead ride a train, bus, bicycle, carpool, vanpool, subway, or walk. For those that have the ability to work from home, telework also counts. Car Free Day is open to all people in the Washington metropolitan area.
If you are going Car Free, fill out the pledge form, then go car free or go car-lite on Thursday. Once you pledge, you’re automatically entered for a chance to win prizes, such one-year membershiop to Crunch Fitness, an annual Capital Bikeshare membership, and more.
Additionally, there is a Live More block party at Reston Town Center Tuesday from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Reps will be on hand for you to “discover how to live more by making a better commuting choice.” There will also be refreshments, exhibits and family friendly activities.
How to ease traffic on Hunter Mill Road, a two-lane country road in the increasingly urban Reston-Vienna area, will be the subject of a community meeting this week.
The Fairfax County Department of Transportation (FCDOT) meeting (Thursday, Sept. 15 at 7 p.m., at Aldrin Elementary School, 11375 Center Harbor Rd. in Reston), is actually the fifth on this topic since 2014.
FCDOT officials will talk about the project status and next steps.
At the most recent meeting in late June, transportation officials showed results of a new traffic impact study that showed installing roundabouts could result in fewer traffic backups.
Project manager Kristin Calkins said then that the project is still years away as the county continues to look at models and obtain citizen feedback. There also is no money set aside for the roundabouts as county transportation projects are planned and funded through 2020.
In any case, FCDOT is looking at what roundabouts would do at Sunrise Valley Drive and Hunter Mill Road, on Dulles Toll Road eastbound and westbound exit ramps at Hunter Mill, and at Sunset Hills Road and Crowell Drive, which would also be realigned to connect and further smooth traffic on Hunter Mill.
Some of those intersections/road areas are currently at an unacceptable level of service, said Calkins. Roundabouts would bring them up to an acceptable level when the county looks at the increased volume expected to be on the roads in 2030.
In addition to the roundabouts, the county would like to upgrade the area on Hunter Mill from Sunrise Valley Drive to Route 7 that is served by a one-lane bridge.
“It’s been found to be structurally deficient and functionally obsolete,” said Calkins. “Hunter Mill Road carries 7,900 vehicles a day. That warrants a two-lane bridge.”
Calkins said an acceptable amount of traffic for a road with a one-lane bridge is 400 cars per day.
Graphic: Proposed roundabouts on Hunter Mill Road/Credit: FCDOT
The fifth-annual race will benefit SLHS’ cross country team. Registration is available online or on race day.
Here is what you need to know if you are trying to get around nearby:
The race begins at 7:30 a.m. at South Lakes High School.
The course will take runners down South Lakes Drive, then to Colt’s Neck Road, Sunrise Valley Drive, Ridge Heights Road and Soapstone Drive before returning to the South Lakes’ track.
The roads will not be completely blocked, but runners will take over the curb lane. That may slow traffic or cause delays, so plan accordingly.
See a map of the course on the race website.
Work on utilities for Phase 2 of Metro’s Silver Line will affect traffic on Sunrise Valley Drive near the Polo Fields subdivision beginning today and lasting two weeks.
Dulles Corridor Metrorail Project crews will conduct utility location work along westbound Sunrise Valley Drive and the sidewalk on the north side of the road in that time frame.
The right lane of Sunrise Valley westbound between Thunder Chase Drive and Hitchcock Drive will be closed from 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., Monday through Thursday, and from 9:30 a.m. to noon on Friday.
Work activities along the sidewalk will take place from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday.
The sidewalk will remain open for use, pedestrian traffic will be diverted around small work zones, and the Fairfax Connector bus stop just west of the Herndon-Monroe Park & Ride facility will remain open.
Graphic courtesy of Dulles Corridor Metrorail Project
Fairfax County Police said the crash occurred southbound on Reston Parkway near Fox Mill Road about 3:30 p.m.
As of 4:30 p.m., police were still clearing the scene and traffic remained jammed.
Meanwhile, many side roads in the Reston-Herndon-Dulles area are already seeing heavy traffic because parts of the Toll Road are inaccessible because of 1,500 motorcycles rolling through here on the 9/11 Ride.
Sit tight or make alternate plans if you are planning to take these roads home this afternoon.
As Metro’s Safety Surge No. 5 gets underway Wednesday, it may not just be the Metro riders suffering delays and frustration.
Commuters who opt to drive to work — bypassing the latest Orange, Blue and Silver Line track work — will be impacted too, says a new traffic report.
The report by the regional Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments looked at the first four Safety Surges. The first surge, which affected Silver/Blue/Orange riders and the traffic on the west side of DC (including the Tysons-to-Reston Silver Line stretch) had the greatest effect on traffic so far, it said.
Since June, Metro has been making changes to various stretches of tracks stages in order to do major maintenance and repair work to the system. This 10-month project will enable Metro to complete three years of work in less than a year.
The report says that during the first surge (June 4 to June 16), congestion and travel delays increased, particularly on eastbound Interstate 66 in the mornings inside the Capital Beltway and along Route 50 and the Dulles Toll Road.
Drivers also complained about traffic on the Key Bridge, M Street NW, the Roosevelt Bridge, Constitution Avenue NW and other major commuter routes in Northern Virginia.
Travel times on highways were about 10 percent longer on average during the morning commute than in 2015, and about 15 percent longer during the afternoon commute, the report says. During Surges 2, 3 and 4, the traffic effects were much smaller. The major commuter routes saw an average increase of less than 3 percent.
In the traffic data analyzed in the report, portions of I-66, the Dulles Toll Road and the George Washington Memorial Parkway experienced travel-time increases that were double — sometimes more — than the typical morning commute.
But now we are in mid-summer, and transportation officials are hopeful that less traffic in general will mean an easier commute. This latest safety surge will run through July 31.
“TPB has consistently found that travel delay drops about 15-20 percent during summer months when schools and Congress are out and more people have greater flexibility in their travel schedules,” the report says.
See the full report on MWCOG’s website.
A gas leak in the 1100 block of Elden Street in Herndon has closed traffic in both directions, Fairfax County officials said.
Elden Street is closed in both directions from Herndon Parkway to Alabama Drive as of 1 p.m. and will be closed for about five hours, officials said.
Herndon Police have not said how the gas leak started.
Traffic backups on Hunter Mill Road near the Dulles Toll Road may find future fixes in a series of roundabouts.
The Fairfax County Department of Transportation (FCDOT) has been studying what to do about backups on the two-lane Hunter Mill Road for years. After several community meetings in 2014 and 2015, it put the study on hold about a year ago when new software and measuring methods became available that could better gauge the impact of roundabouts.
At a community meeting Wednesday in Reston, Hunter Mill Road Study Project Manager Kristin Calkins said the new analysis shows a 10-12 percent increase in roundabout capacity.
“The new model prioritizes movements with higher volumes, resulting in an improved level of service,” during heavier traffic, she said.
Right now, what the county is looking at are estimates and models. The project would be years into the future. It needs citizen feedback, design, approval from the county planning commission and board of supervisors. It also needs money, and county transportation projects are planned through 2020.
In any case, FCDOT is looking at what roundabouts would do at Sunrise Valley Drive and Hunter Mill Road, on Dulles Toll Road eastbound and westbound exit ramps at Hunter Mill, and at Sunset Hills Road and Crowell Drive, which would also be realigned to connect and further smooth traffic on Hunter Mill. (more…)
AAA reps say 43 Million Americans are traveling, and 1 million of them are from the Washington, D.C., area. That’s about 5 million than Memorial Day and a 1.9 percent increase for DC-area residents over last July 4.
Nearly 9 out of 10 area residents (about 917,000 people) travel by car. Another 77,000 will fly to their destination.
“More Americans, Washingtonians included, are traveling this summer, and they are also driving more than ever before this summer, easily beating the mileage record set last summer, when Americans put 836.1 billion miles on their odometers,” John B. Townsend II, AAA Mid-Atlantic’s Manager of Public and Government Affairs, said in a statement.
“The Washington metro area boasts a populace of 6,097,684 persons, and nearly a fifth of its residents will travel 50 miles or more from home during the long July Fourth holiday weekend. Historically, whenever July Fourth happens to fall on a Friday or a Monday, as it does this year, it essentially becomes a four-day holiday weekend for most travelers. The other big catalyst is the cheaper cost of gas.” (more…)
Find out the Fairfax County Department of Transportation’s (FCDOT) progress on that at a community meeting on Wednesday, June 29, 2016, 7 p.m., at the North County Government Center (1801 Cameron Glen Drive, Reston).
Fairfax County has been studying traffic mitigation options on Hunter Mill from Sunrise Valley Drive to the Colvin Run Bridge for several years.
There is heavy congestion during morning and evening peak hours. The congestion is heavily concentrated at the intersections of Sunset Hills Road and the westbound Dulles Toll Road ramps at Hunter Mill Road.
Says Fairfax County:
These two intersections are closely spaced and constrained by the existing bridge. The number of vehicles using Hunter Mill Road is forecasted to increase in the future.
With the opening of the Wiehle-Reston East Metro station, new development anticipated in Reston, and an increase in background traffic associated with development elsewhere in the region, vehicular traffic is expected to increase in this area. This study will look at alternatives to mitigate the existing and future conditions to ensure traffic can move efficiently through the intersections.
Meanwhile, the county suggested last winter that the best place to build a septic dumping station was on Fairfax County Park Authority land that is on the much-congested route. It is estimated sewage haulers would make 22 trips a day on the two-lane road, which features a 25-mph speed limit and a one-lane bridge.
After a community outcry, the county is looking at other alternatives before moving forward in that spot.
Here’s what’s happened in the process so far:
During the first half of 2015, FCDOT conducted the Hunter Mill Road and Sunset Hills Road Study to evaluate operational issues on Hunter Mill Road between Sunrise Valley Drive and Colvin Run.
In July of 2015, FCDOT deferred the Hunter Mill Road Study at the request of the community in order to allow for new capacity analysis methodologies for roundabouts to be adopted by the Transportation Research Board in January 2016 at their annual meeting.
FCDOT is now ready to restart the Hunter Mill Road Study and apply these new methodologies to the developed alternatives, and any newly developed alternatives. The project reboot will also provide an opportunity to integrate comments heard at the last public meeting into an expanded scope of work.
At community meetings last year, residents said they did not want Wiehle Avenue traffic diverted onto Hunter Mill. They also said Hunter Mill should keep the same character, but the county should look at roundabouts as a traffic mitigation option.
See the presentation below to look at community feedback, road-widening options and other considerations.