Reston, VA

Updated on Feb. 1 to correct information on the project phase and jurisdiction receiving funding

Despite being approved more than two years ago, the construction phase of the restoration of Sugarland Run (South) Stream still hasn’t begun.

The $1.2 million project remains in the design phase, according to the Town of Herndon’s deputy Director of Public Works John Irish, though it’s expected to be completed by May.

The project will improve stormwater systems, stabilize erosion along streambanks, prevent flooding, and ensure the stream meets requirements for Chesapeake Bay Total Maximum Daily Load, first established in 2010. It will do this by planting vegetation, in-stream structure placement, and installing brush mattress.

The conditions along the stream banks and stream valley have been deteriorating in recent years.

The project will also restore a portion of the stream that flows near the Washington & Old Dominion Trail crossing.

The town received $200,000 from Fairfax County for the design work, which includes the geomorphic assessment, surveying, and public outreach meetings.

Irish writes to Reston Now in an email that this phase is “approximately 95% completed.”

In all, the design phase will end up taking up nearly three years. This is due to Herndon being asked by the county to apply for and, then, waiting for a state grant.

A stream condition assessment and negotiation of a fee that met budgetary guidelines also took time, writes Irish.

All in all, design work didn’t start until February 2020.

After designs are completed in May, they will be sent to the county with a request for one million dollars for construction. Once those funds are received, Herndon will advertise for construction bids.

Despite seemingly a long way to go in the process, Irish says construction is still expected to start this summer and completed within six months of the awarded contractor being given the go-ahead.

That means the project could be completed by the end of 2021 or early 2022.

The initial funding agreement did estimate the project could take up to four years, so the project theoretically could still be completed on time if not early.

However, a spokesperson for Fairfax County Department of Public Works and Environmental Services tells Reston Now that this particular project is “lower priority” as part of their full Sugarland Run Watershed Management Plan, which was first adopted in 2010.

It remains unclear how this assessment will impact the expected providing of one million dollars to the Town of Herndon for construction and completion of Sugarland Run Stream restoration later this year.

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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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Fairfax County has officially completed improvements to a trail at Sugarland Run Stream Valley Park in Herndon.

Last week, local and county officials held a ribbon cutting to celebrate the completion of improvements and trail maintenance.

The $400,000 project aimed to address general wear and tear, as well as trail damage due to severe flooding.

More than 12,000 linear feet of trail was milled and repaired. New culverts and riprap were also installed.

Photo via Fairfax County Government/website

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Road salt may have a hand in the recent spikes of chloride concentrations in Reston streams, along with a slew of environmental issues.

Doug Britt, a member of the Reston Association’s Environmental Advisory Committee, recently examined environmental harm caused by de-icing agents including sodium chloride and dove into results from monitoring Difficult Run and Sugarland Run with fellow Restonians.

Britt wrote that measurements of the chloride concentrations at the two sites were taken before this year’s first storm and then again after road salting for the first two snowstorms. He found that the chloride concentrations at both sites increased fourfold from the first measurement, which he said was within the normal range for North American streams.

The monitoring efforts were a part of a larger program initiated by the Izaak Walton League of America to encourage “citizen scientists” to examine local streams before and after road salting.

Britt, a Virginia Master Naturalist member, wrote that higher chloride concentrations in lakes and ponds can halt the bottom and top waters from mixing, which then leads to less oxygen in deeper areas. Too much chloride can reach toxic levels for aquatic life.

“Although there are a number of alternative de-icing agents available, sodium chloride as a brine solution appears to have the least negative environmental impact when considering the full life cycle of its production and application,” the report says. “Sodium chloride, nevertheless, can generate a host of environmental problems.”

Britt’s report analyzed several of those impacts, which included:

  • water quality
  • soil
  • pets
  • wildlife
  • roadside vegetation
  • infrastructure

Britt says that these environmental concerns aren’t unique to Reston.

“Chloride concentrations in Fairfax County surface waters have steadily increased for the past 25 years, consistent with the use of de-icing agents,” Britt wrote.

Britt ended his report on information about the next step: action.

The Virginia Department of Environmental Quality is currently developing a Salt Management Strategy planning process aimed at keeping chloride levels below the amount that starts to ruin the water, the report says.

The department also had had in a 2018 report included suggested options to optimize de-icing agents and the way they are applied to reduce environmental impacts, Britt wrote.

“Meanwhile, as individuals and business owners we should be cognizant of the potential environmental impacts associated with the application of de-icing agents,” Britt wrote, adding that it is important to balance public safety with environmental damage.

Photo via Reston Association

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The Fairfax County Department of Transportation is seeking public comment on the widening of the westbound Route 7 bridge over Sugarland Run on Oct. 23 (Tuesday) from 6:30-8:30 p.m. at Dranesville Elementary School (1515 Powells Tavern Place).

The bridge, which was built in 1947, will be widened and repaired and a new concrete bridge deck will be installed. Additionally, the acceleration lane from the Fairfax County on-ramp to Dranesville Road will be extended.

Upgrades to guardrails and the curb and gutter in the area of the bridge are also planned.

Construction is anticipated to begin in 2021 and the project will cost roughly $11.1 million, including $1.2 million for engineering, $655,000 for right-of-way acquisition and utility relocation and $9.2 million for construction.

Photo via VDOT

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The Town of Herndon Council will is seeking $1.2 million in county dollars to design and complete the stream restoration of Sugarland Run South.

The project is expected to cost $1.2 million. Under the agreement between the town and the county, the county would pay the town a percentage of stormwater service district fees collected from Herndon residents. Those funds could be used to help fund the project.

Restoring the stream is necessary in order to meet requirements to improve conditions in the Chesapeake Bay. Currently, conditions along the stream banks and stream valley are deteriorating.

Stable channels will be created in order to protect the stream’s geology and limit channel erosion. The council will consider the agreement at a meeting tonight (August 14) at 7 p.m.

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