A $313.9 million project is underway to improve almost seven miles of Route 7 between Reston Avenue and Jarrett Valley Drive. But before construction begins later this year, state transportation officials are courting public comment on the “Connect Route 7” project, which has been contemplated since 1975.
The project, which should be complete by July 2024, widens the road from four to six lanes, adds a 10-foot wide shared-use path on both sides, and improves several intersections along the corridor.
A public meeting on the project is set for May 7 from 7-9 p.m. at Forestville Elementary School (1085 Utterback Store Road) and on May 14 during the same time at Colvin Run Elementary School (1400 Trap Road). Experts will be on hand to answer questions about the project.
It’s possible that more than 500,000 square feet of noise barriers could be installed along the corridor, according to VDOT. Property owners will be surveyed to determine if noise barriers will be constructed.
The project will not be completed until July 2024. Utility relocation could take until the summer of 2023 and right of way acquisition will likely be complete by early 2021, VDOT says.
“These improvements will increase capacity, improve safety and traffic flow, and enhance mobility for cyclists and pedestrians, all in conformity with Fairfax County’s Comprehensive Plan.”
Map via VDOT
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is considering a proposal to widen a three-mile stretch on Route 7 from four to six lanes.
The project, which runs from Reston Avenue to Colvin Run Road, would require the removal of just under one acre of wetlands and 2,196 linear feet of streams — the equivalent of a little over seven football fields. Shirley Contracting Company, the applicant, is attempting to minimize the environmental impacts of the project by shifting the proposed realignment by several feet. This shift would save nearly three acres of wetlands and preserve 109 linear feet of streams, according to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
Still, Shirley Contracting Company will have to provide roughly 1.9 acres of wetland credits and 2,101 feet of stream credits to offset the impact of the project on the environment. Credits are a way to create compensatory mitigation to ensure ecological losses to streams and wetlands do not result in a net loss of natural resources.
Intersection improvements, the replacement of the bridge over Difficult Run, shared-use paths, utility relocations and stormwater management are also planned. Roughly 1,600 linear feet of Colvin Run, which runs parallel to Route 7, will also be relocated.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers will issue a permit for the project if it determines the project is in the public interest. “The decision will reflect the national concern for both protection and utilization of important resources,” according to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. The project must also get a green light from the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality.
The public comment period ends on May 24. Written comments can be sent to [email protected] or by mail to Norfolk District, Corps of Engineers (ATTN: CENAO-WR-R), 803 Front Street, Norfolk, Virginia 23510-1011).
Map via U.S. Army Corps of Engineers