Virginia, Maryland Partner to Rebuild American Legion Bridge

One of the region’s worst bottlenecks is expected to get some relief after state Gov. Ralph Northam announced a plan to expand the American Legion Bridge.

Virginia and Maryland, which will take the lead on the project, which Northam said was a “once-in-a-generation achievement for the capital region.” The interstate compact has been named the “Capital Beltway Accord”

Once completed, existing lanes in each direction across the Potomac River will be replaced and two new Express Lanes will be added in each direction for roughly three miles between George Washington Memorial Parkway in Virginia to River Road in Maryland. Trails on both sides of the Potomac River are planned to improve bicycle and pedestrian access.

“This is once-in-a-generation project that will improve accessibility throughout the region,” said Virginia Secretary of Transportation Shannon Valentine. “This is a milestone in regional cooperation. We in Virginia look forward to working hand-in-hand with Maryland to deliver this transformative transportation solution.”

Officials expect the changes to reduce congestion in regular lanes by 25 percent, providing 40 percent more lane capacity over the old bridge.

While Maryland would rebuild the Legion Bridge, Virginia would pay nearly half of the cost.

No homes or businesses are expected to require relocation as a result of the project, according to a statement from the governor’s office.

Daily traffic on the American Legion Bridge has grown by 390 percent since the bridge opened in 1962.

The Northern Virginia Transportation Alliance, an industry-led group that advocates for transportation improvements, cheered today’s announcement, in a statement.

The Alliance applauds Governor Hogan and Governor Northam for working together to address one of the region’s worst bottlenecks.

This agreement exemplifies the importance of regional collaboration and public-private partnerships in solving our region’s transportation challenges.

Expanding the American Legion Bridge and the regional express lanes network have been long-standing priorities of the Northern Virginia Transportation Alliance. These improvements will:

  1. Enhance Regional Connectivity – connect the two most populous jurisdictions in the region.
  2. Increase Reliability – enhance regional economic growth and competitiveness
  3. Reduce Congestion and Delays – help drivers in both the free and congestion managed lanes.
  4. Create New Travel Options – allow drivers to pay for a faster trip while incentivizing more HOV and transit ridership using the managed lanes.

Built in 1962, the American Legion Bridge currently carries around 235,000 vehicles per day with that number expected to increase to 280,000 by 2040.

It is the only bridge connecting Fairfax and Montgomery Counties – the two most populous jurisdictions in our region and home to nearly 40% of the region’s population and jobs.

Photo via Google Maps

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Wednesday Morning Notes

Annual Jigsaw Puzzle Sale Kicks Off Tomorrow  The Friends of Reston Regional Library will hold an annual jigsaw sale tomorrow from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. [Reston Regional Library]

Delays on Leesburg Pike at Drainesville Road — Expect delays on Leesburg Pike at Drainesville Road this morning due to a crash. No left turns are allowed at the intersection and police encourage drivers to use caution. [Fairfax County Police Department]

Reston Association Website Back Online — The association’s website, which went down yesterday due to technical issues, is back online. The board is expected to meet tomorrow (Thursday) to discuss the budget and other issues. [Reston Association]

Photo via Flickr/Dario iparo

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TRAFFIC ALERT: Georgetown Pike at Seneca Road Reopens

Update on Friday, July 26 at 8 a.m.: The road was reopened early Friday morning.

Commuters passing through Georgetown Pike at Seneca Road should plan to take a detour today (Thursday).

The Fairfax County Police Department indicated that the road is shutdown due to emergency repairs.

It is unclear how long the road will remain shutdown.

No other information was immediately available.

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New Speed Humps Slated for Rosedown Drive

New speed humps are expected to be installed within the next several weeks along Rosedown Drive.

Four humps will be added to the road the request of the local homeowners association. The initiative is part of the county’s Residential Traffic Administration Program, which allows roads to be review for traffic calming procedures if requested by a board member.

Other speed humps could be added to Beverly Drive in Ashburn.

The total cost of both projects is $56,000. Funds are already appropriated in the county’s general fund.

The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors will vote on the projects at a meeting on Tuesday, July 16. If approved, construction would begin as soon as possible.

Map via Google Maps

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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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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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Environmental Approval Still Pending for $170 Million Soapstone Connector Project

State and local transportation officials have been working for more than a year on clearing the Soapstone Connector through the environmental approval phase — one of the latest hurdles for the roughly $170 million project.

The connector — which extends Soapstone Drive from Sunrise Valley Drive over the Dulles Toll Road to Sunset Hills Road — provides a new north-south alternative to tackle increasing traffic congestion on Wiehle Avenue. By the time the project breaks ground, hundreds of additional residential units are expected to come on the market in Reston.

County transportation officials are working with the Virginia Department of Historic Resources to determine the next steps for the project after the state determined a group of buildings on Association Drive the project could cut through are considered historic. The Fairfax County Department of Transportation must conduct an alternatives analysis to find possible ways to reduce the impact on the buildings.

Discussions have been ongoing for more than year. The county’s Architectural Review Board first determined the collection of buildings could be historically significant in early 2018. Since then, county staff have been trying to chart the best path forward to minimize the impact on the buildings  — which are considered historic as a collection, but not on an individual basis.

More hurdles are expected as the project goes through design and planning. Construction isn’t expected to begin until the mid to late 2020s.

“Anytime you’re building a new major project in a built environment, it’s more challenging than if we’re working out in a cornfield,” Tom Biesiadny, FCDOT’s director, told Reston Now. “None of them are insurmountable.”

Although funding for the project has not been secured yet, Biesiadny says the county has enough dollars to finish project design, which will move forward once the county receives necessary environmental approvals. The county plans to then tackle right-of-way and land acquisition between 2022 and 2024. Utility relocation is also complicated by the fact that area businesses rely on fiber optic cables along Sunrise Valley Drive and Sunset Hills Road.

“At the moment, money is not holding anything up,” Biesiadny said. “It’s several years out before we need the construction dollars.”

So far, the project has $24 million secured from federal, regional and local funds. A $45.4 million grand application for Smart Scale funding has been submitted. The county plans to continue to aggressively apply for grant funding.

The connector has been on the county’s planning books for years. A hybrid design for the project received county approval in 2014.

Map via Fairfax County Government

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Updated: Traffic on Elden Street Clear After Crash

Update (11:22 p.m.): Delays have cleared, according to the Herndon Police Department. No information about the crash was released.

Earlier:

If you’re headed down the southbound lanes of Elden Street, be on the alert.

The Herndon Police Department said to expect significant delays on the 1200 block of the street due to an accident.

No other information was immediately available.

This story has been updated.

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Police: Expect Delays on Elden Street From Utility Work

Updated at 3:25 p.m. — Herndon police tweeted at 3:18 p.m. that all of the lanes are now open.

Earlier: Plan on giving yourself more time if you’re going to drive on Elden Street by the Town Hall today.

The Herndon Police Department tweeted at 9:41 a.m. that utility work in the downtown area has traffic alternating one lane on Elden Street between Spring and Center streets.

The utility work will continue until around 3 p.m., police say.

Drivers should expect delays.

Image via Google Maps

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UPDATED: Accident Closes Part of Herndon Parkway

Updated at 9 a.m. — All lanes are now open.

Earlier: Herndon Parkway is closed near Summerfield Drive due to an accident.

Herndon Police tweeted about the closure at 8:21 a.m. today (Jan. 30).

Drivers and pedestrians should follow police direction, according to the tweet.

Image via Google Maps

This story has been updated

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Traffic is Building as Snow is Falling in Reston

Update at 8:25 p.m. — Fairfax County Public Schools will be closed Wednesday.

Earlier: Traffic is already starting to back up as commuters head home early to beat expected icy roads from today’s rain and snow.

Traffic is heavy heading westbound on the Dulles Toll Road, according to Google Maps, and drivers should also expect scattered heavy traffic on the Reston Parkway and other primary roads around the area.

A Winter Weather Advisory is currently in effect. Forecasters are warning commuters to be aware of potential travel disruptions and allow for extra time getting back in the evening. Additional problems on the roads are possible Wednesday morning.

From the National Weather Service:

WINTER WEATHER ADVISORY REMAINS IN EFFECT UNTIL MIDNIGHT EST TONIGHT…

* WHAT…Snow, mixed with rain before 5 PM, will turn to all snow by 5 PM this afternoon, and continue through the evening rush before ending between 7 and 9 PM this evening. Total snowfall accumulation around one inch is expected.

* WHERE…Arlington and Fairfax Counties in Virginia, the District of Columbia and its southern and eastern suburbs.

* WHEN…Winter Weather Advisory is in effect until midnight EST tonight.

* ADDITIONAL DETAILS…Plan on slippery road conditions. Temperatures will fall below freezing during the evening rush, causing the potential for wet or slushy surfaces to freeze.

Classes and activities at the Reston Community Center are canceled after 3 p.m. today, and RCC facilities are set to close by 5 p.m. The Reston Association offices also closed at 3 p.m.

Fairfax County public schools closed two hours early today.

Flakes started in the Reston area earlier this afternoon. As of 4 p.m., some local roads were becoming snow-covered.

 

While drivers may not be enjoying the weather right now, at least one furry local is.

Images via Google Maps and Virginia Department of Transportation

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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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This Week’s Lane and Ramp Closures Due to Silver Line Work

Drivers can expect lane closures along the Dulles Toll Road this week as construction continues on the second phase of the Metrorail Silver Line project.

Most of the closures avoid prime rush hour times.

The closures started on Sunday (Dec. 16) and are scheduled to last until Saturday (Dec. 22), according to a post from the Dulles Corridor Metrorail Project.

The post 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.

The Dulles Toll Road has alternating right and left lane closures of varying lengths from just west of the Route 28 overpass to the Reston Parkway overpass.

The schedule for this is:

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

Drivers eastbound on the Dulles Toll Road can expect a triple left lane closure with 20-minute stoppages from the east end of Innovation Center Station to Herndon Station. This will take place from 10 p.m. on Tuesday to 5 a.m. on Wednesday.

Meanwhile, westbound on the Dulles Toll Road has a triple left lane closure with 20-minute stoppages from Reston Parkway to Herndon Station from 10 p.m. on Thursday to 6 a.m. on Friday.

Another triple left lane closure is between the overpass at Van Buren Street to the west end of Innovation Center Station from 10 p.m. on Friday to 5 a.m. on Saturday.

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:

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

Eastbound on Sunset Hills Road will have alternating right and left lane closures from 400 feet west of the 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 to Thursday and from 9:30 a.m. to noon on Friday.

Several 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

Additionally, westbound on Sunrise Valley Drive by Thunder Chase Drive will a right lane closed from 10 p.m. on Wednesday to 4 a.m. on Thursday.

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.

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TRAFFIC ALERT: Accident on Route 602 Causing Delays

Updated at 11:09 a.m. — The previously closed northbound lanes of Route 602 are now open, Fairfax County police confirmed.

An accident involving two vehicles on Route 602 by Bowman Towne Drive is causing lane closures and delays.

Both northbound lanes on Route 602  (Reston Parkway) are closed at Bowman Towne Drive.

So far there have been no reports of serious injuries.

Map via VDOT

This story has been updated

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This Week’s Lane and Ramp Closures Due to Silver Line Work

Drivers can expect lane closures along the Dulles Toll Road this week as construction continues on the second phase of the Metrorail Silver Line project.

Most of the closures avoid prime rush hour times.

The closures started on Sunday (Dec. 9) and are scheduled to last until Saturday (Dec. 15), according to a post from the Dulles Corridor Metrorail Project.

The post 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.

The Dulles Toll Road has alternating right and left lane closures of varying lengths from just west of the Route 28 overpass to the Reston Parkway overpass.

The schedule for this is:

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

Drivers heading eastbound on the Dulles Toll Road can expect left lane closure with stops every 20 minutes from the Herndon-Monroe Park and Ride to the Reston Parkway overpass. This will take place from 10 p.m. until 6 a.m. on Tuesday.

Meanwhile, westbound on the Dulles Toll Road has a triple left lane closure with 20-minute stoppages from the Wiehle Avenue Overpass to West of the Reston Parkway overpass. This is scheduled from 10 p.m. to 6 a.m. on Wednesday.

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:

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

Eastbound on Sunset Hills Road will have alternating right and left lane closures from 400 feet west of the 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 to Thursday and from 9:30 a.m. to noon on Friday.

Several 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.

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