Monday Morning Notes

Reston Community Center’s Board of Governors to Hold Annual Public Hearing Tonight — Attendees will learn more about RCC’s plans for the future, including a status report on the renovation of the Terry L. Smith Aquatics Center and the center’s annual report and strategic plan. The hearing is set for 6:30 p.m. at RCC Hunters Woods. [Reston Community Center]

Flash Flood Watch In Effect Today — A flash flood watch is in effect from 2 p.m. through this evening. Widespread thunderstorms and showers are expected. [National Weather Service]

Route 7 Widening Project to Provide Traffic Relief Soon — “The $313.9 million project is designed to ease congestion on a section of Route 7 that links northern and western Fairfax County and includes the busy Tysons area, which is undergoing a massive transformation of its own. The Northern Virginia Transportation Authority provided $10 million in funding. Other money for the project comes from Fairfax County and the state.” [The Washington Post]

Overnight Closures of Dulles Toll Road and Dulles Airport Access Road Ramps Planned This Week — “The ramps from the eastbound Dulles Toll Road and the eastbound Dulles Airport Access Road to the southbound I-495 (Capital Beltway) general purpose lanes will be closed nightly Monday night, June 17 through Friday night, June 21 for bridge work as part of the Jones Branch Connector project, ” [Virginia Department of Transportation]

Photo via vantagehill/Flickr

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Friday Morning Notes

Silver Line Construction Snag Could Delay Opening — The contractor responding for building the new rail yard near Dulles Airport revealed their latest schedule slipped 67 days in just one month. The estimated completion date is now set for late July 2020. [WTOP]

Project to Widen Route 7 from Tysons to Reston Breaks Ground — The project held its groundbreaking ceremony yesterday (Thursday). It would add a third lane from Leesburg Pike in each direction from Reston to Tysons. [Tysons Reporter]

Triple Left Lane Closure Overnight on the Dulles Toll Road Next Week — Drivers should expect 20-minute stoppages nightly from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. on Wednesday, June 19 through the morning of Monday, June 24. [Dulles Corridor Metrorail Project]

Photo via vantagehill/Flickr

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Environmental Approval Still Pending for $170 Million Soapstone Connector Project

State and local transportation officials have been working for more than a year on clearing the Soapstone Connector through the environmental approval phase — one of the latest hurdles for the roughly $170 million project.

The connector — which extends Soapstone Drive from Sunrise Valley Drive over the Dulles Toll Road to Sunset Hills Road — provides a new north-south alternative to tackle increasing traffic congestion on Wiehle Avenue. By the time the project breaks ground, hundreds of additional residential units are expected to come on the market in Reston.

County transportation officials are working with the Virginia Department of Historic Resources to determine the next steps for the project after the state determined a group of buildings on Association Drive the project could cut through are considered historic. The Fairfax County Department of Transportation must conduct an alternatives analysis to find possible ways to reduce the impact on the buildings.

Discussions have been ongoing for more than year. The county’s Architectural Review Board first determined the collection of buildings could be historically significant in early 2018. Since then, county staff have been trying to chart the best path forward to minimize the impact on the buildings  — which are considered historic as a collection, but not on an individual basis.

More hurdles are expected as the project goes through design and planning. Construction isn’t expected to begin until the mid to late 2020s.

“Anytime you’re building a new major project in a built environment, it’s more challenging than if we’re working out in a cornfield,” Tom Biesiadny, FCDOT’s director, told Reston Now. “None of them are insurmountable.”

Although funding for the project has not been secured yet, Biesiadny says the county has enough dollars to finish project design, which will move forward once the county receives necessary environmental approvals. The county plans to then tackle right-of-way and land acquisition between 2022 and 2024. Utility relocation is also complicated by the fact that area businesses rely on fiber optic cables along Sunrise Valley Drive and Sunset Hills Road.

“At the moment, money is not holding anything up,” Biesiadny said. “It’s several years out before we need the construction dollars.”

So far, the project has $24 million secured from federal, regional and local funds. A $45.4 million grand application for Smart Scale funding has been submitted. The county plans to continue to aggressively apply for grant funding.

The connector has been on the county’s planning books for years. A hybrid design for the project received county approval in 2014.

Map via Fairfax County Government

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Thursday Morning Notes

Overturned Truck on Dulles Toll Road Causes Delays — “An overturned truck on Va. 267/Dulles Toll Road just after Route 7 in Vienna, Virginia, caused significant delays starting Wednesday afternoon. Around 2:30 p.m., the overturned ready-mix concrete delivery truck prompted lane closures and traffic reroutes.” [WTOP]

Dollars and Sense Today at Reston Regional Library — Join a monthly group discussion about business leaders and markets from 7-9 p.m. This month’s session covers “Moneyball” by Michael Lewis. The event is free and open to the public. [Reston Regional Library]

Live from the Den — In the continuing saga about a local fox family, the Walker Nature Center releases another live video from the den. [Walker Nature Center]

Flickr pool photo by vantagehill

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MWAA: More Drivers Using Dulles Toll Road Than Expected After Toll Increase

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

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Reston Then and Now: Reston

For the final Reston Then and Now — a series where we’ve used Fairfax County’s aerial photography to track changes in the area — we’re looking at the area overall and at how far it’s come since its founding.

Reston was founded in 1964, but some of the paths that are roads today — like Baron Cameron Avenue — are still visible in photography from 1937. Reston’s iconic man-made lakes are also absent, leaving most of the area that’s Reston today just open fields.

By 1976 though —  10 years after Reston was founded — the region was starting to take shape in the neighborhoods around Lake Anne and Lake Thoreau. The village design envisioned by founder Robert E. Simon is still apparent in those early aerial photographs showing retail and residential areas clumped together.

But over the years, those isolated communities start to become increasingly interconnected to the point of being almost indistinguishable from above. By the mid-1990s, the only major patch of green space around Reston is Colvin Run near Lake Fairfax and southeast of Lake Anne.

After the Reston Town Center starts showing up in aerial photography in 1990 (construction began in 1988) the development starts to shift west of the original area and more toward major transit routes.

In the photography from 1990, construction also starts to bunch around the Dulles Toll Road in the Reston Station neighborhood. The Toll Road was built in 1982, and by the early 2000s, the urban centers of Reston shift away from the villages to the north and south and more towards the developments along the major highway. This density starts to ramp up in 2011 as the area builds up for the Silver Line’s opening in 2014.

The density continuing to focus around the Silver Line is poised to continue as developers plan new mixed-use buildings near Woodland Park by the planned Herndon Silver Line Metro station.

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Herndon Metro Parking Moving Next Week as Work Continues on Silver Line Expansion

Drivers will have their Herndon-Monroe parking relocated to the new garage starting next week as work continues in preparation for the new Herndon Metro station.

The existing parking garage will close next Monday (April 8) for a few months as it undergoes changes. Parking will get relocated to the first, second and third levels of the new garage, which is almost done with construction, according to Fairfax County.

Ridesharing pickup and drop-off will also get moved to the first level of the new garage.

Access to eastbound Dulles Toll Road from the parking facility is scheduled to resume in late April after toll booth renovation is done.

Until then, drivers will need to take a detour onto Sunrise Valley Drive via the Fairfax County Parkway.

Photos via Fairfax County

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Plows Out in Force on Snow-Covered Reston Roads

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.

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.

Images via Virginia 511, Google Maps

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Pet Care Service ‘Woofie’s’ Set to Open Franchise in Reston

(Updated at 9:35 p.m. on Feb. 21) Woofie’s, a pet care service that offers a mobile pet salon, pet sitting and dog walking, plans to open one of its two upcoming franchise locations in Reston.

The Facebook page for the Reston location says it is “coming soon” to 1897 Preston White Drive. The spot is right off of the Dulles Toll Road and close to Lake Thoreau.

“We are shooting for an opening date in early April,” Renee Ventrice, the vice president of Marketing for Woofie’s Pet Ventures, told Reston Now.

The second franchise location is set for Leesburg.

Established by pet owners in 2004, Woofie’s currently serves locals in Ashburn, Pomotac Station and Lansdowne with more than 70 pet sitters and walkers and seven mobile pet vans, according to its website.

Photos via Woofies/Facebook, Google Maps

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Commuters Face Icy Roads, Wind Chill Today

Updated at 4:55 p.m. — NWS canceled the Wind Advisory that was set to last until 6 p.m.

Earlier: After last night’s heavy congestion during rush hour, commuters are finding little to no traffic on major Reston roads this morning (Jan. 30).

Traffic on the Dulles Toll Road is flowing freely, according to Google Maps. However, drivers should still give themselves extra travel time for possibly icy local roads.

“Your commute will take longer today,” Fairfax County tweeted this morning, adding that crews worked overnight to treat roads and will continue treatment today if needed. Drivers are encouraged to reduce their speeds, use headlights and not brake quickly.

Anybody stepping outside today should also bundle up. The National Weather Service issued a Wind Advisory until 6 p.m. tonight and a Wind Chill Advisory between 9 p.m. tonight and 10 a.m. tomorrow (Jan. 31).

More from the National Weather Service:

WIND CHILL ADVISORY REMAINS IN EFFECT FROM 9 PM THIS EVENING TO 10 AM EST THURSDAY…

* WHAT…Very cold wind chills of 5 to 10 degrees below zero.

* WHERE…Portions of central Maryland and northern Virginia including Washington DC and Baltimore MD.

* WHEN…From 9 PM this evening to 10 AM EST Thursday.

* ADDITIONAL DETAILS…The cold wind chills could result in hypothermia if precautions are not taken.

PRECAUTIONARY/PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS…

A Wind Chill Advisory means that cold air and the wind will combine to create low wind chills. Frostbite and hypothermia can occur if precautions are not taken. Dress in layers, and wear a hat and gloves.

Fairfax County Government offices are open today, however, employees have been granted unscheduled leave. Fairfax County public schools are closed today. Reston Association offices will open three hours late.

A meeting seeking public input on the Fairfax Connector has been canceled for tonight and will be rescheduled.

Locals have been busy snapping photos of the snow around Reston, including the following.

Images via Google Maps, Marjorie Copson and  Virginia Department of Transportation

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Dulles Toll Road Faces Nearly a Dozen Lane Closures This Week

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

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Lane and Ramp Closures Scheduled for This Week Near Reston

Construction work on the second phase of the Metrorail Silver Line project brings lane and ramp closures from Sunday (Jan. 13) until Saturday (Jan. 19).

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 alternating right and left lane closures from just west of the Route 28 overpass to the Reston Pkwy overpass on the following days:

  • 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.

Eastbound also has a left lane closure 500 feet west of the Reston Pkwy overpass to 300 feet before the Wiehle Avenue overpass. This will occur from Wednesday until Friday from 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.

Alternating right and left lane closures are also westbound on the Dulles Toll Road between the Route 28 and Reston Parkway overpass. These will be in effect:

  • 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.

Also heading westbound is a triple left lane closure from Reston Pkwy to the west end of Herndon Station from 10 p.m. to 5 .m. from Tuesday until Thursday.

Two left lane closures are also scheduled. One will stretch from 300 feet west of the Wiehle Avenue overpass to 400 feet of the Reston Pkwy overpass from 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. from Tuesday until Friday.

The second one will be from 200 feet west of the Hunter Mill Road Bridge to the W&OD Trail from 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. from Monday until Thursday.

Eastbound on Sunset Hills Road will have alternating right and left lane closures from 400 feet west of Town Center Pkwy to 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 until 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 Pkwy 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 until Thursday and from 9:30 a.m. to noon on Friday.

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Lane and Ramp Closures This Week in Reston

Construction work on the second phase of the Metrorail Silver Line project brings lane and ramp closures from Sunday (Jan. 6) until Saturday (Jan. 12).

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 alternating right and left lane closures from just west of the Route 28 overpass to the Reston Parkway overpass on the following days:

  • 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.

Drivers can also expect triple lane closures eastbound on the Dulles Toll Road from the west end of the Herndon Station to the east end of the Reston Station. This will take place from 10 p.m. on Wednesday until 5 a.m. on Thursday.

Alternating right and left lane closures are westbound on the Dulles Toll Road between the Route 28 and Reston Parkway overpass. These will be in effect:

  • 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.

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

File photo

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Lane Closures Near Reston This Week

Construction work on the second phase of the Metrorail Silver Line project brings lane and ramp closures from Monday (Dec. 31) until Saturday (Jan. 5).

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 alternating right and left lane closures from just west of the Route 28 overpass to the Reston Parkway overpass on the following days:

  • Wednesday 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.

Alternating right and left lane closures are also westbound on the Dulles Toll Road between the Route 28 and Reston Parkway overpass. These will be in effect:

  • Wednesday 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.

Also heading westbound is a triple left lane closure from the Van Buren Street overpass to the Route 28 overpass from 10 p.m. on Friday to 5 a.m. on Saturday.

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

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Lane and Ramp Closures Next Week Due to Silver Line Work

For locals who plan to hit the roads around the holidays, expect delays with lane and ramp closures as construction continues on the second phase of the Metrorail Silver Line project.

The closures start on Sunday (Dec. 23) and are scheduled to last until Saturday (Dec. 29), according to a post from the Dulles Corridor Metrorail Project.

Drivers heading eastbound on the Dulles Toll Road can expect alternating right and left lane closures of varying lengths from just west of the Route 28 overpass to the Reston Parkway overpass. This will take place from 10 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. from Wednesday to Friday.

Meanwhile, westbound on the Dulles Toll Road will have alternating right and left lane closures of varying lengths between the Reston Parkway overpass and Route 28. This will take place from 9:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. from Wednesday to Friday.

Eastbound on Sunset Hills Road will have alternating right and left lane closures from 400 feet west of Town Center Parkway to Bechtel Building Entrance from 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. on Thursday.

Eastbound on Herndon Parkway will have a right lane closed from 1,000 feet east of Van Buren Street to 800 feet west of Exchange Place.

The times for this are:

  • Thursday: 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.
  • Friday: 9:30 a.m. to noon

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

File photo

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