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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Work on Silver Line Brings Lane and Road Closures This Week

As crews continue construction for the second phase of the Metrorail Silver Line project, road closures and detours will be along the Dulles Toll Road this week.

Most of the closures avoid prime rush hour times.

The lane, shoulder and road closures started on Monday (Nov. 26) and are scheduled to last until Sunday (Dec. 2), 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.

Eastbound on Dulles Toll Road has right and left lane closures of varying lengths from 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.

There are also three left lane closures with stops every 20 minutes from 10 p.m. to 6 a.m. on Thursday and Friday. Those closures are less than half of a mile west of Centreville Road to the east end of Herndon Station.

Starting at 10 p.m. on Friday, traffic eastbound on Dulles Toll Road near the toll plaza by Route 28 will be detoured to the right lane of the eastbound Dulles International Airport Access Highway. A second right lane will be closed as a safety buffer. Directly after the Centreville Road overpass, traffic will be allowed to re-enter the toll road lanes. This will last until 6 a.m. on Saturday.

Meanwhile, westbound on Dulles Toll Road there are alternating right and left lane closures of varying lengths between the Route 28 and Reston Parkway overpasses.

These will be in effect:

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

Drivers heading westbound on the road will also experience three left lane closures with 20-minute stops from almost a quarter of a mile west of Van Buren Street to the west end of Innovation Center Station at 6 a.m. on Saturday and Sunday.

Herndon Parkway East has a right lane closed 1,000 feet east of Van Buren Street to 800 feet west of Exchange Place. This takes place from 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. from Tuesday until Thursday and then from 9:30 a.m. to noon on Friday.

Other roads affected include the Dulles International Airport Access Highway, Autopilot Drive, Dulles Greenway, eastbound on Sunset Hills Road East, westbound on Sunrise Valley Drive and southbound on Moran Road.

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Town Officials Mull Pedestrian Safety, Road Improvements to South Elden Street

Planning is underway for a host of improvements along South Elden Street in anticipation of the adoption of a concept plan next year.

The improvements will be partly financed through a $65,000 grant by the Virginia Office of Intermodal Planning and Investment in order to ensure transportation needs are addressed as more development happens along Elden Street between Herndon Parkway and Sterling Road. Anticipated changes will also make the stretch of the road more accessible and safe for pedestrians and vehicles.

Changes include increasing the visibility of crosswalks; updating ramps, signals and crosswalks for ADA compliance, adding bus stop shelters, widening existing sidewalks by three feet, and installing pedestrian refuge areas in medians.

A concept plan will be presented to the Town of Herndon Planning Commission on Nov. 19, with a public hearing set for Dec. 3. The town council will likely adopt plan next year. The town must spearhead planning this month in order to avoid repaying grant funds to the state.

Photos via handout/Town of Herndon

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Bridge on W&OD Trail Over Wiehle Avenue Approved

An aerial bridge on the Washington & Old Dominion Trail over Wiehle Avenue could be constructed by October 2022.

Earlier this week, the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors approved final design plans for the project, which is expected to cost $11.4 million, according to the Fairfax County Department of Transportation.

The bridge includes retaining walls and directional access to Wiehle Avenue for trail users. Wiehle Avenue would be widened from Sunset Hills Road to the Reston Fire Station property in order to make way for future on-road bike lanes.

Plans have long been identified by the Reston Metrorail Access Group’s plan to improve vehicle, bicycle and pedestrian access near the new Wiehle-Reston East Metrorail Station.

Robin Geiger, a spokeswoman for FCOD, said design plans are currently 90 percent complete. The project timeline expects utility design and relocation to take a little over a year-and-a-half, land acquisition to take a year, construction authorization and permitting to take eight months and construction to take one year.

Hunter Mill District Supervisor Cathy Hudgins said the project faces the challenge of ensuring the bridge maintains synergy in the midst of urban properties that are coming together down the street.

The developer of the Isaac Newtown properties, which are being redeveloped, said they were concerned the project’s scale interferes with the development. County officials said they would work with the developer to mitigate any concerns.

However, according to FCDOT, the height of the bridge is necessary because the design of the bridge uses existing infrastructure in order to cut cost costs. The height is also vital to meet grade requirements and requirements stipulated by the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Rendering via FCDOT

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20-Minute Stoppages on Dulles Toll Road Planned Overnight

Beginning tomorrow (July 12) and on Friday night (July 13), triple lane closures on planned on the Dulles Toll Road after 10 p.m.

Dulles Corridor Metrorail Project crews will continue to install equipment under the pedestrians bridges at the Reston Town Center and Herndon Metrorail Stations that cross over the eastbound and Westbound lanes of the Dulles Toll Road.

Three lanes will be closed, resulting in 20-minute traffic halts after midnight each night.

Beginning Thursday at 10 p.m., three left lanes of the eastbound Dulles Toll Road will be closed to traffic between the Monroe/Van Buren Street and Reston Parkway overpasses. One right lane will be open to traffic and 20-minute stoppages will occur in the right lane of the eastbound lanes after midnight. Lanes will reopen on Friday at 5 p.m.

On Friday at 10 p.m., the three left lanes of the westbound Dulles Toll Road will be closed to traffic between the Wiehle Avenue and the Monroe Street/Van Buren Street overpasses. One right lane will be open to traffic and 20-minute stoppages are planned after midnight on the right westbound lane and on the ramp from Fairfax County Parkway to the westbound Dulles Toll Road lanes.

Normal operations will resume on Saturday (July 14) at 6 a.m. Utility work is expected to continue through July.

Maps via Dulles Corridor Metrorail Project

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Traffic Alert: Part of Lawyers Road is Closed Next Week

Commuters who travel on Lawyers Road should take alternate routes next week.

The section of Lawyers Road between Carhill Road and Gunnell Farms Drive will be closed from Monday (June 25) through Friday (June 29).

The closure is prompted by a pipe replacement by the Virginia Department of Transportation. Signs are up to direct traffic and a traffic alert will be issued soon.

Map via Google Maps

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