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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Tuesday Morning Notes

Sterling Woman Killed in Route 7 Crash — Shirley Lee Corum, 75, was eastbound on Route 7 near the Dulles Toll Road on Monday morning when she crossed over the median into the westbound lanes and hit a guardrail. Police say Corum suffered a “medical emergency” that led to the accident. [Fairfax County Police Department]

Local Students Up for National Merit Scholarship Program — Rohan Chandra and Eshaan Sarup, of South Lakes High School, and Michael J. Barth, of Herndon High School, are among 16,000 students nationwide who are continuing in the competition for National Merit Scholarships worth a total of more than $32 million. [Reston Patch/Herndon Patch]

Dogs Die in Vienna House Fire — Crews responded to the 2000 block of Gunnell Farms Drive early Sunday morning to battle a blaze in a two-story home. The homeowners were not home, but two dogs who were inside lost their lives. The fire caused an estimated $273,750 in damages. [Fairfax County Fire and Rescue]

New Turf Field at Herndon Park — A ribbon-cutting ceremony took place earlier this month for the new turf soccer pitch at Herndon Community Center’s Bready Park. The Town of Herndon paid $566,000 from its general fund for the project, while Fairfax County provided a $125,000 grant and Herndon Youth Soccer will pay $400,000. [Connection Newspapers]

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County Supervisors Endorse Plans for Route 7 Widening to Tysons

At its meeting Tuesday, the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors gave its seal of approval to plans to widen Leesburg Pike (Route 7) from Reston to Tysons.

The Virginia Department of Transportation project will involve nearly seven miles of Route 7, between Reston Avenue and Jarrett Valley Drive, which is just before the Dulles Toll Road interchange. Supervisors approved the plan, with two minor amendments, as it was presented at a public hearing in November. (View information shared and discussed at that meeting here.)

“[This has been] a long-awaited case,” Hunter Mill Supervisor Cathy Hudgins said at the meeting prior to the vote.

This is the latest stage of VDOT’s work to add two lanes to the heavily traveled highway, bringing it to six overall. They also plan to add facilities for cyclists and pedestrians, and make “substantial intersection and other improvements” along the corridor. Those improvements, according to VDOT, will include constructing a partial interchange at Baron Cameron Avenue to reduce congestion.

A rendering provided by VDOT shows the Baron Cameron interchange will have the eastbound lanes of Route 7 traveling under the road, connected via ramps. Westbound lanes will continue to face a stoplight at the intersection.

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.

Anticipated cost of the project is $234 million. VDOT is expected to put out its request for proposals on the project later this year. Work is planned to start in late 2020 and last until 2025.

Rendering and map courtesy Virginia Department of Transportation

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Lawyer to Discuss Route 7 Widening with Public Next Week

A meeting is slated for June 1 to discuss the effects of widening of Route 7 from Reston to Tysons.

Michael J. Coughlin is the eminent domain, land use and zoning, and real estate lawyer for Walsh, Colucci, Lubeley and Walsh PC. He will host the meeting on the project Thursday, June 1 from 6:30-8 p.m. at the Sheraton Tysons (8661 Leesburg Pike, Tysons).

The proposed Virginia Department of Transportation project will involve nearly seven miles of Route 7, between Reston Avenue and Jarrett Valley Drive, which is just before the Dulles Toll Road interchange. Coughlin is inviting residents to the meeting to “learn about the project, potential impacts to properties, what to do to prepare for the project, the eminent domain process in Virginia, and the legal rights of owners and businesses affected by the project.”

This is the latest stage of VDOT’s work to add two lanes to the heavily traveled highway, bringing it to six overall. They also plan to add facilities for cyclists and pedestrians, and make “substantial intersection and other improvements” along the corridor.

Those improvements, according to VDOT, would include:

  • Constructing a partial interchange at Baron Cameron Avenue to reduce congestion
  • Relocating Lewinsville Road and creating a displaced left-turn intersection
  • Replacing and raising the Difficult Run bridge to reduce flooding

The last public hearing on the project was held in November. View information shared and discussed at that meeting here.

The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors is slated to vote on the project design next month. Upon approval, VDOT is expected to put out its request for proposals on the project later this year. Work is planned to start in late 2020 and last until 2025. Anticipated cost of the project is $234 million.

Photo: Intersection of Route 7 and Baron Cameron Avenue. Map via Virginia Department of Transportation.

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Monday Morning Notes

Herndon Man Dies in Route 7 Crash — Rush Hone Elmore, 69, died Friday after his vehicle was rear-ended near Leesburg. The impact of the crash forced his car off the roadway, where it overturned. He died at Reston Hospital Center. [Leesburg Police Department]

Units Respond to Kitchen Fire in Reston — Firefighters attacked a blaze Sunday afternoon at a home in the 12300 block of Brown Fox Way. [Fairfax County Fire and Rescue/Twitter]

Plum Campaign Event Set for April 30 — Del. Ken Plum (D-Fairfax) will kick off his campaign for re-election to the state House of Delegates with a fundraiser at The Lake House (11450 Baron Cameron Ave.). Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring is scheduled to be in attendance to show his support. [Del. Ken Plum]

Reston Students Profiled in ‘KidsPost’ — Katie Damon’s second-grade class at Terraset Elementary School voted on their favorite author, singer, sport and more for a profile in this weekend’s Washington Post. The kids also reported what they want to be when they grow up and what superpower they’d like to have. [Washington Post]

Bridge Title Claimed by Herndon Woman — Li Yiting was part of the team that won the Machlin Women’s Swiss Teams event at the Spring North American Bridge Championships last month in Kansas City. This is her third championship win. [Fairfax Times]

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