Relief could be on the way soon for drivers who frequent Hunter Mill Road near the Dulles Toll Road.
Last night, the Fairfax County Planning Commission approved long awaited plans to tackle traffic backups by realigning Sunset Hills Road to Crowell Road.
The plan also includes adding a roundabout as an intersection control. Hunter Mill Road would become a four-lane road between the intersection of Crowell Road and Sunset Hills Road to the Dulles Toll Road’s westbound ramps.
John Carter, the Hunter Mill District’s planning commissioner, compared the new plan to George Washington Parkway. Conceding the comparison was imperfect, he said the changes feature sweeping curves, major setbacks of 400 feet from houses to the road and a commitment to preserve a pond and a forested resource protection area.
- Beginning realignment to the east of the Edlin School and extending no farther than Crowell Road
- Maximizing the distance between the realigned road and the Hunting Crest community
- The inclusion of a roundabout as a preferred alternative
- Modifying transportation maps to include a cul-de-sac on Hunter Mill Road
The county’s Board of Supervisors will hear public comment on the plan on March 6 at around 4 p.m.
Since 2014, the county held several community meetings to lay out traffic management alternatives. The latest plan is a mix of several options, but departs from previously discussed plans, which the county indicated no longer work.
Carter said the county’s studies clearly indicate the current plan is the “better method to calm traffic in this area.”
Photo via handout
Public Meeting on Sunset Hills Road Realignment Today — Hunter Mill District Supervisor Cathy Hudgins and the Fairfax County Department of Transportation will hold a meeting today at 7 p.m. at Sunrise Valley Elementary School (10824 Cross School Road). Plans aim to address traffic backups on Hunter Miller Road near the Dulles Toll Road. [Fairfax County Government]
Suspects in Five Killings Reportedly Linked to Macabre Neo-Nazi Group — The Atomwaffen, a relatively new neo-Nazi outfit that defines itself as a “revolutionary national socialist organization centered around political activism and the practice of an autonomous fascist lifestyle” is reportedly linked to the Reston murder of Scott Fricker, 48, and Buckley Kuhn-Fricker, 43, in late December. [The Washington Post]
Shadow Puppets Show on Friday — Children can play with light and shadows at the Walker Nature Center on Friday from 10-11 a.m. The cost is $6 for Reston members and $8 for all others. Parents and caregivers must supervisor their children. [Reston Association]
Photo by Fatimah Waseem
After years of discussion, Fairfax County officials are finalizing long awaited plans to tackle traffic backups on Hunter Mill Road near the Dulles Toll Road.
The Fairfax County Dept. of Transportation plans to realign Sunset Hills Road to Crowell Road, with a roundabout as the intersection control, according to a proposal filed last month. The Fairfax County Planning Commission will hold a public hearing on the plans today at 7:30 p.m.
Hunter Mill Road would be widened to four lanes between the intersection of Crowell Road and Sunset Hills Road to the Dulles Toll Road’s westbound ramps. The four-lane section would use existing right-of-way and pavement along Hunter Mill Road.
The plan departs from six alternatives discussed during six community charrettes since 2014. County officials found that no alternative would adequately reduce congestion during peak hours, according to the proposal.
Originally, the county hoped to shift the Sunset Hills Road intersection by moving it opposite the westbound off-ramp for the Dulles Toll Road and relocate the on-ramp to begin at Sunset Hills Road west of Hunter Mill Road. But a Metrorail track power substation is now being built at that site.
A second option would have relocated Sunset Hills Road by bringing the intersection of Sunset Hills Road and Hunter Mill Road as close as possible to Reston Presbyterian Church. That option would not provide enough space between the intersections. A third option with roundabout in the area would have required the church to relocate.
The proposed solution would address traffic congestion and the roundabout feature meets the community’s desire to “calm” traffic to the north of Crowell Road, according to the plan.
The road realignment was prompted in response to increased traffic congestion driven by new development.
Currently, morning and afternoon traffic along Sunset Hills Road near the westbound Dulles Toll Road causes daily traffic congestion at the intersection of Sunset Hills Road and Hunter Mill Road.
A hearing before the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors is set for March 6 at 4 p.m.
Photo via Fairfax County Department of Transportation
Local residents can provide feedback on proposed projects at a public meeting on Thursday, Oct. 12 from 7-9 p.m. at the North County Governmental Center (1801 Cameron Glen Drive). The meeting will include a formal presentation about unfunded projects and a question-and-answer session.
Residents can also take an online survey by Nov. 9 to indicate preferred projects, or mail a printed copy of the survey to the Fairfax County Department of Transportation (4050 Legato Road, Suite 400, Fairfax, VA 22033).
Feedback will allow the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors and the Fairfax County Department of Transportation to prioritize unfunded transportation projects in line for funding through fiscal year 2023, according to the county’s website.
Unfunded projects in Reston include those listed below:
(Updated at 2:30 p.m. after Lawyers Road was reported to be reopened.)
Lawyers Road between Hunter Mill Road and Galloping Way was blocked off for several hours Friday as steady rain pounded the area.
According to an alert from Fairfax County, that area was being monitored by county crews as water levels continued to increase. The road was closed from about 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.
At the Hunter Mill Road/Lawyers Road intersection, barriers were placed blocking eastbound turns onto Lawyers Road.
In addition, Fox Mill Road was closed in Herndon at Thoroughbred Road because of high water.
A flood warning is in effect for the central portion of Fairfax County, including the City of Fairfax, until 5:15 p.m. Friday.
An investment advisory firm has scheduled a Thursday informational meeting for those interested in purchasing up to 68 acres of land off Hunter Mill Road near the Dulles Toll Road.
ARA Newmark is advertising two properties in what it is calling the Hunter Mill Assemblage — 46 acres west of Hunter Mill Road and 22 acres east — for possible residential or other development. The property west of the road borders Sunset Hills Road to the south, while the property east of the road abuts the Dulles Toll Road. The latter is the former home of the Golf Park at Hunter Mill.
According to an email from ARA Newmark advertising the meeting, the properties are the last unplanned parcels on the Toll Road and offer “unparalled development opportunity” to a buyer or buyers:
“After a multigenerational family ownership, these Properties will be offered to the open market for the first time. [The Hunter Mill Assemblage], consisting of two tracts of 46 and 22 acres, is located on the north side of The Dulles Toll Road on both the East and West sides of Hunter Mill Road. The tracts are being offered separately but may be purchased together.”
The land was owned for decades by the Thoburn family.
ARA Newmark says the land’s usage could include residential development, mixed-use development, an assisted-living facility, a religious institution, a private school or something else. According to the material from ARA Landmark, offers to buy the properties must be in by April 21.
Property behind the former golf park site is already seeing heavy construction work, as it will soon become the new campus of Oakcrest School, a private girls’ school. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints also has plans for a 16,500-square foot church at the intersection with Crowell Road. Defense contractor General Dynamics is also putting its new headquarters nearby on Sunset Hills Road.
Roundabouts are being considered for several intersections along Hunter Mill Road to handle increasing congestion in the area.
The meeting, which is limited to qualified buyers who have signed a confidentiality agreement, is scheduled for Thursday at 10 a.m. at 1420 Spring Hill Road in Tysons.
Map via ARA Newmark
The firm that is advertising Reston National Golf Course to developers also has plans for a pair of Hunter Mill Road properties.
The Washington Business Journal reports that 68 acres at the Reston/Vienna line, 46 west of the road and 22 east, are being pitched by investment advisory firm ARA Newmark for possible residential or other development.
The property west of the road borders Sunset Hills Road to the south, while the property east of the road abuts the Dulles Toll Road. The latter is the former home of the Golf Park at Hunter Mill, over which owner John Thoburn was infamously jailed by Fairfax County in 2001 due to a landscaping dispute.
The driving range closed in early 2015. Thoburn’s family had owned the land for more than four decades, the WBJ reports, until it was acquired by private lenders through foreclosure last year.
Property behind the former golf park site is already seeing heavy construction work, as it will soon become the new campus of Oakcrest School, a private girls’ school. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints also has plans for a 16,500-square foot church at the intersection with Crowell Road. Roundabouts are being considered for that and several other intersections along Hunter Mill Road to handle increasing congestion in the area.
The Fairfax County Board of Zoning Appeals will continue to hear testimony on Wednesday regarding the the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints’ request to build a 16,558-square-foot church on the Reston/Vienna border.
The church has filed a special permit exception to build the structure at Crowell and Hunter Mill Roads. The special permit exception would allow the church to build a place of worship on land designated residential.
Because it is a special permit, the church would not have to go through the Fairfax County Planning Commission or the Board of Supervisors for final approval.
After several postponements over the summer, the BZA heard a first round of testimony last Wednesday, with several speakers falling on both sides of the issue.
Several said the church — which plans 292 seats, a 30-foot roofline and a 70-foot steeple — has a relatively small footprint, and would mostly be in use on Sundays, when traffic backups on Hunter Mill are less likely. (more…)
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 church, which was supposed to appear before the BZA on June 15, asked for a postponement until July 13. The church has filed a special permit exception in order to build a 16,558-square-foot location at Crowell and Hunter Mill Roads.
The special permit exception would allow the church to build a place of worship on land designated residential on the Vienna-Reston line. Because it is a special permit, the church would not have to go through the Fairfax County Planning Commission or the Board of Supervisors for final approval.
Lori Greenlief, a planner with McGuire Woods, which is representing the church, previously said the parcel is 7.15 acres of land. It is across Crowell from where the Oakcrest School is building a new home and down the road from where Fairfax County is considering building a new septic tank dumping site.
Both of these developments have caused traffic concerns for Hunter Mill-area residents.
The church plans a one-story building with 292 seats and 233 parking spots.
Area LDS churches in North Reston (which is expanding its parking) and Oakton will not be closing if the project is approved, Greenlief said.
Greenlief said the church has completed a traffic study, which showed minimal to no impact during peak weekday morning and evening traffic. The main activities at the church will take place on Sundays, she said.
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.
It would be about $700,000 cheaper to renovate an existing Fairfax County septic disposal site rather than build a new one on Hunter Mill Road, says a Septage Site Receiving Study made available by Fairfax County.
Hunter Mill-area residents attended a somewhat contentious community meeting on Feb. 18, where they were skeptical of many things — including the need to relocate the site after 46 years from Colvin Run to Fairfax County Park Authority’s Maintenance Area 6 on Hunter Mill Road, where Reston meets Vienna.
The existing site (one of two in Fairfax County) serves about 21,000 homes with septic tanks — mostly in Great Falls and Oakton — as well as all restaurants in this part of the county, which must dispose of grease into the septage receiving site.
County officials said at the February meeting that the Colvin Run site floods, smells and is serviced by a pipe that is too small. The county looked at six sites, determining that Hunter Mill Road was the only one that could accommodate a facility, even though hauling trucks would have to contend with the one-lane bridge to access the location.
Residents who live on or near Hunter Mill Road were opposed to that plan, citing traffic, noise and the potential for sewage to get into nearby streams as concerns. They urged officials to go back to the drawing board to find a new location.
A couple of items of note in the report, prepared by consultants at Hazen and Sawyer:
The search for the new site came about after a petition was sent to Dranesville Supervisor John Foust. However, the petition only contained 20 signatures from 11 families.
The report was completed in June of 2015, but Hunter Mill-area residents said they did not know anything about the potential project until just before the February meeting.
About 6,000 trips are made to the Colvin Run site annually, the report says. But the consultants also recommend that Fairfax accept sewage from the City of Alexandria and Loudoun County, which would make the new site much busier.
A survey of haulers says that at least 20 percent of waste currently being hauled to Colvin Run may not originate in Fairfax County.
A new site at Hunter Mill will cost $3.4 million to construct. Renovating Colvin Run — which authorities said at the February meeting was not a possibility — would cost $2.6 million.
Read the full feasibility study on Fairfax County’s website.
Photo: Lake Fairfax Maintenance Area 6
Fairfax County officials have closed Hunter Mill between Lawyers Road and Hunter Station as of 6:30 a.m. Tuesday.
The road may be closed for eight hours, county officials said.
Crews from Dominion Virginia Power are also on the scene working to restore power to customers in the area.