Map of the impacted section of the Dulles Airport Access Highway (via MWAA)

Approximately seven miles of the Dulles International Airport Access Highway going westbound will be closed this weekend (Sept. 11 and 12) for maintenance work on pedestrian bridges.

Starting just east of Reston at mile marker 8.3, traffic will be diverted to the left lane of the Dulles Toll Road. Drivers will be able to enter the airport access road again at mile marker 1.7, near the Route 28 toll plaza and right past the soon-to-be-opened Innovation Center Station.

Ramps at mile marker 9 and 3.3 for the westbound portion of the airport access highway will also be closed.

The closures will run from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. each day.

All work is weather-dependent, though weather does not appear it will be a factor this weekend.

This work is being done by contractor Capital Rail Constructors as part of its preparations for the opening of Silver Line Phase 2, a Metropolitan Washington Airport Authority official says.

A weekend was chosen to conduct the maintenance work in the hopes of minimizing the closure’s impact on traffic, the MWAA official notes.

Photo via MWAA

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Morning Notes

Thousands of Afghan Refugees Arrive At Dulles — About 14,000 people evacuated from Afghanistan since the Taliban’s takeover on Aug. 15 have arrived in Virginia through Dulles International Airport, according to Gov. Ralph Northam, who called the effort “one of the largest airlifts in history” on Friday (Aug. 27). The federal government has set up a COVID-19 vaccination site for the new arrivals, just 20 of whom have tested positive so far. [WTOP]

New Survey on Countywide Strategic Plan Opens — Fairfax County is seeking more community input on its proposed Countywide Strategic Plan, which will serve as a guide for the county’s priorities over the next 10 to 20 years. A fourth community survey is now available in multiple languages until Sept. 24, with the Board of Supervisors expected to take action on a final plan in October. [Fairfax County Government/Twitter]

Man Arrested for South Lakes BB&T Robbery — A man believe to be behind the Tuesday morning robbery of the BB&T Bank in South Lakes Village Shopping Center was arrested in Richmond, according to the weekly crime report. The suspect was arrested on Thursday (Aug. 26) on unrelated charges but now also faces two counts of robbery. He is awaiting extradition to the Fairfax County Adult Detention Center. [Patch]

Fairfax County Police Recruit Two New Canines — Bloodhound pups Duke and Luna will soon start a year-long training program to prepare them to join the Fairfax County Police Department’s K-9 unit, which currently consists of 28 dogs, including three other bloodhounds, and 15 human officers. The dogs will help the department find “critically missing people,” including people with dementia, children, and individuals who might be suicidal. [The Washington Post]

Reston Association to Hold Listening Sessions Next Month — “Reston Association will be hosting a series of Listening Sessions, one for each district, over the coming weeks on Zoom. These meetings will allow the Board to engage with each district and listen to the concerns, comments, and suggestions members have for RA.” [RA/Twitter]

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Morning Notes

Woman paddleboards with her dog on Lake Anne (via vantagehill/Flickr)

Lit Candles Start Fire in Herndon Storage Unit — Three Public Storage units sustained fire and smoke damage after unattended, lit candles placed too close to combustibles fueled a blaze on Friday (Aug. 20). Fairfax County and Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority units responded to the 2900 block of Centreville Road around 2:11 p.m. The fire resulted in approximately $165,000 in damages but no injuries or displacements. [Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department]

Herndon Man Tries to Bring Loaded Gun on Plane — A man from Herndon will be fined after Transportation Security Administration agents prevented him from bringing a loaded handgun onto a flight at Dulles International Airport. Officials said it was the 10th handgun seized at the airport so far this year after 19 such incidents in 2019. [The Washington Post]

County Police Dog Dies from Cancer — Fairfax County Police Department K9 Silas died of cancer on Saturday (Aug. 21), the department said yesterday (Monday) in a Facebook post. Joining the FCPD as a puppy in 2013 with his brother Bolt, Silas was diagnosed last fall and began receiving radiation and chemotherapy treatments. He responded well, living beyond expectations and continuing to help police track down critically missing people. [Patch]

RA Urges Continued Caution Around Lake Algae — An algae bloom that emerged at Lake Audubon in July was determined to be not harmful, but Reston Association says residents should remain cautious in their use of the lake until little to no algal colonies are present. More information about how to help prevent future blooms can be found through the Northern Virginia Soil and Water Conservation District. [RA/YouTube]

Photo via vantagehill/Flickr

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Morning Notes

Bob Simon statue through LOVE sign at Lake Anne Plaza (via vantagehill/Flickr)

PIVOT Grant Application Deadline Today — This is the last day for hotels, restaurants, and other local businesses affected by the pandemic to apply for COVID-19 relief funding from Fairfax County’s PIVOT grant program. The application portal will close at 11:59 p.m. [Fairfax County Government]

Pfizer Seeks Approval for COVID-19 Vaccine Booster — Pfizer will request authorization from the Food and Drug Administration for a third dose of its COVID-19 vaccine, which it says could boost immunity and help ward off variants if delivered within 12 months. Research suggests the Pfizer shot and other widely used COVID-19 vaccines offer strong protection against the highly contagious delta variant. [Associated Press/WTOP]

Expansion Proposed for Dulles Airport — The Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority is seeking environmental approval from Virginia to potentially build a new three-story, 535,000 square-foot concourse at Dulles International Airport to support United Airlines. The planned facilities would revamp a “temporary” hub that has been in use since the mid-1980s, but cost is a concern. [Airline Weekly]

Friday Night Live! Returns Tonight — After an unexpected cancellation last week, the Herndon summer concert series will kick off at 6:30 p.m. with Turtle Recall, a band made up of South Lakes High School alumni. Food vendors for this season include Jimmy’s Old Town Tavern, Dominos, and Egg Karne, and FNL has partnered with the local breweries Aslin and Mustang Sally Brewing. [Herndon Rocks]

Photo via vantagehill/Flickr

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Morning Notes

Lake Anne boaters under fountain (via vantagehill/Flickr)

Man Faces Additional Charge in Herndon Sexual Battery Case — After receiving more reports from victims, the Herndon Police Department has filed an additional charge of aggravated sexual battery in a case involving a local massage therapist. Zachary Nelson Guzman Orellana of Leesburg was arrested on June 30 and is being held at the Loudoun County Adult Detention Center without bond. [Herndon Police Department/Twitter]

Dulles Airport to Get UV Disinfecting Tech — “The Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority wants to install ultraviolet disinfection technology at Reagan National and Dulles International airports to disinfect the air in high-traffic areas…The agency is currently searching for a contractor to design and build the project, scheduled to be mostly complete by Nov. 15.” [Washington Business Journal]

Upper Lakes Tennis Courts Closed Today — “The Upper Lakes tennis courts will be closed for cleaning tomorrow, Wednesday, July 7, and will reopen on Thursday, July 8.” [Reston Association/Twitter]

Route 7 Access to Reopen in Great Falls Next Week — As part of the ongoing Route 7 widening project, drivers on westbound Leesburg Pike will encounter a line shift to the north between Baron Cameron Avenue and Great Passage Boulevard in Great Falls. Riva Ridge Drive will also regain access to Route 7. The changes will take effect on or around next Tuesday (July 13). [VDOT]

Photo via vantagehill/Flickr

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Morning Notes

Virginia Raises Minimum Wage on May Day — Effective Saturday (May 1), Virginia’s minimum wage went up from $7.25 per hour to $9.50, the state’s first increase since 2009. Wages could rise to $15 in 2026, if approved by the General Assembly in 2024. Localities now also have the authority to adopt ordinances allowing collective bargaining with public employees. [DCist]

Twin Sheep Born at Frying Pan Farm Park — “Frying Pan Farm Park’s Suffolk ewe, Bristol, delivered the last of the sheep births that the farm will see this spring. Her twin ewes arrived April 11.” [Fairfax County Park Authority/Twitter]

Dulles Greenway Hosts First “Run the Greenway” Races — The first annual “Run the Greenway” race in Loudoun County attracted more than 1,400 runners and raised over $156,000 for 27 different area nonprofits on Saturday. The event featured 5K, 10K, and 800-meter Kids Fun Run races with staggered start times for social distancing as well as a virtual option. [Loudoun Now]

Porcupine Quills Seized at Dulles Airport — Customs and Border Protection seized 100 porcupine quills from a U.S. citizen who came to Dulles International Airport from Africa on April 21. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention told CBP to seize the quills, because they are a potential vector for the monkeypox virus. [CBP]

The Water Mine Seeking New Lifeguards — The Water Mine Family Swimmin’ Hole in Reston is hiring more than 150 lifeguards for the upcoming summer season. Several drive-thru, socially distanced job fairs will be held on site (1400 Lake Fairfax Drive) throughout May, with the first event coming on Friday (May 7) from 4-6 p.m. [Fairfax County Park Authority]

Photo via vantagehill/Flickr

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Wednesday Morning Notes

Local College Student Launches Tutoring Company — ‘In the wake of the coronavirus and its impact on students’ learning in Fairfax County Public Schools, a 2019 alumnus of South Lakes High School in Reston and second-year engineering student at Georgia Institute of Engineering recently founded S4S Tutoring.’ [The Connection]

Deputy Sheriff Dies from COVID-19 — Frederick Butch Cameron, a deputy sheriff with the Fairfax County Sheriff’s Office, died in the line of duty yesterday due to COVID-19. [Fairfax Sheriff]

Customs Officers Revive Woman at Dulles Airport — ‘Customs and Border Protection officers helped to revive an unconscious woman who had stopped breathing Sunday morning at Washington Dulles International Airport. The 50-year-old Indian national had traveled to Virginia with her husband on a flight Sunday morning from New Delhi, India.’ [Reston Patch]

Photo via vantagehill/Flickr

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Bus service between the Wiehle-Reston East Metro Station and Dulles International Airport has officially resumed.

The Silver Line Express Bus provides transportation between the Dulles Terminal and the metro station. The 15-minute trip costs $5 each way and is free for children under two years of age.

Service is offered every 15 minutes during peak times and every 20 minutes during off-peak times. Free WiFi is also offering on the buses.

The schedule for the service and information on how to purchase tickets is available online.

Other transportation services have resumed or are planning to resume services, including Fairfax Connector, which will resume service next Saturday.

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The neighborhood immediately around the Innovation Center Metro Station in Herndon could look drastically different once the Silver Line extension begins running.

Origami Capital Partners LLC and Timberline Real Estate Partners have a major redevelopment plan in the works for the Center for Innovative Technology campus, a 26-acre property in Herndon.

The companies bought the campus — which was once under consideration for Amazon’s second headquarters —  for $47 million. Gov. Ralph Northam made the announcement earlier this month.

Currently, the property, which is near the Innovation Center Metro Station, includes a seven-story tower and three-story building, including the CIT, a publicly-funded corporation.

Origami is planning an “Innovation Station” that would include five residential buildings, a hotel, an entertainment facility and retail, in addition to existing office space.

Renderings submitted to the state describe the new district as a “mixed-use hub” with “bucolic urbanism” and a “connected lifestyle,” according to an application received by Reston Now.

Plans also include a central green park, a technology hub, a retail village, and a grand food hall.

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Friday Morning Notes

Vote on Herndon HS Monopole Delayed — “The Fairfax County Planning Commission voted Wednesday, March 4, to postpone its decision on whether to approve an application to install a telecommunications monopole on the grounds of Herndon High School until later in the month.” [Reston Patch]

New Mobile Forensics Lab for Fairfax County Police — “Fairfax County police can potentially identify murder suspects much quicker with their new mobile forensics lab. Maj. Christian Quinn said the idea to build the mobile lab started at a crime scene in 2017.” [NBC Washington]

Dulles Customs and Border Protection Seize Date Rape Drug Shipment — “U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers on Monday seized five large bottles of gamma-butyrolactone (GBL) that arrived at Washington Dulles International Airport in international mail from China. The DEA says GBL is known as a precursor of date rape drug gamma-hydroxybutyric acid (GHB).” [Fairfax County Times]

Photo via vantagehill/Flickr

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Within the last year, some Reston residents have reported concerns about increased airplane noise in areas where it previously wasn’t a nuisance.

Although changes in flight patterns have resulted in airplanes flying at lower altitudes over neighborhoods across the country, the Federal Aviation Administration says that there have been no such changes in Reston and Herndon that could explain the spike in complaints.

In some cases, residents say planes are flying so low “you can see their tail logo.”

Nanci Jewell, who lives on Quorn Lane in Reston, says that several neighbors have noticed the issue in recent months.

“We’ve always been right under a flight path but it’s never been like this,” Jewell said. “There are whole segments of the day and night when the noise is unbearable.”

In an unscientific poll by Reston Now on Feb. 6, nearly 57 percent of respondents said they noticed an increase in airplane noise. Roughly 33 percent of respondents said they noticed no change and at all. The remainder of the 1,412 total respondents said they were either unsure or didn’t know.

Kevin Wiley, a South Lakes resident for 15 years, says there’s no question of a difference in noise levels.

“In particular, ever so often we get a very loud, large aircraft flying low over our house. It is unmistakable.”

Similar concerns were reported by residents near Glencourse Lane, Armstrong Elementary School, South Lakes Village Center, and North Point Village Center.

The Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority also told Reston Now they haven’t noticed an uptick in complaints from residents affected by more noise.

“We’re not aware of any modifications to the normal flight paths or typical altitude assignment for air traffic operating at and around Dulles International,” an MWAA spokesperson said.

Communities across the country have sounded off against NextGen, a $40 billion nationwide program designed to modernize air traffic control.

FAA officials say that the system will save $160 billion through 2030 in fuel, maintenance and other costs.

Residents concerned about aircraft noise can file a complaint online.

Photo via Unsplash

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Ever since the Federal Aviation Administration rolled out NextGen — a new system to modernize its air traffic control systems — communities across the country have complained about increased airplane noise in areas where it previously did not persist.

Recently, Reston, and Herndon residents have raised concerns about airplane noise on social media. It’s possible that the FAA has indeed changed flight paths, which could be leading to complaints.

NextGen ditches radio in favor of GPS to guide planes and digital communication. Flight paths are narrower and at lower altitudes as a result.

The Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority tells Reston Now they’ve seen no recent rise in complaints. While we’re awaiting a response from the FAA, we’d love to hear from you.

Have you seen a change in airplane noise in your neighborhood? You can also email us at [email protected] to provide information about what’s happening in your area.

Photo via Unsplash

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Friday Morning Notes

Commemorative Bricks Available for Purchase — The Reston Historic Trust & Museum is selling commemorative bricks, which are installed at Lake Anne Plaza, for up to $250. Bricks are ordered and installed one time per year.  [Reston Historic Trust & Museum]

Dominion Energy to Build Northern Virginia’s Largest Solar Facility — “Dominion Energy Virginia and the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority announced Thursday that they will jointly study the possibility of developing a large-scale, 100-megawatt solar energy project at Dulles International Airpor. The project would encompass 1,200 acres at Dulles, and could power 25,000 homes at peak output. Dominion Energy said this project would be one of the largest solar facilities in Northern Virginia.” [WUSA 9]

Herndon Man Charged with Drunkenness and Sexual Battery — Jose Luis Hernandez, 45,  was arrested after a juvenile victim reported that the suspect touched him in the genital area, according to police. [Herndon Police Department]

Photo via vantagehill/Flickr

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Updated at 10:45 a.m. — Includes information about feeding the TSA workers from Gaurang Shah.

Vapiano in Reston Town Center has been pitching in to help government workers as the partial federal government shutdown looms on without an end in sight.

The recent efforts stemmed from a desire to “take care of those who take care of us during this political standoff,” according to a press release.

Earlier this week, the Italian restaurant at 1875 Explorer Street offered 50 percent off for furloughed federal workers on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day.

Gaurang Shah, the local behind the Reston Going Out Group on Meetup.com and a Vapiano regular, approached the restaurant with an idea: ask for food donations to serve to TSA workers.

Vapiano then created a menu of homestyle Italian meals. Shah told Reston Now that he pitched in supplies and other food, along with reaching out to a TSA Supervisor at Dulles International Airport who agreed with the proposal.

Shah said that hundreds of TSA workers came to the restaurant for the food.

Image via Vapiano/Twitter

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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

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