Morning Notes

Metrobus Services Returns Next Month — Metrobus will resume its regular services on Feb. . The service has been operating on a modified Saturday schedule with 75 percent of normal weekday service — since January. While absenteeism remains high, Metro said that employees are returning to work following their quarantine periods. [Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority]

Park Authority Names New Officers — The Fairfax County Park Authority Board has elected new officers for this year. Bill Bouie, who represents the Hunter Mill District will return to his 14th term as chairman. [Fairfax County Government]

Westbound Route 7 Traffic Shift to Begin — Starting on or about Feb. 3, a lane shift to the south between Carpers Farm way and Colvin Run Forest Drive is planned. Crews are continuing the construction of the pedestrian underpass at Colvin Run Mill Park. [Virginia Department of Transportation]

Photo via vantagehill/Flickr

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Although the pandemic wreaked havoc on supply chains and labor demands, the state’s massive improvement project along the Route 7 Corridor remains on track.

The $313.9 million project will improve seven miles of Route 7 between Reston Avenue and Jarrett Valley Drive is on schedule. Crews are working to widen the road from four to six lanes and add a shared-use path on both sides.

The project was not significantly impacted by staffing challenges and supply chain issues, a spokesperson for the Virginia Department of Transportation told Reston Now.

Kathleen Leonard, a spokesperson for VDOT, said that the design-to-build project team was able to take advantage of light traffic counts in 2012 to extend land closure hours and maintain progress throughout the pandemic.

But traffic patterns and a race-track environment are likely to remain for a little over two years.

Leonard says the project is 57 percent complete and on track for completion by July 31, 2024.

VDOT provided the following updates on the most recent work on the project:

Area 1: Reston Avenue to Colvin Forest Drive (Except Baron Cameron Avenue Intersection)

Area 1 West: Reston Avenue to Baron Cameron Avenue:

  • Completed drilling for noise barrier foundations west of Reston Parkway along eastbound Route 7. 
  • Storm sewer installation west of Baron Cameron Avenue continued.

Area 1 East: Baron Cameron Avenue to Carpers Farm Way:

  • Continued post installation for the noise barrier wall along westbound Route 7 between Colvin Run Road (east) and Colvin Run Road (west).
  • Storm sewer installation between Baron Cameron Avenue and Colvin Forest Drive continued.

Area 2: Baron Cameron Intersection

  • Continued earth-moving activities at the intersection of Route 7 and Baron Cameron Avenue.

Area 3: Difficult Run Area (Colvin Forest Drive to Faulkner Drive)

  • Continued construction of the retaining wall between eastbound Route 7 and the Colvin Run stream channel.
  • Construction of foundations for the piers and western abutment of the eastbound Route 7 bridge over Difficult Run continued.
  • Completed storm sewer installation for Stage 2 between Difficult Run and Serenity Woods Lane.

Area 4: Faulkner Drive to Jarrett Valley Drive

  • Completed storm sewer installation for Stage 3A between Serenity Woods Lane and Middleton Ridge Road.  
  • Installed underdrain, curb, and placed base and intermediate asphalt for Stage 2 between Towlston Road and Lewinsville Road. 
  • Placed base and intermediate asphalt between Lyons Street and Towlston Road.  
  • Completed the jack and bore storm sewer pipe crossing underneath Route 7 between Middleton Ridge Road and Newcombs Farm Road.  
  • Earth-moving activities for Stage 3B commenced between Lewinsville Road and Jarrett Valley Drive.
  • Began installing storm sewer for the service road between McLean Bible Church and Laurel Hill Road. 

Image via VDOT

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Morning Notes

County Changes Quarantine Period — Following the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s revised recommendations, the county is now shortening the recommended isolation period after testing positive from COVID-19 to five days. [Fairfax County Government]

No Word Yet on Herndon Sheetz — The company says that it is too early to provide additional details on when a Sheetz in Herndon is expected to break ground. The project is still in permitting stages, a company representative tells Reston Now. [Sheetz]

Last Few Days for Tacky Christmas Lights — Residents still have the chance to check out tacky Christmas lights in Fairfax County. A local location is 12708 Kettering Drive in Herndon. [Fairfax County VA]

Eastbound Route 7 Traffic Shift to Begin — Beginning Jan. 11, drivers should expect a lane shift to the north between Lyons Street and Lewinsville Road and temporary traffic changes on side streets. All residences and businesses will remain accessible. [Connect Route 7]

Photo via vantagehill/Flickr

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A new assisted living development called “The Canopy” is coming to Reston by 2023.

Silverstone Senior Living, a Dallas-based company, plans to build a three-story assisted living development at 10819 Leesburg Pike. The project, which will include 135 apartments and four levels of care for seniors, is expected to break ground later this year.

A spokesperson for the company said Reston was chosen because of its “deep roots.”

“As Silverstone expands its portfolio in the D.C. region, we wanted to provide the next generation of assisted living and memory care in a community with deep roots such as Reston.  Reston was ranked as the Best Place to Live in Virginia by Money magazine for its expanses of parks, lakes, golf courses, and bridle paths,” the company spokesperson said

The Canopy was chosen to reflect the area’s tree canopy and the parks and woodlands that the company says make Reston a “highly desirable place to live.” The design attempts to emphasize outdoor living and includes pickleball courts, an indoor and outdoor fitness facility, and access to 22 acres of walking paths and gardens.

Levels of care include active assisted living, traditional assisted living, living for people with mild cognitive impairment, and memory care.

Silverstone is working on a larger facility at The Boro in Tysons. That development includes a new 15-story building with 198 units. The company is also behind The Providence in Fairfax’s MetroWest neighborhood.

Construction would wrap up by the third quarter of 2023.

Although the COVID-19 pandemic did not change the construction timeline, the design of the new facility is intended to help limit the spread of the pandemic. Touchless door openers, bleach-cleanable fabrics in dining rooms, and special filtration systems will be installed to limit the spread of COVID-19.

The building includes six units that are considered affordable by standards set by the Virginia Department of Aging and Rehabilitative Services.

The company declined to release information about monthly rents, noting that the figure would be set based on market rates when the property opens.

Photo via Silverstone Living

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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]

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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

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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]

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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]

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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]

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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