Morning Notes

Tiger swallowtail butterfly at Lake Fairfax Park (photo by Marjorie Copson)

Virginia Requires Masks in Schools — Gov. Ralph Northam issued a public health order yesterday (Thursday) requiring universal mask-wearing in all K-12 schools in response to concerns about the COVID-19 Delta variant. Fairfax County Public Schools announced a mandate on July 28 that had some exemptions for fully vaccinated individuals, but the district updated its policy on Wednesday (Aug. 11) to require masks indoors for everyone. [The Washington Post]

Fairfax County Opens for Vaccine Site Requests — “Businesses and community event organizers can now request to host a vaccination team to provide COVID-19 vaccines or education/outreach services so that people can learn more about the vaccines. Requests will be reviewed and matched with an outreach or nursing team from the Fairfax County Health Department.” [FCHD]

Route 7 Traffic Changes Coming Next WeekUtterback Store Road in Great Falls will be closed from 9:30 a.m. on Monday (Aug. 16) to 2 p.m. on Friday (Aug. 20) while crews remake the intersection for the Route 7 Corridor Improvements Project. Construction, which will continue until 2024, will also require westbound Route 7 lane shifts from Reston Parkway to Reston Avenue on Aug. 17 and between Utterback Store and Springvale roads on Aug. 19. [VDOT]

Senate Infrastructure Bill Boosts D.C. Area — Metro would receive $150 million annually for capital improvements over the next eight years from the $1 trillion infrastructure funding bill that the Senate approved 69-30 on Tuesday (Aug. 10). The bill allocates more than $8 billion to Virginia for highway and bridge repairs, public transit support, and expansions of the state’s broadband and electric vehicle charging infrastructure. [DCist]

0 Comments

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

0 Comments

Morning Notes

Cicadas Light Up Local Weather Radar — Weather radars in the D.C. area, including one in Sterling, have been picked up a lot of activity in recent days that the National Weather Service believes stem from insects, including the Brood X cicadas that have been making noise around the region since early May. [Capital Weather Gang]

Connolly Cross Country Trail to Partially Close — “Starting on Monday, June 21 and continuing through July 9, 2021, the Gerry Connolly Cross County Trail will be closed between mile markers 3.2 and 3.8 in the Difficult Run Stream Valley Park north of Route 7 (Leesburg Pike) while crews perform maintenance on the Potomac Interceptor sanitary sewer. Signs and barricades will be in place to alert the public.” [Route 7 Corridor Improvements/VDOT]

Reston Chamber Hosts Valor Awards — The Greater Reston Chamber of Commerce, which is serving as host for the first time after taking over from the Northern Virginia Chamber of Commerce, announced the recipients of the 43rd annual Fairfax County Valor Awards yesterday (Tuesday). The awards recognize heroic acts by first responders from the county’s public safety agencies as well as the Town of Vienna Police Department and Virginia State Police. [Patch]

0 Comments

Morning Notes

COVID-19 Capacity Limits End in Virginia — Virginia officially lifted all capacity and social distancing requirements instituted for COVID-19 on Friday (May 28). Masks are still required in some settings, including in schools and on public transit, and the Virginia Department of Health says people who are not fully vaccinated should still wear a face covering and practice social distancing in public settings. [Fairfax County Health Department]

Police Investigate Fatal Great Falls Car Crash — “Around 10:53 p.m., Salavdro Alvarez Perez of Maryland, 24, was driving alone and heading east on Georgetown Pike when his 2021 Toyota Corrolla left the road, hit a fence and mailbox, then flipped over, according to police. He was pronounced dead at the scene. Detectives from the Crash Reconstruction Unit believe alcohol may have contributed to the crash and are investigating whether speed was also a factor.” [Patch]

Amanda Drive in Great Falls Reopens Tomorrow — “On or about Wednesday, June 2, 2021, drivers will experience traffic pattern changes on side streets between Utterback Store Road and Riva Ridge Drive as Amanda Drive reopens to traffic at Route 7. All residences, businesses and other public facilities will remain accessible…As a reminder, the Route 7 speed limit has been reduced to 45 miles per hour in active work zones between Reston Avenue and Jarrett Valley Drive.” [VDOT]

The Water Mine Opens After Weather-Related DelayThe Water Mine in Reston officially kicked off the summer 2021 season on Memorial Day (May 31), but the opening was delayed until noon due to “low temperatures.” The water park will be open on the weekends until June 12, when operating hours expand to seven days a week. [Fairfax County Park Authority]

Extent of In-Person Learning Varies Across D.C. Region — About 60% of the roughly 700,000 students in the D.C. area have been learning entirely online since March 2020. The number of students who have received some in-person instruction over the past year ranges from nearly 60% in Arlington and about half of all students in Fairfax County to just 28% in D.C. and Prince George’s County. [The Washington Post]

0 Comments

Morning Notes

Pedestrian Killed on Leesburg Pike — Eastbound Route 7 was closed at Redberry Court in Great Falls Sunday morning (May 16) after a pedestrian identified as 43-year-old Allen Romero of McLean was killed in a hit-and-run crash around 5:21 a.m. Police are seeking witnesses of the crash, which involved multiple cars but was initiated by a 2011-2015 Ford Fusion that lost its driver’s side mirror. [FCPD]

Fairfax County Libraries Stop Quarantining Books — As of Friday (May 14), Fairfax County Public Library is no longer quarantining incoming returned materials, a practice that started as a COVID-19 health precaution. Pre-pandemic circulation rules are also back, including a 50-item limit on checkouts and holds for physical items and a 30-day expiration for incomplete online library card registrations. [Friends of Reston Regional Library/Twitter]

Most Metro Riders Unlikely to Return This Year, Report Says — A new report suggests that telework, not fare prices or health concerns, might be Metro’s greatest challenge to restoring ridership levels as the transit agency expects just 42% of pre-pandemic riders to return by the end of 2021. About 60% of pre-pandemic rail commuters are not traveling to work at all, including many of the federal workers that compose the system’s largest customer base. [The Washington Post]

Reston Contractor Named Best Place to Work — “Reston’s Counter Threat Solutions LLC, a consulting firm for government agencies, was named one of the best places to work in 2021 by Inc. magazine…GuidePoint Security in Herndon and Glassman Wealth Services in Vienna were among the other companies in Northern Virginia to make the list.” [Patch]

0 Comments

Nosie Barrier being installed along Route 7, between Reston Avenue and Utterback Store Road (Photo courtesy of VDOT)

(Update 3/3) A major project to widen nearly seven miles of Route 7 between Reston Avenue and Jarrett Valley Drive remains on track for completion by July 31, 2024.

It is also expected to be completed within its $314 million budget, confirms Jennifer McCord, a  Virginia Department of Transportation spokeswoman.

The improvements include widening the heavily-trafficked road – also known as Leesburg Pike – from four to six lanes, adding shared-use paths for pedestrians and bikers, and making major design changes to intersections.

It’s all being done within the guidelines of the Fairfax County Comprehensive Plan.

The project was first discussed nearly a decade ago, approved in 2017 with construction beginning two years ago, in the spring of 2019. It’s expected to take just over five years to complete.

Over the last two months, construction has continued at different sections of the road.

Between Reston Avenue and Utterback Store Road, a noise barrier is currently being added as well as the installation of a storm sewer between Reston Avenue and Baron Cameron Avenue.

From Baron Cameron Avenue to Colvin Run Road, existing asphalt was removed.

In the Difficult Run Area, work has continued on the new Colvin Run as well as excavation for the pedestrian tunnel that will run under Route 7.

Between Faulkner Drive to Jarrett Valley Drive, water main relocations and traffic shifts are taking place.

Landscaping work and third-party utility relocations are underway throughout the roadway.

This construction has also resulted in a number of traffic changes and lane closures that are constantly shifting.

In the upcoming months, crews will begin removing the Route 7 bridge over Difficult Run and will eventually complete a higher, longer bridge to replace it.

Colvin Run will also be diverted to a new stream channel. Small weirs (barriers) are being placed in the stream bed to encourage a meandering flow pattern and vegetation growth.

Construction will also continue on the pedestrian tunnel underneath Route 7 connecting the north and south sections of Colvin Run Mill Park.

Despite the ongoing work, public access to the Gerry Connolly Cross County Trail will be maintained.

While crews continue to work with COVID-19 safety protocols in effect, the decreased traffic volume in the earlier part of the pandemic has allowed VDOT to extend work hours in certain cases.

Photo courtesy of VDOT

0 Comments

The Virginia Department of Transportation is planning bridge rehabilitation work over Sugarland Run this weekend, causing lane closures on westbound Route 7.

Only one lane on westbound Route 7 will be open from 10 p.m. today (Friday) to 3 a.m. Monday (Oct. 26), according to a statement from VDOT.

The following lanes of westbound Route 7 will be closed Friday night to Monday morning (October 23-26), if weather permits, and drivers are encouraged to take alternate routes:

  • Fairfax County Parkway (Route 286)
  • Dranesville Road (Route 228)

More from VDOT on what to expect on westbound Route 7 is below:

Bridge rehabilitation work over Sugarland Run

HERNDON – The two left lanes of westbound Route 7 (Leesburg Pike) Fairfax County Parkway (Route 286) and Dranesville Road (Route 228) will be closed (weather permitting) Friday night, Oct. 23 to Monday morning, Oct. 26 for work related to the Route 7 Westbound over Sugarland Run bridge rehabilitation project, according to the Virginia Department of Transportation.

Traffic on westbound Route 7 will be reduced to one lane from 10 p.m. Friday to 3 a.m. Monday.

Drivers can expect delays and are advised to use alternate routes.

The $4.4 million Route 7 Westbound over Sugarland Run bridge rehabilitation project includes a new concrete bridge deck, bridge pier and abutment repairs, guardrail upgrades, and new curb and gutter in the area of the bridge. The project is financed with state and federal State of Good Repair funds used for bridges and is expected to be complete in spring 2021. Read more.

Photo via Virginia Department of Transportation

0 Comments

Drivers should expect more traffic changes and lane shifts on Route 7 beginning today (Monday) as work on the multi-year expansion project continues.

Drivers on westbound Route 7 and nearby side streets will see major lane shifts and traffic pattern changes between Baron Cameron Avenue and Utterback Store Road.

All westbound lanes will shift south between Baron Cameron Avenue and Utterback Store Road beginning today.

Detours are also in effect until June 2021 for Great Passage Boulevard and Riva Ridge Drive. Drivers are encouraged to followed signed detour routes along Kettle Pond Lane and Amanda Drive.

The project will widen seven miles between Reston Avenue and Jarrett Valley Drive, including widening the road from four to six lanes, adding 10-foot-side shared-use paths, and other intersection improvements.

The $313.9 million project is expected to be completed by the summer of 2024.

Photo via Virginia Department of Transportation

0 Comments

The Virginia Department of Transportation’s project to widen Route 7 is well underway and is on track to finish by summer 2024.

The project planned to “improve almost seven miles of Route 7 between Reston Ave. and Jarrett Valley Drive,” according to Jennifer McCord, the Northern Virginia Communications Manager for the Virginia Department of Transportation. 

As of right now, there are several traffic shifts and new traffic patterns along the Route 7 Corridor as crews place temporary asphalt for the road widening as well as intersection reconstruction, according to McCord. She added that noise walls will be added later as most of the work is completed. 

At the beginning of the project, VDOT set a $313.9 million budget, and according to McCord, they are still on track to complete within that budget. 

As of June 2020, from Reston Avenue to Riva Ridge Drive making up Area 1 West, there has been continued storm sewer installation, relocated communication lines, installation of an underdrain, continued construction of a stormwater management pond and cement stabilization, according to the Virginia Department of Transportation project website

In Area 1 East from Baron Cameron Ave. to Carpers Farm Way, construction completed cement stabilizations, placed base asphalt, shifted eastbound Route 7 lanes towards the median, began reconstruction of Delta Glen Court pavement and built a retaining wall west of Baron Cameron Ave. 

In Area 2, the Baron Cameron Intersection, Stage 2 construction was pending right-of-way acquisition. 

In Area 3, Difficult Run Area, there was continued relocation of communication utilities. 

In Area 4, Faulkner Drive to Jarrett Valley Drive, there was the construction of a stormwater management pond, asphalt was placed for temporary pavement in the median and they completed shoulder strengthening along the eastbound lanes, according to the website. 

Since fewer people have been traveling since the pandemic, the number of allowable work hours extended because of the decrease in traffic volume. 

 “Due to the 40-60% decrease in traffic volumes in parts of March and April, VDOT was able to grant select contractor requests for extended allowable work hours,” said McCord. 

Improvements at Towlston Road were completed in October 2019, and a new triple left turn at Baron Cameron Ave. was completed early and has been open for about a year, said McCord. 

The website continues to post lane closure updates for the following week every Friday. 

Photos courtesy of Jennifer McCord

0 Comments

Monday Morning Notes

Route 7 Lane Shifts Begin — There will be permanent lane shifts between Towlston Road and Lewinsville Road beginning today. All residences, businesses and other facilities will remain accessible. [Virginia Department of Transportation]

Filing Now Open for Reston Community Center Poll — “Candidate filing is now open for Reston Community Center’s 2020 Preference Poll to fill three seats on its Board of Governors. The Board of Governors is a nine-member body responsible for overseeing the policies, programs and financial planning for RCC.” [RCC]

Northern Virginia Trails Eastern in New COVID-19 Cases — “While the northern region was the center of the coronavirus crisis in Virginia months ago, it has been trailing the eastern region for new cases lately. In the eastern region, additional restrictions have been implemented in Hampton Roads due to increasing new cases, hospitalizations and positive tests.” [Reston Patch]

Photo via vantagehill/Flickr

0 Comments

Beginning July 28, lane shifts and traffic patterns will be changing between Utterback Store Road and Reston Avenue.

The Virginia Department of Transportation will be adding a third lane and shared-use paths in each direction, running about seven miles along Route 7. 

The department is also adding a pedestrian underpass to access Colvin Run Mill Park, replacing and raising the bridge over Difficult Run and making more bicycle, pedestrian and intersection improvements, according to a statement from the department. 

Work shifts will take place during daytime and overnight hours, according to the statement. 

Starting on or around August 3, cleaning crews will begin work clearing during the daytime hours. All residences, businesses, and public facilities will still be accessible. 

The speed limit on Route 7 will be reduced to 45 miles per hour in active work zones between Reston Avenue and Jarrett Valley Drive. 

Photo via Virginia Department of Transportation

0 Comments

Route 7 drivers can expect delays and temporary closures due to construction beginning June 19.

The Virginia Department of Transporation will work on reconstructing the Delta Glen Court intersection and shift eastbound Route 7 traffic to the north.

People may experience lane shifts and temporary changes to the traffic pattern during construction between Baron Cameron Avenue and Carpers Farm Way. All residences, businesses, churches, and public facilities will still be accessible.

From June 19 at 7 p.m. until Jue 20, changes according to VDOT include:

  •  Temporarily median closure until the daytime hours on June 20
  • Drivers on westbound Route 7 to Delta Glen Court will proceed to Baron Cameron Avenue and U-turn to access Delta Glen Court
  • Drivers on eastbound Route 7 to Colvin Run Road will proceed to the Carpers Farm Way/Colvin Run Road intersection and turn left
  • Drivers will encounter single lane closures on eastbound and westbound Route 7 near the Delta Glen Court/Colvin Run Road intersection

Other closures reroutes will take place throughout the rest of the year, the press release said.

Those who want to see detailed plans for construction can check out VDOT’s online interactive updates map.

“As a reminder, the Route 7 speed limit has been reduced to 45 miles per hour in active work zones between Reston Avenue and Jarrett Valley Drive,” VDOT said.

Image courtesy VDOT

0 Comments

State crews are taking advantage of a major dip in traffic as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. The Virginia Department of Transportation is planning extended closures on several areas of Route 7 in order to fast track major improvements to the roadway.

The extended lane closures were temporarily extended due to “the significant decrease in traffic as a result of school closures, increased telework and limitations on public gatherings,” according to a statement from VDOT.

Here’s more from VDOT on what to expect through Friday, April 17:

ROUTE 7 EASTBOUND

Between Reston Avenue and Jarrett Valley Drive
Monday, March 30 – Friday, April 3, 8 a.m. to 5 a.m.
Left or right lane closed.

Between Baron Cameron Avenue and Jarrett Valley Drive
Sunday, March 29, 10 p.m. to Monday, March 30, 5 a.m.

Friday, April 3, 8 a.m. to Saturday, April 4, 9 a.m.
Saturday, April 4, 10 p.m. to Sunday, April 5, 8 a.m.
Left lane closed. Night work hours may be subject to change based on traffic conditions. 

ROUTE 7 WESTBOUND

Between Jarrett Valley Drive and Reston Avenue
Monday, March 30 – Friday, April 3, 7 p.m. to 3 p.m.
Left or right lane closed.

Between Jarrett Valley Drive and Baron Cameron Avenue
Sunday, March 29, 10 p.m. to Monday, March 30, 3 p.m.

Friday, April 3, 7 p.m. to Saturday, April 4, 9 a.m.
Saturday, April 4, 10 p.m. to Sunday, April 5, 8 a.m.
Left lane closed. Night work hours may be subject to change based on traffic conditions.

VDOT is working to improve a seven-mile stretch of Route 7 between Reston Avenue and Jarrett Valley Drive. The road will be widened from four to six lanes and several intersections will be updated.

Photo via VDOT

0 Comments

For the next month, drivers can expect changes to their weekday commutes along Route 7 in Reston.

Beginning around Jan. 27 until the end of February, drivers can expect shoulder and single-lane closures from 9:30 a.m. to 3 p.m Monday-Thursday and from 9:30 a.m. to 2 p.m.on Fridays, according to a press release from the Virginia Department of Transportation.

During this time, crews will be working between Baron Cameron Avenue and Colvin Forest Drive to clear shrubbery and foliage from the east-bound right of way, the press release said.

The work will prepare for an implementation of a shared-use path, more lanes and intersection improvements along Route 7, according to VDOT.

The speed in the area will be temporarily reduced to 45 miles per hour between Reston Avenue and Jarrett Valley Drive until the work on the roadway is finished.

Image courtesy VDOT

0 Comments

The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors approved the county’s Transportation Priorities Plan — which is estimated to cost roughly $3 billion dollars.

The plan approved last Tuesday (Dec. 3) by the board will guide decisions for transit improvements for fiscal years 2020 to 2025, according to a county press release.

In the Hunter Mill District specifically, there are more than 50 projects recommended by the county documents — many of which include improvements in safety measures for pedestrians and bicyclists as well as various infrastructure and intersection changes. Some of the projects suggested in the plan will be fully funded by the estimated cost, while other projects will need to find additional funding.

Here is a list of a few major improvements in the plan:

  • Widen Route 7 from four to six lanes from Jarrett Valley Drive (Dulles Toll Road) to Reston Avenue. This would include intersection, bicycle and pedestrian and bus stop changes
  • Addition of a walkway on the north side of Fox Mill Road from Fairfax County Parkway to Reston Parkway
  • Expansion of Reston bike-share
  • Expansion of Town Center Parkway to include a divided roadway under the Dulles Toll Road from Sunrise Valley Drive to Sunset Hills Road

The Fairfax County Department of Transportation will also continue projects that are already underway, according to Fairfax County’s website.

County documents also included a list of projects that were not recommended for the 2020-25 Priorities List, including the underpass for Town Center Parkway and the Dulles Toll Road.

In 2014, the Board of Supervisors approved $1.4 billion for six years of transportation projects from FY 2015-2020.

The county said in the press release that the funding estimate for the FY 2020- 2025 plan was impacted by the Virginia General Assembly passing legislation that diverted funds to the Washington Metropolitan Transit Authority, along with rising project costs.

More from the press release:

The anticipated funding for a draft FY 2018-2023 TPP was $600 million in new revenues to fully fund existing projects and $170 million in new projects. These funding estimates were not realized, because in 2018, the Virginia General Assembly passed legislation that designated $154 million per year for the Washington Metropolitan Transit Authority (WMATA) to address system improvement needs largely did so by diverting funding from existing local and regional sources.

Of the $102 million annual diversion, the financial impact on Fairfax County was estimated to be $45-50 million per year, or approximately $300 million over six years. As a result, there is no available revenue for new transportation projects. In addition, the County was required to adjust schedules for some previously approved projects, many beyond FY 2025…

According to the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT), project costs have been rising for various reasons, including the number of large-scale projects underway across the National Capital Region causing shortages of labor and materials; economic factors such as tariffs and rising right-of-way costs; and across the board increases on project contingencies required by VDOT.

Image via Google Maps

0 Comments
×

Subscribe to our mailing list