Now Open: Turn Lane at Baron Cameron Avenue

The first of several planned improvements to the Route 7 Corridor is officially complete.

A third left-turn lane from westbound Route 7 to Baron Cameron Avenue opened to traffic on Monday (August 19) — the first of several traffic flow improvements planned between Reston Avenue and Jarrett Valley Drive.

The project includes other improvements like a third lane in each direction, shared-use paths on both sides, the replacement of a bridge over Difficult Run and a pedestrian underpass to access Colvin Run Mill Park.

The complete list of planned improvements is below:

Widening the road from four lanes to six lanes

Building continuous shared-use paths along eastbound and westbound Route 7

Raising the Difficult Run bridge above flood elevation

Shared-use trail under the Difficult Run bridge with minimum height clearance of twelve feet

Adding a pedestrian underpass at Colvin Run Mill Park for enhanced park access

Shifting Route 7 lanes away from Colvin Run Mill; enlarging culvert under Carpers Farm Way

Adding noise walls with architectural treatment (where reasonable/feasible per final analysis)

Adding stormwater ponds

Replacing/relocating the existing Lewinsville Road intersection with McLean Bible Church’s eastern entrance with a new displaced-left with two coordinated signals

At Towlston Road, shifting Route 7 away from Andrey Chapel Cemetery; adding right- and left-turn lanes on southbound Towlston Road

Widening Forestville Road to add southbound left- and right-turn lanes

Adding a third left-turn lane from westbound Route 7 to southbound Baron Cameron Avenue, as well as a free-flow ramp from northbound Baron Cameron Avenue to eastbound Route 7

Improving the approach angle from Utterback Store Road to Route 7

Lengthening left- and right-turn lanes from Route 7 to many side streets along the corridor; eliminating some median crossings for safety

Building new ADA-compliant sidewalk ramps 

Officials estimate the project will be complete by 2024.

Until then, the speed limit along Route 7 has been reduced to 45 miles per house in active work zones between Reston Avenue and Delta Glen Court.

Photo via Virginia Department of Transportation

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New Left-Turn Lane to Open at Baron Cameron Avenue

A new third left-turn lane is set to open next week from westbound Route 7 to westbound Baron Cameron Avenue.

The addition of the lane is the first of several major improvements planned for the Route 7 Corridor to improve the flow of traffic.

Construction between Reston Avenue and Jarrett Valley Drive is ongoing. The project will widen the ride from four to six lanes, add shared-use paths and upgrade several intersections between Reston Avenue and Jarrett Valley Drive.

The speed limit has been reduced to 45 miles per hour in active work zones between Reston Avenue and Delta Glen Court.

Eastbound Route 7 traffic turning right onto westbound Baron Cameron Avenue must yield to oncoming traffic before merging into the through lane.

The new lane will be open to traffic on Monday (August 19).

Map via Virginia Department of Transportation

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JUST IN: Herndon Man Arrested for Alleged Attempted Murder of Cop

Virginia State Police arrested a Herndon man for allegedly trying to murder a police officer following a Clarke County shooting.

Police charged 33-year-old Timothy B. Neal with attempted capital murder of a police officer, use of a firearm in the commission of a felony, possession of a firearm by a convicted felon and shooting into an occupied vehicle, according to Virginia State Police.

Shortly before 9 a.m. on Monday (Aug. 5), a Clarke County sheriff’s deputy responded to a medical emergency call at a farmer’s market in the 4800 block of Harry Byrd Hwy (Route 7), Corinne Geller, a spokesperson for the Virginia State Police, said.

“When the Deputy and an ambulance arrived on scene, the male subject who reported being in distress had left the market on foot,” Geller said.

More from the Virginia State Police:

The Deputy began a search of the area for the male — later identified as Neal — and located him walking in the median of Route 7. Neal was compliant with the Deputy’s request for an ID. The Deputy had returned to his patrol car and was seated inside checking the man’s information when Neal pulled a concealed weapon from his waistband and fired at and struck the Deputy’s vehicle.

The Deputy immediately took cover and returned fire. Neal was struck and was transported to the Winchester Medical Center for treatment of non-life threatening injuries.

The Deputy was not injured in the incident.

At the request of the Clarke County Sheriff, the Police Shooting Investigation Team, out of the Virginia State Police Bureau of Criminal Investigation’s Culpeper Field Office, is investigating the officer-involved shooting. The incident remains under investigation at this time.

Neal is being held without bond at the Northwest Regional Adult Detention Center.

File photo

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Summer Road Construction Projects on Route 7 Underway

State crews are working on several road construction projects along the Route 7 Corridor this summer.

The speed limit has been reduced to 45 miles per hour in the project’s active work zones.

Construction of a third left turn lane from westbound Route 7 to southbound Baron Cameron Avenue is expected to be complete by the end of the summer.

Crews are also continuing work to widen the shoulders on westbound Route 7 between the Colvin Run Mill area and Reston Avenue. Once work is completed, the westbound lanes will shift to the right to give crews space to construction temporary eastbound lanes.

The Virginia Department of Transportation cautions drivers to watch out for signs indicating changes to traffic patterns in the area.

Other minor work including pipe installation, median excavation, utility and temporary signal work is ongoing in the median of Route 7 between the Colvin Run Mill area and Reston Avenue.

Photo via VDOT

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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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County Board OKs Thomas Avenue Cut-Through Traffic Restrictions

The Fairfax County’s Board of Supervisors greenlighted cut-through restrictions on Thomas Avenue today (June 4).

The restrictions would end Thomas Avenue serving as a conduit to get to Route 7 and the resulting traffic jams during rush hour along the narrow residential road.

Back in January, the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) presented potential solutions and gathered feedback from locals concerning ways to limit cut-through traffic at the congested street that lies north of Herndon.

Now, VDOT can install a “No Right Turn” sign from southbound Algonkian Parkway onto westbound Thomas Avenue between 7-10 a.m.

This change has been in the works for almost three years, starting in 2016 with the county board endorsing a resolution to VDOT requesting that the avenue get considered for measures that reduce its volume of cut-through traffic.

Photo via Google Maps

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Tuesday Morning Notes

Connect Route 7 Public Meeting Tonight — State transportation officials are looking for feedback on their plans to widen seven miles of Route 7 between Reston Avenue and Jarrett Valley Drive from four to six lanes. A meeting is set for tonight at 7 p.m. at Forestville Elementary School in Great Falls. [Connect Route 7]

Local Investor’s Ties to Beyond Meat — “Los Angeles-based Beyond Meat Inc. had one of the most impressive initial public offerings in nearly two decades — but it was the company’s dedication to the science behind making a non-meat burger or sausage taste good that first drew in John Backus, co-founder and managing partner of Reston-based Proof.VC. [Washington Business Journal]

Deadline Extended for Fairfax County Parkway Survey — If you haven’t yet given feedback on planned improvements on the parkway, you still have a chance to do so online. State and county transportation officials have extended the deadline of an online survey to May 20. [Fairfax County Government]

Create Giant Paper Flowers Today — Scrawl Books is hosting a Reston Community Workshop on making giant paper flowers with cardstock tonight at 6 p.m. Registration is $40 for residents and $60 for all others. [Scrawl Books]

Photo by Tom J.

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Public Comment Sought on ‘Connect Route 7’ Project

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

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Plan to Widen Route 7 Would Impact Wetlands, Streams

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

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Tuesday Morning Notes

Tai chi — Local instructor Susan Shen will lead a class from 6:30-7:30 p.m. at the Reston Regional Library. [Fairfax County]

RA seeking lighting standard for pool facilities — Reston Association is requesting the establishment of a lighting standard for RA-owned pool and parking lot facilities. This application will be heard at the Design Review Board meeting on April 8 at 7 p.m. [Application]

Reston Hospital Center planning Tysons ER — “The hospital is proposing a freestanding emergency department at an existing building on Route 7 in Tysons, after initiating plans in late 2017 to build a new ER on a vacant parcel about a mile away, the hospital confirmed Monday after filing a zoning application with Fairfax County.” [Washington Business Journal]

Stream restoration at Wiehle South — Reston Association has a video giving an update on the stream restoration project. [YouTube]

Photo courtesy Logan Kleinwaks

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‘Pardon Our Dust’ Meetings Starting Soon for Route 7 Widening

As construction gears up for widening Route 7 from Reston to Tysons, “Pardon Our Dust” meetings starting later this spring with information on the upcoming work phases and schedules.

The proposed Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) project will transform nearly seven miles of Route 7, between Reston Avenue and Jarrett Valley Drive, which is just before the Dulles Toll Road interchange.

The project will widen Route 7 from four to six lanes, add shared-use paths and revamp intersections along the corridor.

The project aims to “increase capacity, improve safety and traffic flow and enhance mobility for cyclists and pedestrians, all in conformity with Fairfax County’s Comprehensive Plan,” according to VDOT.

Washington Gas has been busy with work along the corridor to replace a little under 7 miles of pipeline along Route 7 from Bishop Gates Way in Herndon to the intersection of Baron Cameron Avenue and Springvale Road.

The schedule for the project on VDOT’s website says:

  • late summer 2018-summer 2020: final design
  • early 2019-early 2021: right of way
  • spring 2019-summer 2023: utility relocation
  • spring 2019-summer 2024: construction

The project is slated to finish in July of 2024, VDOT says.

Specific dates and locations for the “Pardon Our Dust” meetings, which will periodically occur from this spring through summer 2023, have not been announced yet.

Map via Virginia Department of Transportation

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Multiple Vehicle Crash Sends Four to Hospital on Route 7

A car crash involving several cars on Route 7 sent four people to the hospital with non-life-threatening injuries earlier this morning.

Units from Station 39 in North Point responded to the incident, which happened as icy and snowy conditions swept down on much of the area today.

The driver of one car was trapped and was removed from the vehicle.

No other information about the incident was immediately available.

Photos via Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department

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To Close Funding Gap, County Board Approves $40 Million for Route 7 Widening

The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors will contribute up to $40 million to help close a funding a gap in the widening of Route 7.

The $278 million project, which will widen Route 7 between Reston Avenue and Jarrett Valley Drive from four to six lanes, will cost roughly 95 million more than what engineers’ originally estimated.

The board unanimously voted to approve additional funds on Tuesday (June 19). The Virginia Department of Transportation is expected to also contribute up to $40 million.

Tom Biesiadny, director of the Fairfax County Department of Transportation, said cost overruns were linked primarily to how the contract was bid. The state is currently negotiating between two offerors who offered bids above the estimated price. The contract is a design-to-build, which is costlier than design-to-bid projects and would allow the project to begin two years earlier than originally anticipated,  Biesiadny said.

Officials hope to reduce the expected costs of the project by negotiating with the two offerors. Final bid offers must be in by early July.

Most funding to meet the gap will be taken from dollars allocated for Tysons projects. A plan to widen Frying Pan Road will also be deferred, Biesiadny said.

Biesiadny said bicycle and pedestrian improvements are also planned along the seven-mile stretch, which he said connects Reston and Tysons.

It provides benefits to both of those areas by allowing traffic to move more quickly through those areas, reduc[ing] congestion, but also provid[ing[ bicycle and pedestrian improvements and bus stop improvements,” he said.

File photo via FCDOT

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Route 7 Widening Project to Tysons Hit by Funding Gap

An additional $40 million is being sought to begin widening a seven-mile stretch of Route 7 between Reston Avenue and Jarrett Valley Drive.

State officials’ estimates of the overall $278 million project came in $95 million above the amount originally anticipated by the proposal. The project has been bid and is ready for construction, pending the approval of additional funding.

The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors will consider approving funding at their June 19 meeting.

Once the funding gap has been bridged, construction will begin to widen Route 7 from four to six lanes with intersection improvements and the addition of a shared-use path on both sides of the roadway. County and state officials said the project is necessary to reduce congestion, improve safety and boost mobility for bicyclists and pedestrians.

Officials said the project came in nearly $1 million above estimates due to the competitive market generated by ongoing construction in Northern Virginia, several challenging utility relocations (including a $200 million upgrade project by Washington Gas) and the more than 230 property transactions required to ensure right-of-way.

The county is considering pitching in $23 million in funding that was not previously allocated by the board. Dollars will be drawn from the following project:  Route 123’s widening ($13 million), Frying Pan road widening ($3 million) and a park and ride expansion at the Lorton VRE ($690,470). The Virginia Department of Transportation will provide up to $40 million in state funding.

According to 2011 traffic counts provided by VDOT, the stretch of Route 7 carries between 46,000 and 54,000 vehicles per day. That number is expected to increase to 73,000 to 86,000 by 2040, VDOT says.

Map via VDOT

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