Overnight Collision Prompts Single Tracking on Silver Line

Commuters on the Silver, Orange and Blue Lines should expect significant delays throughout today (Monday) after two trains collided between the Foggy Bottom and Farragut West stations.

Since 5:30 a.m. today, the three lines have been running trains every 15 minutes.  Silver Line trains are only Running between Wiehe-Reston East and Ballston. The Orange and Blue Lines are single-tracking between Farragut West and McPherson Square.

The rear-end collision happened around 1 a.m. today. Two train operators were treated for non-life-threatening injuries after the out-of-service trains collided.

Commuters should consider using alternative routes. Metro’s rush hour promise will be suspended on the three lines this afternoon.

Metro says the trails did not derail and no damage to Metro’s infrastructure was reported.

File photo

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Metro Board Flags Problems with Silver Line Extension Project

Metro board members flagged several concerns with the Silver Line extension that could delay its expected opening date in July 2020.

At a Thursday board meeting, the board heard a comprehensive report about critical issues on the stations including cracked concrete an unleveled track.

In some areas, track plates are curved, creating a gap between the plate and tie of track plates. The report also found irregular track cross-levels. The contractor attempted to install pads, create custom guard rail plates and install hardware for all turnouts — a fix that Metro rejected because it is “not a safe and effective longterm solution.”

The report also indicated that the ballast — the gravel around the tracks — was contaminated with materials that could cause drainage issues and pose a potential safety risk.

Metro also rejected the contractor’s application of a sealer to remedy cracked concrete at five at-grade stations. The fix was implemented after a federal investigation confirmed the contractor falsified test results at the concrete plant.

The body is seeking a safe and effective long term solution after tests showed that the sealer did not effectively penetrate cracked concrete in 20 percent of the 25 areas Metro’s Office of Inspector General tested.

According to WAMU, Maryland board representative Michael Goldman said the findings cast a “dark and foreboding cloud” over the expected opening date provided by the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority.

The Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority must address concerns highlighted by the report in order for Metro to take over the project.

Photo by Fatimah Waseem

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Friday Morning Notes

Excessive Heat Warning in Effect Today — The heat warning is in effect from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. this evening. Heat index values will climb near 110 degrees today. An excessive heat watch is in effect tomorrow and Sunday as well. [Fairfax Alerts]

Review Changes to Fairfax County’s Zoning Laws — On Monday, June 22, residents can drop in on an open house in Fairfax to learn about recently proposed changes, including new uses for agritourism and limiting temperatures for LED lights. Attendees can also learn about recently adopted changes to community gardens, short-term rentals, and signs. [Fairfax County Government]

Despite Issues, Silver Line Extension On Track — “Switches in the new Silver Line rail yard do not line up with the tracks they are supposed to connect to, systems to detect train locations in the yard have failed, and there are still problems with the rocks that support the tracks, a new report to the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority Board said.” [WTOP]

Photo via vantagehill/Flickr

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Long-Term Study to Identify Metro’s Future Regional Needs

Metro is launching is a two-year study of the Blue, Orange and Silver Line in order to find long-term options to meet future regional needs.

The study is intended to improve reliability, meet future ridership demands, and improve service for customers, according to a statement released yesterday (June 17).

Because all three Metro lines share a single set of tracks between the Rosslyn tunnel and the Anacostia River, Metro says that bottlenecks are inevitable and disruptions on one line have a “ripple effect” on all three lines.

The study will explore infrastructure improvements and service alternatives to address the above issues.

Here’s more from the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority:

The first phase of the study will assess key issues and trends and document why improvements to the Blue, Orange, and Silver lines are necessary. Subsequent phases will include the development and evaluation of alternatives, as well as a thorough analysis of costs and benefits, with recommendation of a preferred alternative expected to occur by the fall of 2020.

Ultimately, the study will identify and analyze a range of potential alternatives before recommending a “locally preferred alternative” to move forward with federal environmental review, full design, and competition for federal funding. Over the next two years, Metro plans extensive outreach to engage the community, stakeholders, and transit experts to gather feedback and make recommendations.

More information about the study is available online.

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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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Monday Morning Notes

Contractor Identifies New Problems with Silver Line Phase Two — “The contractor building Phase 2 of the Silver Line has identified another problem with the beleaguered project. This time it’s at the Dulles Airport station, where concrete pedestals designed to support the two-story structure’s glass walls and windscreens are cracking because they were built without proper internal reinforcement.” [The Washington Post]

Famous Toastery Now Open— The breakfast-focused North Carolina-based chain opened on Saturday (April 13) at RTC West (12100 Sunset Hills Road). Diane and Gary Reedy, both Reston natives, are the owners of the new Reston location.[Reston Patch]

Indian Restaurant Opens Today — Bombay Velvet will join other restaurants at RTC West. The chef and entrepreneur behind the venture, Rajiv Chopra, describes the new business as an “upscale” business that brings new tastes to the area. The restaurant will be open for lunch and dinner today. [DC Eater]

Flickr pool photo by vantagehill

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Thursday Morning Notes

Tai chi — The Reston Regional Library will a tai chi fitness class led by local instructor Susan Shen from 6:30-7:30 p.m. tonight. [Fairfax County]

Sinking solution — “Officials have finally repaired a $52 million parking garage along Phase 2 of Metro’s Silver Line expansion that was sinking, but the garage is greatly behind schedule, according to a report. NBC Washington transportation reporter Adam Tuss reported that the parking garage slated for the Innovation Center Station has been repaired and work on it has resumed, but it is now 8-10 months behind schedule.” [Patch]

Reston activist dies — Barbara Freeman, a civic and community activist, died Jan. 26 at her home in Reston at the age of 91. Her daughter told the Washington Post the cause was pneumonia. Freeman volunteered with the Reston Community Association, Reston Interfaith, the League of Women Voters of Fairfax County and youth soccer. [The Washington Post]

Scavenger hunt in Herndon — “During February, teachers at Herndon Community Center Preschool taught their young students about community helpers, the given individuals traditionally seen working in public service roles of safety, health and education.” [Connection Newspapers]

Herndon company acquired — A Texas-based software provider acquired Herndon-based MicroPact, which currently serves NASA, the Social Security Administration and the Justice and Treasury departments, in a $185 million deal. [Washington Technology]

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Tuesday Morning Notes

Silver Line snags — “Though there are three outstanding concrete issues for the line from Wiehle-Reston East to Ashburn, only one of them has had a plan approved to address it: The more than 1,000 faulty framing panels at stations.” [WTOP]

Mardi Gras party — Head to the Tall Oaks Assisted Living from 3-4:30 p.m. for a Mardi Gras celebration. Partygoers can enjoy a live performance by the Louis Pettinelli Jazz Duo. The event is free. [Facebook]

School lottery — Eyeing the magnet school program at Hunters Woods? Registration for FCPS elementary magnet lottery programs opened today at 8:30 a.m. [FCPS]

Photo via Marjorie Copson

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Thursday Morning Notes

Free health expo — WUSA9 will offer information and free screenings with the Reston Hospital Center and the YMCA Fairfax County Reston today. Head to the YMCA Fairfax County Reston at 12196 Sunset Hills Road from 7 a.m. to noon and 2-7 p.m. [WUSA9]

The Hungry Hungry Games — Kids ages 12 to 18 can eat snacks and play life-sized Hungry Hungry Hippos from 7-8:30 p.m. at the Great Falls Library. [Fairfax County]

Dabke choreography — Dabke, which is based on a Middle Eastern folk dance, is a line dance often performed at celebrations. The dance performance — in partnership with Dance Place — will take place starting at 8 p.m. tonight at CenterStage. Tickets cost $20 for Reston residents. [Reston Community Center]

Temporary Reston road closure this morning — Southbound on Fairfax County Parkway at Walnut Branch Road shut down due to an accident shortly before 5 a.m. The parkway opened back up around 5:11 a.m. [Fairfax County Police on Twitter]

Silver Line test trains hit track problems — “The first test train on Metro’s Silver Line extension to Dulles Airport made it only 1,000 feet out of the Wiehle-Reston East station before running into trouble, sources told News4 … But the two-car train, pushed by an older locomotive, made it about 1,000 feet along an 11-mile journey before it ran into issues with the new tracks, sources said.” [NBC4]

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Wednesday Morning Notes

Wine Wednesday — Discuss our favorite books while sipping wine starting at 6 p.m. at the Tasting Room in Reston Town Center. [Scrawl Books]

Hunter Mill seat contenders — “In the Hunter Mill District, home to both Reston and Vienna, current member Cathy Hudgins is retiring. The three declared candidates, thus far, all have platforms which argue the county has been too favorable to development in Reston.” [Greater Greater Washington]

Silver Line train tests — “There were no passengers, of course, but Metrorail trains made their first pass of the Silver Line extension between Reston and Ashburn early Wednesday morning.” [Washington Business Journal]

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Thursday Morning Notes

Last day for MLK art exhibit — An art exhibit at RCC Hunters Woods that was created by Reston elementary school students for MLK Day is set to close today. [Reston Community Center]

Dollars and Sense — The free monthly group at Reston Regional Library focuses on business leaders and markets. Tonight’s 7 p.m. discussion will be about Tony Robbins’ “Unshakeable.” [Fairfax County]

Silver Line suit ends with $1 million settlement — “A contractor will pay $1 million to settle a civil case that it falsified test results for concrete panels it built for Phase 2 of the Silver Line Metro extension, the Justice Department announced Monday.” [The Washington Post]

Acquisition for Herndon business —  Herndon-based ePlus Technology, a provider of technology consulting services, recently acquired Virginia Beach-based IT consulting firm SLAIT Consulting. The acquisition is expected to help ePlus expand. [Virginia Business]

“Wicked Fairfax County” — Head to Scrawl Books for storytime and trivia at 7 p.m. from the author of “Wicked Fairfax County.” [Scrawl Books]

Photo via Marjorie Copson

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Reston Then and Now: Woodland Park

Woodland Park Crossing in Herndon may be facing some current turnover, but change is certainly nothing new for the area.

Fairfax County’s Historic Imagery Viewer shows aerial photography of the county dating back to 1937, and photography over the Woodland Park area shows the very familiar story of the area’s residential, then commercial, expansion over the last thirty years.

Even through the 1980s, there was very little new development in the Woodland Park area. Most of the area, aside from one residential development to the west, remained open fields. But by the 1990s, new residential development near the Stratton Woods Park began to grow further west.

By the early 2000s, residential developments had begun to completely fill the area south of Sunrise Valley Drive, accelerated by the growth of the McNair Farms community to the southwest. Throughout the 2000s, the new residential development spurred the creation of new retail and industrial spaces north of Sunrise Valley Drive.

And more changes are still ahead for the Woodland Park area, with the Herndon Silver Line Metro station under construction just to the northeast of the site, spurring new planned mixed-use development for an area that thirty years ago was mostly open fields.

For more Reston Then and Now stories, check out our coverage of:

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Dulles Toll Road Faces Nearly a Dozen Lane Closures This Week

Construction work on the second phase of the Metrorail Silver Line project brings lane and ramp closures from Monday (Jan. 21) until Saturday (Jan. 26).

Most of the closures avoid prime rush hour times.

In a post about the closures, the Dulles Corridor Metrorail Project reminds drivers to use caution; remain attentive to all signage, barricades and speed limits; and obey all police and flagger instructions. Work is subject to weather changes.

Eastbound on the Dulles Toll Road has a left lane closures from 500 feet west of the Reston Parkway Overpass to 300 feet before the Wiehle Avenue Overpass from Monday until Wednesday. The lane will be closed from 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. each day.

Then, from Wednesday through Friday, a left lane will be closed from 200 feet west of the Hunter Mill Road Bridge to 700 feet before the Beulah Road Overpass. This will take place from 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.

A final left lane closure eastbound on the Dulles Toll Road will stretch from 400 feet west of the Wiehle Avenue Overpass to 600 feet before the Hunter Mill Road Bridge. This is scheduled for 9:30 a.m. until 3:30 p.m., starting Tuesday and ending on Friday.

Two triple left lane closures are also slated from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. They are the following:

  • Monday to Tuesday: from just west of Centreville Road to Herndon Station
  • Tuesday to Wednesday: from Van Buren Street to Reston Town Center Station

The toll road will also have alternating right and left lane closures from just west of the Route 28 Overpass to the Reston Parkway Overpass. The times for this are:

  • Monday to Friday: 10 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., 9 p.m. to 5 a.m.
  • Saturday: 10 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., 8 p.m. to 5 a.m.

Westbound on the Dulles Toll Road also alternating right and left lane closures between the Route 28 and Reston Parkway overpasses. The times for this are:

  • Monday to Friday: 9:30 a.m. to 3 p.m., 8 p.m. to 5 a.m.
  • Saturday: 10 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., 8 p.m. to 5 a.m.

Westbound also has two triple left lane closures from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. They are:

  • Wednesday to Thursday: from Reston Parkway to the west end of Herndon Station
  • Thursday to Friday: from Van Buren Street to the west end of Innovation Station

Eastbound on Sunset Hills Road will have alternating right and left lane closures from 400 feet west of Town Center Parkway to the Bechtel Building Entrance. The civil work will take place from 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. from Monday until Thursday and from 9: 30 a.m. to noon on Friday.

 Eastbound on Herndon Parkway from 1,000 feet east of Van Buren Street to 800 feet west of Exchange Place will have a right lane closed from 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. from Monday until Thursday and from 9:30 a.m. to noon on Friday.

Several different spots westbound on Sunrise Valley Drive will have closed right lanes from 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. from Monday to Thursday and from 9:30 a.m. to noon on Friday, including:

  • from Dulles Technology Drive to Dulles Station Blvd
  • from Thunder Chase Drive to Millburn Lane
  • from Reston Parkway to 200 feet west of Edmund Halley Drive

Edmund Halley Drive will have a right shoulder closed from 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. from Monday to Thursday and from 9:30 a.m. to noon on Friday.

Image via Google Maps

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Lane and Ramp Closures Next Week Due to Silver Line Work

For locals who plan to hit the roads around the holidays, expect delays with lane and ramp closures as construction continues on the second phase of the Metrorail Silver Line project.

The closures start on Sunday (Dec. 23) and are scheduled to last until Saturday (Dec. 29), according to a post from the Dulles Corridor Metrorail Project.

Drivers heading eastbound on the Dulles Toll Road can expect alternating right and left lane closures of varying lengths from just west of the Route 28 overpass to the Reston Parkway overpass. This will take place from 10 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. from Wednesday to Friday.

Meanwhile, westbound on the Dulles Toll Road will have alternating right and left lane closures of varying lengths between the Reston Parkway overpass and Route 28. This will take place from 9:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. from Wednesday to Friday.

Eastbound on Sunset Hills Road will have alternating right and left lane closures from 400 feet west of Town Center Parkway to Bechtel Building Entrance from 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. on Thursday.

Eastbound on Herndon Parkway will have a right lane closed from 1,000 feet east of Van Buren Street to 800 feet west of Exchange Place.

The times for this are:

  • Thursday: 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.
  • Friday: 9:30 a.m. to noon

Several spots westbound on Sunrise Valley Drive will have closed right lanes from 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. on Thursday and from 9:30 a.m. to noon on Friday, including:

  • from Dulles Technology Drive to Dulles Station Blvd
  • from Thunder Chase Drive to Millburn Lane
  • from Reston Parkway to 200 feet west of Edmund Halley Drive

Edmund Halley Drive will have a right shoulder closed from 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. on Thursday and from 9:30 a.m. to noon on Friday.

File photo

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New Afghan Restaurant Coming to Herndon Early Next Year

Kabobi by the Helmand, a restaurant serving Afghan cuisine, plans to open early next year in Herndon.

Owner Khaleeq Ahmad told Reston Now that he is aiming for an opening in February. Right now the restaurant is in the construction phase and waiting for the build out, he said.

Located at 2321 Dulles Station Blvd, Suite A, the restaurant will be near the Silver Line Innovation Center Metro station, which is scheduled to open in 2020.

Ahmad said that Kabobi by the Helmand will offer Zeke’s Coffee in the morning for commuters and locals and then serve lunch and dinner offering unique and affordable Afghan cuisine.

Ahmad said he has spent the last 16 years going back and forth to Afghanistan, with the goal of adding traditions currently lacking in Afghan cuisine in the United States.

While he doesn’t want to give away surprises on the menu, Ahmad said customers can expect kabobs, stews and “a lot of really good vegetarian options.” For libations, he plans to serve craft beer from Baltimore and wine.

The menu in Herndon will resemble the one from the restaurant’s partner, Kabobi from The Helmand, in Baltimore. The chain of Kabobi restaurants started in 1982 in San Francisco and expanded to Boston, Baltimore and Chicago, with the Chicago location now closed after 30 years, he said.

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