by Fatimah Waseem March 7, 2018 at 12:00 pm 62 Comments

Prepare for a sea of orange cones. With spring quickly approaching, Virginia Department of Transportation officials are gearing up for re-stripping, road redesigns, and new bike lanes on multiple Reston roads this year.

Roadwork will take place from April through November. The Virginia Department of Transportation is holding a public meeting on plans on Monday, March 19 at 7 p.m. in Terraset Elementary School‘s cafeteria.

In response to residents’ concerns about safety along the South Lakes Drive corridor, the county plans to redesign a strip between Reston Parkway and Sunrise Valley Drive by converting an outside travel lane to a buffered bike lane — a move the county hopes will address concerns about limited sight distance for vehicles turning onto Sunrise Valley Drive and pedestrian traffic.

Bike lanes on South Lakes Drive between Reston Parkway and Sanibel Drive would be extended. The county will keep one travel lane in each direction due to the limited projected impacts of future development on traffic in that area.

Other plans include adding or expanding bike lines on Bennington Woods Drive, Bowman Towne Drive, Explorer Street, Lawyers Road, Pinecrest Road and others. South Lakes Drive, Bluemont Drive and Fountain Drive are slated for redesigning.

A complete breakdown of plans in the Hunter Mill District is below:

  • Bennington Woods Drive: Addition of bike lanes.
  • Bowman Towne Drive: Addition of northbound bike lane, southbound shared line markings and striped parking lanes on both sides.
  • Bracknell Road: Addition of buffered bike lanes between Stevenage Road and commercial driveways.
  • Explorer Street: Addition of bike lanes. On-street parking on both sides of the street will remain.
  • Fountain Drive: Road redesign to “increase traffic safety.” There will be one travel lane in each direction, with one dedicated left turn lane and buffered bike lanes.
  • Stevenage Road: Addition of buffered bike lanes between Bennington Woods Road and the northern Home Depot driveway and Reston Parkway. Existing parking restrictions will not be changed. Timed parking will remain.
  • Temporary Road: Addition of bike lanes.
  • Walnut Branch Road: Addition of eastbound buffered bike lanes and westbound shared lane markings.
  • Lawyers Road: Extension of existing bike lanes west to Reston Parkway and upgrades to existing shoulders between Twin Branches Road to Hunter Mill Road to buffered bike lanes.
  • Pinecrest Road: Addition of buffered lanes between South Lakes Drive and Glade Drive. On-street parking will remain.
  • Ridge Heights Road: Addition of bike lanes. On-street parking will remain. “Extra wide” parking lanes will be provided for school bus parking.
  • Soapstone Drive: Addition of buffers to existing bike lanes.

In addition to attending the meeting, residents can submit online feedback. A complete list of impacted is online.

Photo via Fairfax County Government

by Jennifer van der Kleut December 19, 2016 at 2:10 pm 3 Comments

crosswalk/trafficA Reston advisory group studying how to raise $2.6 billion for road improvements over the next 40 years is set to hold a pubic meeting tonight.

Members of the Reston Network Analysis Advisory Group are scheduled to gather in the lecture hall at South Lakes High School (11400 South Lakes Drive) at 7 p.m., according to an announcement.

RNAG, created by Fairfax County’s Hunter Mill District supervisor, is a group of locals who seek feedback from people who are the most affected by local development and changes to the transportation system. Through the Reston Network Analysis, the county seeks to evaluate the effectiveness of pedestrian friendly streets and paths around the Wiehle-Reston East Metro station, as well as the future Reston Town Center and Herndon stops.

The advisory group works with the county and the Virginia Department of Transportation to come up with ways to secure funding for Reston’s network and maintaining local roadways. This fall, RNAG expressed strong opposition to creating a special tax district, in which residents who live near the Metro stations would get taxed to help with road improvements.


by Tim Regan December 14, 2016 at 4:30 pm 2 Comments

Snow on Reston Parkway/Credit: Ed Schudel via TwitterRoad crews throughout the area are preparing for snow.

The National Weather Service said today the area could see some lightly accumulating snow between 10 p.m. tonight and 2 a.m. tomorrow morning.

In anticipation of the possible snowflakes, The Virginia Department of Transportation says it’s preparing area roads for wintry weather tonight through the weekend.

From a VDOT press release:


by Jennifer van der Kleut October 26, 2016 at 11:00 am 9 Comments

elden-street-wideningVirginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) officials will hold a public meeting Thursday to show its place for a proposed design for the widening of Elden Street between Monroe Street and the Fairfax County Parkway in Herndon.

Officials hope the project will reduce traffic congestion, improve safety and enhance access to and from the busy Fairfax County Parkway.

Planned improvements include widening East Elden Street (Route 606) from four lanes to six between Herndon Parkway and Fairfax County Parkway, as well as improving access management from Van Buren Street to Herndon Parkway.

Other planned improvements include a new raised median with streetscaping between Van Buren Street and Herndon Parkway, moving utilities between Monroe Street and Fairfax County Parkway underground, and replacing the culvert over Sugarland Run with a new bridge.

The proposed design also features accommodations for cyclists and pedestrians, including enhanced facilities like on-street bike lanes between Monroe Street and Herndon Parkway, and off-street bike lanes from east of Herndon Parkway to Fairfax County Parkway.

VDOT officials say they hope to have plans approved by the spring, though it could take a few years to receive authorization for right-of-way funding, and to advertise to potential construction companies for the job. All in all, construction could begin in the spring of 2022.

The total costs of the project, including preliminary engineering, right-of-way and construction, add up to just under $35 million.

Thursday’s meeting will take place at the Herndon Senior Center, located at 873 Grace St. The public is invited to drop by to view the plans and talk with officials anytime between 6:30 to 8 p.m.

Comments can also be sent to VDOT directly anytime before Nov. 28. by e-mailing [email protected] or by sending mail to Mr. Hamid Misaghian, P.E., Project Manager, Virginia Department of Transportation, 4975 Alliance Drive, Fairfax, VA, 22030.

View the East Elden Street Widening project page online for more information.

Image: VDOT/Google Maps


by Karen Goff August 25, 2016 at 4:30 pm 3 Comments

Reston North Lot/Courtesy VDOTOver the next two weekends crews will complete maintenance and improvements to the Reston North/Wiehle Avenue park-and-ride lot.

That’s the long,skinny lot near the intersection of Sunset Hills Road and Isaac Newton Square.

Here is the schedule, weather permitting:

  • This weekend (Aug. 27 and 28), crews will rope off sections of the lot to cut vegetation for better parking and aisle access.
  • The lot will be closed entirely from 5 a.m. Saturday, Sept. 3 through 8 p.m. Monday, Sept. 5 in order to refresh pavement markings and make signage improvements.

About 35 new signs will be installed, with existing signs replaced, removed or relocated to designate legal and illegal parking, the Virginia Department of Transportation said in a release.

The lot will also be increasing its capacity. Pavement markings throughout the lot will be refreshed, with some reconfigured to add six additional spaces. The new lot capacity will be 340.

The lot formerly served as parking for buses that would take commuters to Metro Stations at Vienna and West Falls Church. It now serves as free parking for the 300+ commuters who arrive early enough to find a space there instead of in the pay ($4.85 daily) garage adjacent to the 3,000-space Wiehle-Reston East station. It sees few cars on weekends as parking in the garages is free on those days.

Photo courtesy VDOT

by Karen Goff June 1, 2016 at 1:15 pm 3 Comments

Fairfax County Parkway/Courtesy VDOTThe Virginia Department of Transportation, in cooperation with Fairfax County, is holding three public information meetings this month on a multimodal study of the 31-mile Fairfax County Parkway (Route 286) corridor from Route 7 to Route 1.

The study is assessing existing transportation issues and developing short-term multimodal improvements that can be implemented within the next 1 to 10 years.

This project began in 2014 and is expected to be completed by early 2017. It Includes the following activities:

• Traffic/Safety Data Analysis – Spring 2015
• Identify Issues – Spring 2015
• Analysis of Existing Conditions – Fall 2015/Winter 2015-2016
• Identify & Evaluate Improvements – Winter 2015-2016/Spring 2016
• Public Information Meetings – June 2016
• Finalize Evaluations/Final Project Documentation – Winter 2016/2017

The public is invited to stop by to learn more about the study, view displays and discuss questions with VDOT and Fairfax County staff at one three meetings.

The closest meeting to Reston is on Thursday, June 9 at Oak Hill Elementary School, 3210 Kinross Circle, Herndon.

Other meetings will be held

Wednesday, June 8 at Hayfield Secondary School, 7630 Telegraph Road, Alexandria and Monday, June 13 at Sangster Elementary School, 7420 Reservation Drive, Springfield,

All meeting times are 6:30 – 8:30 p.m., with a presentation at 7 p.m.

Comments maysent to VDOT by July 5.

Visit the VDOT project page for more details.

Photo: Fairfax County Parkway/VDOT

by Karen Goff February 1, 2016 at 4:30 pm 0

Pothole/Credit: State Farm InsuranceAfter the snow comes the inevitable potholes.

Rather than getting mad, get active — as in tell the Virginia Department of Transportation (or whomever is responsible for the street) the pothole’s location and get on the fix-it list.

First, determine who is responsible for the road. Most of the major arteries in Fairfax County are in VDOT’s jurisdiction, but check out this map that will show you who maintains every street in the county. Fairfax County itself is not responsible for pothole fixes.

You can then access VDOT’s new online reporting tool, which makes it easier to pinpoint exactly where you see a pothole. You can also report potholes directly from your mobile device and include images (but don’t try this while driving, of course).

You can also call VDOT at 800-FOR-ROAD to report potholes or ask who maintains a road.

So which roads in Reston are not VDOT roads?

  • Dulles Toll Road, contact the Washington Metropolitan Airports Authority.
  • Many private roads are maintained by businesses, apartment/condo complexes, homeowner/civic associations or residents. If you know there’s a pothole on a road that’s privately maintained, contact your HOA or the business that’s responsible.

Photo: pothole/file photo

by Karen Goff January 28, 2016 at 4:30 pm 17 Comments

South lakes at Twin Branches Jan. 28, 2016

Warmer temperatures have contributed to significant melting of the record snow this week, but one problem still plaguing Reston-area roads is narrow access — two-lane roads are now one-lane roads in many spots.

Snowplow piles and lanes that haven’t been plowed are on many roads, making it slow-going or even dangerous on major streets.

Many Reston Now readers pointed out some of the worst trouble spots on Reston Now’s Facebook page this morning:

There are also some roads in which one side only has half a lane (Twin Branches is one of them, I’m sure there are a lot more), with the the right half of the lane completely blocked by snow mounds. Which means if you’re driving in a full lane, you may pass someone going the opposite way who is literally being forced to straddle the yellow lane. Please, people, show some courtesy and move over to the right as far as you can so everyone can move.

The other bad street for me is Soapstone north of Glade. The plowed part starts on the far left moves to the center then back over the left. This leaves you w/o proper lane markings.

Soapstone from Glade to Sunrise Valley. Downright scary yesterday.

It took me 45 minutes to drive 2 miles in Reston at rush hour last night.

The Virginia Department of Transportation says “crews have worked around-the-clock to make all roads in northern Virginia passable post-blizzard, but there is still some clean-up to do.”

By 3 p.m. Thursday, Sunrise Valley Drive, for instance, had been cleared edge-to-edge, but nearby Soapstone Drive still had people driving in the turn lane.

“Crews are working to widen and restore remaining snow-impacted lanes on primary and high-volume secondary roads,” said VDOT spokeswoman Jennifer McCord. “Clearing efforts will continue through the week, using equipment such as front loaders and motor graders to move snow where plows are unable to push.” (more…)

by Karen Goff January 26, 2016 at 1:30 pm 8 Comments

Plow on Ridge Heights Road, Sunday Jan. 24, 2016The Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) says its goal is to make one lane of all Northern Virginia subdivisions passable by Wednesday at 6 a.m., but the daunting amount of snow is one of many factors that has impeded speedy snow removal.

The agency, which is responsible for most of Virginia’s primary and secondary roads, said in a statement that “crews are making significant progress on 16,000 subdivision streets across Northern Virginia. If residents do not have one passable lane by 6 a.m. tomorrow, they can contact VDOT at 1-800-FOR-ROAD or [email protected]

VDOT says passable is defined as the ability for a rear wheel drive vehicle to operate safely. This means that roads will not be cleared down to bare pavement and will not be cleared curb to curb.

“VDOT has approximately almost four times the amount of equipment available in previous years,” VDOT said. “The type of equipment needed for this phase of the response is of a much larger scale and complexity. The smaller plows that VDOT typically uses in subdivision are effective up to 10 inches of snow. Some neighborhoods of Northern Virginia received upwards of 40 inches of snow and require heavier equipment.”

The blizzard that dumped about three feet of snow in this area over the weekend was “historic,” VDOT officials said. As with previous large storms, (i.e. in 2003 and 2010), they are urging residents to be patient.


by Karen Goff January 22, 2016 at 10:00 am 1 Comment

FCPD Chief Ed Roessler at Thursday press conference/PeriscopeFairfax County officials say they do not have an explanation about what went wrong on area roads when an inch or so of snow fell during Wednesday night’s rush hour.

People reported being stuck in their cars for hours as they tried to get home. Twenty-minute commutes turned into two-hour ordeals all around the Beltway.

The Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT), and not the county, is responsible for treating most area roads.

Since VDOT — as well as Northern Virginia residents — have had about five days of preparation and warning about the storm expected to begin Friday afternoon, road treatment should be much more effective than on Wednesday, officials said.

“Do they [VDOT] need to do better? Absolutely,” Fairfax County Board of Supervisors Chair Sharon Bulova said at a press conference Thursday afternoon. (more…)

by Karen Goff December 30, 2015 at 1:30 pm 1 Comment

Traffic LightThe Virginia Department of Transportation says the newly built third lanes in each direction on Route 7 from Rolling Holly Drive to Reston Avenue are now open.

The $34 million project to widen the mile-and-a-half stretch of Route 7 also includes shared-use paths, lengthened turn lanes, a new signal at Redberry Court and intersection improvements at Georgetown Pike and Seneca Road. All work is scheduled to be complete in early January.

Drivers can expect some intermittent daytime lane closures as crews work on the project’s final details, says VDOT.

The expanded lanes should alleviate traffic tie-ups from Reston through Great Falls to Sterling.

by Karen Goff November 17, 2015 at 10:30 am 1 Comment

Snowplow/Photo Courtesy of VDOTNorthern Virginia’s snow removal budget has increased by $20 million for this winter. The Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) will likely need the money as it spent more than double its allotted amount last winter.

VDOT has $70.7 million for snow removal and road maintenance for 2015-16. Last winter’s budget for Northern Virginia was about $50.5 million and $128.5 million was spent, VDOT officials said last week.

The region’s snow budget is part of VDOT’s statewide maintenance budget of approximately $1.5 billion.

“Each year, we strive to improve our winter operations both on the road and behind the scenes,” Branco Vlacich, VDOT’s maintenance engineer for Northern Virginia, said at the agency’s annual snow briefing last week.

Vlacich said high-tech tools, such as a real-time map on VDOT’s website that shows the progress of plows, continue to be a good resource for citizens. This will be VDOT’s third winter with the map.

“Over two years, we’ve seen hits to the site increase while customer calls decrease, as residents check road conditions, locations of our trucks and the progress of our crews,” Vlacich said.

When it snows more than two inches, residents can enter their address at www.vdotplows.org to see whether plowing is underway, completed or not yet started in their neighborhood. They can also track the location of plows in relationship to their house. The site is refreshed every five minutes.

VDOT is responsible for 17,737 miles of road in Fairfax, Loudoun and Prince William counties (Arlington County maintains its own secondary roads). About half of those miles are highways or high-volume routes, and half are neighborhood streets. During winter weather in northern Virginia, crews remove snow on both networks concurrently.

In Reston, main roads such as Sunrise Valley Drive, Reston Parkway, Sunset Hills Road, Lawyer Road, Fairfax County Parkway and Glade Drive are VDOT-plowed roads. Most neighborhoods, especially clusters, have private snowplowing contracts. Reston Association is not in charge of plowing Reston roads, though it does plow the 55 miles of paths, and will team with Fairfax County to plow several county-owned paths that will improve pedestrian access this winter.

VDOT is not responsible for sidewalks, even on VDOT-plowed roads, which continues to be a source of discussion and frustration among Reston residents each winter.

VDOT will have more than 3,500 contracted trucks and plows on the available this winter. Special equipment for some trucks will include a jet-powered snow melter for Park-n-Ride lots where snow piles can block spaces; seven high-pressure flush trucks clear snow and ice around the bollards separating the I-495 Express Lanes and regular lanes; two front loaders with 20-foot blades plow interstates during severe storms; speed-activated anti-icing equipment puts the right amount of material on the road.

VDOT file photo

by Karen Goff October 21, 2015 at 9:30 am 14 Comments

Capital Bikeshare, Pentagon City, Arlington/Credit: Mario Roberto Duran Ortiz via Creative CommonsReston may be getting closer to a bikeshare system.

The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday endorsed the county’s applications for the Virginia Department of Transportation’s FY 2017 Transportation Alternatives Program (TAP) Grant Application.

The county hopes to get $400,000 from the state as seed money for bike share program. Other projects seeking funding are Vienna Metrorail bicycle access improvements; a cinder bed bike path near the Franconia-Springfield Metro station; and improvements for bike access on Van Dorn Street in Alexandria.

Applications for the grant program are due Nov. 1.

County biking authorities conducted a feasibility study on a Reston bikeshare in 2014. They will give an update on the progress of the bikeshare plan Oct. 29 at Dogwood Elementary School at 7 p.m.

Capital Bikeshare, which has suburban programs in Alexandria, Arlington, and Rockville, Md., would offer those who live and work in Reston an additional way to access the Wiehle-Reston East Metro station, as well as the future Reston Town Center station, Reston Town Center and other location.

The capital equipment needed for a Reston bikeshare station includes docking stations, bicycles and kiosks. The current projection is for 13 stations and 130 bicycles, which will cost about $766,000

The county will request $400,000 from TAP and pay $100,000 in county funds for the program. That would leave an additional $266,000 in funding necessary to get the program started.

The Transportation Alternatives Program (TAP) guidelines state applicants are required to provide a 20 percent match, with grant awards covering the 80 percent remaining. Local jurisdictions are also required to pay for any cost overruns.

VDOT’s TAP regulations require the sponsoring jurisdiction to accept responsibility for future maintenance and operating costs of any projects that are funded.

Photo: Bikesharing in Arlington/ARLnow.com file photo

by Karen Goff September 15, 2015 at 9:30 am 1 Comment

Bridge Over Dulles Toll Road/Credit: VDOT

Repairs to Reston Parkway’s bridge over the Dulles Toll Road will be part of a Virginia Department of Transportation’s (VDOT) $5.6 million project next spring.

VDOT says it will be performing preventative maintenance projects on bridges on Monroe Street, the Herndon-Monroe Park and Ride Ramp and Reston Parkway in advance of Metro’s Silver Line Phase 2, which is currently under construction.

The main purpose of the project is eliminating and closing the bridge deck joints above the Silver Line tracks. Doing it before Phase 2 opens in 2019 will save VDOT money in the end, the department says.

“Future construction of the tracks in the median of Route 267 (the Dulles Toll Road) will limit the access to the bridge existing piers,” VDOT said in a statement. “The cost of performing any future repairs to the bridge piers would need to include cost of coordination with Metro, which would significantly increase future repair costs.”

The Reston Parkway dual bridges over the Toll Road are 385-foot.-long, six-simple- span, steel plate girder bridges.

The northbound bridge was constructed in 1959 and widened and deck-replaced in 1989. The northbound total bridge width is 42.33 feet and consists of a 1.66-foot raised median, one-foot shoulder, three 12-foot traffic lanes, two-foot shoulder and 1.66-foot barrier.

The southbound bridge was constructed in 1976 and widened in 1989. The southbound total bridge width is 51.66 feet and consists of a 1.66-foot raised median, one-foot shoulder, three 12-foot.traffic lanes, three-foot shoulder, 1.66-ft. barrier, 8.33-foot. path and one-foot curb with pedestrian fence.

The Monroe Street/Van Buren Street dual bridges over the Toll Road are 378-foot-long, six-single-span, steel plate girder bridges. There is a 38-foot gap between the northbound and southbound bridges. The northbound bridge was constructed in 1963, and the deck was milled and overlaid in 1989. The southbound bridge was constructed in 1989.

The Herndon-Monroe Park and Ride Ramp bridge is a 613-foot-long, seven-single-span, steel plate girder bridge. The bridge was constructed in 1999.

Here is more cost and scheduling info:

Monroe Street/Van Buren Street Bridge Joint Closures
Anticipated Schedule
Advertisement for construction – March 2016
Construction – May 2016

Estimated Costs
Preliminary engineering – $180,000
Construction – $530,000
Total – $710,000

Herndon-Monroe Park and Ride Ramp Bridge Joint Closures
Anticipated Schedule
Advertisement for construction – March 2016
Construction – May 2016

Estimated Costs
Preliminary engineering – $168,000
Construction – $500,000
Total – $668,000

Reston Parkway Bridges Deck Mill and Overlay and Barrier Repair
Anticipated Schedule
Advertisement for construction – March 2016
Construction – May 2016

Estimated Costs
Preliminary engineering – $132,000
Construction – $1.4 million
Total – $1.5 million

Reston Parkway Bridge Joint Closures
Anticipated Schedule
Advertisement for construction – March 2016
Construction – May 2016

Estimated Costs
Preliminary engineering – $200,000
Construction – $2.5 million
Total – $2.7 million

Photo: Bridge over Dulles Toll Road/Credit: VDOT

by Karen Goff August 26, 2015 at 3:00 pm 1,053 2 Comments

Traffic LightWednesday night into Thursday morning, traffic on eastbound Route 7 between Rolling Holly Drive and Reston Avenue near Great Falls will shift into new temporary lanes as the Virginia Department of Transportation works on widening Route 7.

The Virginia Department of Transportation says the change will begin Wednesday at 9 p.m. and the lane shift should be complete by 5 p.m. Thursday.

In addition, Sugarland Road at Route 7 will be closed to traffic until late September/early October so that the intersection can be reconstructed and improved, says VDOT.

Motorists will be detoured via Fairfax County Parkway. Detour signs will be in place to direct local traffic around the closure.

The work is part of the third phase of construction for the project to widen Route 7 from four to six lanes between Rolling Holly Drive and Reston Avenue. The $34 million project is scheduled for completion in December.


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