The Spring Street and Herndon Parkway intersection slated for VDOT upgrades (via Google Maps)

Traveling in Herndon north of the Dulles Toll Road, whether by car, bicycle, or as a pedestrian, could get easier after a $19 million project is completed in 2023.

The Virginia Department of Transportation is currently working on plans¬†to widen Spring Street from four to six lanes between Herndon Parkway and Fairfax County Parkway (Route 286). The project will add more turn lanes on and around East Spring Street, create a cycle track on Herndon Parkway, and improve the area’s sidewalk infrastructure.

The changes seek to address traffic volume that’s projected to increase to an average of over 47,000 vehicles each day on East Spring Street in 2042, up from 38,000 vehicles on that stretch of road and 18,000 vehicles on Herndon Parkway today, according to VDOT’s project page.

Construction is slated to begin this winter with completion anticipated in fall 2023.

According to the Town of Herndon, the roadway widening involves:

  • Expanding and reconstructing Spring Street from four to six lanes between Route 286 and Herndon Parkway
  • Adding turn lanes on approaches to the Herndon Parkway and Spring Street intersection, including dedicated northbound right turn lanes on Herndon Parkway and a second left turn lane on southbound Herndon Parkway
  • Adding a turn lane on the southbound Fairfax County Parkway off-ramp at Spring Street that’s solely for left turns

The cycle track will consist of an eight-foot-wide bicycle path separated from vehicular traffic as well as a six-foot-wide sidewalk that would replace the existing walkway on the east side of Herndon Parkway.

The two-way cycle track will run from the Washington & Old Dominion Trail, past the Spring Street intersection, and farther south to Hyatt House.

The dedicated bicycle path will support the Fairbrook Park redevelopment and other development projects expected to come with the eventual opening of the Herndon Metro station. It will ultimately extend to the Herndon Parkway and Van Buren Street intersection, where it will connect with a trail and bicycle lanes on Van Buren Street, according to the town.

The project will also introduce five-foot-wide, ADA-compliant sidewalks along Spring Street, according to a VDOT document.

While VDOT will be responsible for the project’s design and construction, maintenance of the completed bicycle path will be overseen by the Town of Herndon under a proposed license agreement with the state transportation department and the Northern Virginia Regional Park Authority (NOVA Parks), which owns the W&OD Trail.

If approved, the agreement would run through the end of 2060 but could be extended. VDOT would be required to give NOVA Parks $5,000 to cover potential expenses related to construction on the W&OD Trail, though the money will be returned within six months after the work is completed.

Once construction is finished, the licensing agreement would be transferred to the town.

The Herndon Town Council discussed the agreement during a work session yesterday (July 7) and is slated to address the item again at its next regular meeting on Tuesday (July 13).

Photo via Google Maps

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Repairs and rehabilitation is now complete on the 74-year-old Sugarland Run Bridge in Herndon.

Construction began last September on the westbound Route 7 (Leesburg Pike) portion of the bridge, which resulted in several lane closures on weekends and overnights in October. The project was completed last month.

The work included bridge pier and abutment repairs, the building of a new concrete bridge deck, guardrail upgrades, and new curbs and gutters. The total cost of the project was $4.4 million, paid for by a combination of state and federal funds.

Work and repairs were needed to address continued deterioration on the bridge’s underside, broken steel reinforcement strands, and debris clogging the drain pipes. Overall, the condition of the bridge deck and beams prior to the work was considered “poor” and “structurally deficient,” according to the staff report.

This section of Route 7 averages about 59,000 vehicles a day in combined eastbound and westbound travel.

The bridge was widened in 1981 and, again, in 2000.

Initially, VDOT planned to further widen the bridge in this project and extend the acceleration lane from the Fairfax County on-ramp to Dranesville Road, but those elements were cut from the project.

Those additional components would have brought the total cost of the project to about $11 million and were “not completed due to funding constraints,” a Virginia Department of Transportation confirms to Reston Now.

In the end, the project actually was finished ahead of schedule and under budget compared to estimates from June 2019. It was originally scheduled to be completed in the fall 2021 and cost about $6 million.

An effort by Fairfax County and the Town of Herndon to restore Sugarland Run Stream, the body of water that runs under the bridge, is currently in the works.

Set to be completed in early 2022, the long-running project will stabilize eroding stream banks, re-plant vegetation, and install brush mattresses.

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Concerns about the maintenance of trails and other bicycle and pedestrian facilities took center stage at the Fairfax County Department of Transportation’s ActiveFairfax Transportation Plan community conversation for the Hunter Mill District on Monday (April 19).

The virtual meeting was part of the initial public comment phase of the county’s efforts to develop the ActiveFairfax Transportation Plan, which will establish a vision and goals for supporting non-motorized or self-propelled travel.

Examples of active transportation include walking, riding a bike or horse, running, hiking, and the use of rolling devices such as wheelchairs, scooters, and strollers.

Nicole Wynands, the ActiveFairfax project manager, hosted the Hunter Mill District conversation, one of 11 public meetings that have been scheduled this month.

Attendees of the Hunter Mill District meeting identified the maintenance of pedestrian and bicycle facilities as well as hiking, mountain biking, and equestrian trails as a primary concern, requesting more clarity around where community members should go to report maintenance issues.

Maintenance is a shared responsibility between various agencies, including the county and the Virginia Department of Transportation.

Maintenance issues of concern included debris cluttering paths and bike lanes, encroaching landscaping or trees encroaching the paths, and snow being plowed onto pathways. Suggestions to improve these issues included the county encouraging VDOT to dedicate funds for bicycle facility maintenance.

Wynands clarified that tree or shrub trimming is complaint-based, but added that the ActiveFairfax plan “will make recommendations in regards to maintenance.”

Commenters also called for more efforts to educate the public on varying crosswalk functions and ways that mountain bike or equestrian trail users can prevent the trails from being damaged, such as not utilizing them following inclement weather.

Wynands described the new ActiveFairfax Transportation Plan as a necessary measure to mitigate inconsistencies between the county’s various existing pedestrian and bicycle plans and to meet national standards and best practices for facility and design plans.

“In order for us to effectively implement the vision for the biking and walking network, we will need to create one recommendation that is consistent, particularly with the region-wide plan and the area plans,” Wynands said.

Wynands added that Phase One of the ActiveFairfax plan — which began in July 2020 — will run through July. Public engagement will continue through May 15, with a public review of the plan expected by the end of May. A final version will then be presented to the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors.

The community survey is still available online, along with interactive maps for community members to identify key destinations and barriers and suggest locations for new trails, bikeways, and street enhancements.

The second phase of the plan will be implemented immediately following the conclusion of the first, and it’s expected to take a year or year and a half, according to Wynands.

Priorities in the second phase include creating a facility selection toolkit, providing network and program recommendations, implementing guidance, prioritizing funding, and working on a comprehensive plan amendment.

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The Virginia Department of Transportation has announced a virtual public information meeting scheduled for Wednesday, Oct. 21 regarding plans to replace the Springvale Road bridge over Piney Run with a two-lane bridge in the Great Falls area of Fairfax County. The bridge is currently single-laned and weight restricted. 

VDOT is considering two possible options for the project, according to their press release. One proposed option is to widen the bridge to two lanes with two four-foot-wide shoulders. The other option is to widen the bridge to two lanes separated by raised/splitter island medians with two two-foot-wide shoulders. 

The bridge, averaging 4,700 vehicles per day, according to the release, will also have an increased opening to better prepare for flooding. 

There is no project start date yet, but the schedule will be updated over several months as the project reaches further stages of planning or if additional funding becomes available. The replacement is aimed to improve bridge safety. 

The virtual meeting will begin at 6:30 p.m., and feedback will be accepted through Nov.  2. Those interested in attending can register on the VDOT website.

Screengrab via Google Maps

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Drivers should expect more traffic changes and lane shifts on Route 7 beginning today (Monday) as work on the multi-year expansion project continues.

Drivers on westbound Route 7 and nearby side streets will see major lane shifts and traffic pattern changes between Baron Cameron Avenue and Utterback Store Road.

All westbound lanes will shift south between Baron Cameron Avenue and Utterback Store Road beginning today.

Detours are also in effect until June 2021 for Great Passage Boulevard and Riva Ridge Drive. Drivers are encouraged to followed signed detour routes along Kettle Pond Lane and Amanda Drive.

The project will widen seven miles between Reston Avenue and Jarrett Valley Drive, including widening the road from four to six lanes, adding 10-foot-side shared-use paths, and other intersection improvements.

The $313.9 million project is expected to be completed by the summer of 2024.

Photo via Virginia Department of Transportation

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The Virginia Department of Transportation’s project to widen Route 7 is well underway and is on track to finish by summer 2024.

The project planned to “improve almost seven miles of Route 7 between Reston Ave. and Jarrett Valley Drive,” according to Jennifer McCord, the Northern Virginia Communications Manager for the Virginia Department of Transportation.¬†

As of right now, there are several traffic shifts and new traffic patterns along the Route 7 Corridor as crews place temporary asphalt for the road widening as well as intersection reconstruction, according to McCord. She added that noise walls will be added later as most of the work is completed. 

At the beginning of the project, VDOT set a $313.9 million budget, and according to McCord, they are still on track to complete within that budget. 

As of June 2020, from Reston Avenue to Riva Ridge Drive making up Area 1 West, there has been continued storm sewer installation, relocated communication lines, installation of an underdrain, continued construction of a stormwater management pond and cement stabilization, according to the Virginia Department of Transportation project website. 

In Area 1 East from Baron Cameron Ave. to Carpers Farm Way, construction completed cement stabilizations, placed base asphalt, shifted eastbound Route 7 lanes towards the median, began reconstruction of Delta Glen Court pavement and built a retaining wall west of Baron Cameron Ave. 

In Area 2, the Baron Cameron Intersection, Stage 2 construction was pending right-of-way acquisition. 

In Area 3, Difficult Run Area, there was continued relocation of communication utilities. 

In Area 4, Faulkner Drive to Jarrett Valley Drive, there was the construction of a stormwater management pond, asphalt was placed for temporary pavement in the median and they completed shoulder strengthening along the eastbound lanes, according to the website. 

Since fewer people have been traveling since the pandemic, the number of allowable work hours extended because of the decrease in traffic volume. 

¬†“Due to the 40-60% decrease in traffic volumes in parts of March and April, VDOT was able to grant select contractor requests for extended allowable work hours,” said McCord.¬†

Improvements at Towlston Road were completed in October 2019, and a new triple left turn at Baron Cameron Ave. was completed early and has been open for about a year, said McCord. 

The website continues to post lane closure updates for the following week every Friday. 

Photos courtesy of Jennifer McCord

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Motorists may see some congestion relief at a busy intersection in Herndon.

The Virginia Department of Transportation added a new left-turn lane at the intersection of Frying Pan Road and Sunrise Valley Drive in Herndon.

The improvement, which cost roughly $24,000, makes it easier for drivers coming from Route 28 to turn onto Sunrise Valley Drive. Previously, the road had two left-turn lanes.

Roughly 41,000 vehicles travel through this intersection daily, according to VDOT.

Photo via VDOT

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The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors approved the county’s Transportation Priorities Plan — which is estimated to cost roughly $3 billion dollars.

The plan approved last Tuesday (Dec. 3) by the board will guide decisions for transit improvements for fiscal years 2020 to 2025, according to a county press release.

In the Hunter Mill District specifically, there are more than 50 projects recommended by the county documents — many of which include improvements in safety measures for pedestrians and bicyclists as well as various infrastructure and intersection changes. Some of the projects suggested in the plan will be fully funded by the estimated cost, while other projects will need to find additional funding.

Here is a list of a few major improvements in the plan:

  • Widen Route 7 from four to six lanes from Jarrett Valley Drive (Dulles Toll Road) to Reston Avenue. This would include intersection, bicycle and pedestrian and bus stop changes
  • Addition of a walkway on the north side of Fox Mill Road from Fairfax County Parkway to Reston Parkway
  • Expansion of Reston bike-share
  • Expansion of Town Center Parkway¬†to include a¬†divided roadway under the Dulles Toll Road from Sunrise Valley Drive to Sunset Hills Road

The Fairfax County Department of Transportation will also continue projects that are already underway, according to Fairfax County’s website.

County documents also included a list of projects that were not recommended for the 2020-25 Priorities List, including the underpass for Town Center Parkway and the Dulles Toll Road.

In 2014, the Board of Supervisors approved $1.4 billion for six years of transportation projects from FY 2015-2020.

The county said in the press release that the funding estimate for the FY 2020- 2025 plan was impacted by the Virginia General Assembly passing legislation that diverted funds to the Washington Metropolitan Transit Authority, along with rising project costs.

More from the press release:

The anticipated funding for a draft FY 2018-2023 TPP was $600 million in new revenues to fully fund existing projects and $170 million in new projects. These funding estimates were not realized, because in 2018, the Virginia General Assembly passed legislation that designated $154 million per year for the Washington Metropolitan Transit Authority (WMATA) to address system improvement needs largely did so by diverting funding from existing local and regional sources.

Of the $102 million annual diversion, the financial impact on¬†Fairfax¬†County was estimated to be $45-50 million per year, or approximately $300 million over six years. As a result, there is no available revenue for new transportation projects. In addition, the County was required to adjust schedules for some previously approved projects, many beyond¬†FY¬†2025…

According to the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT), project costs have been rising for various reasons, including the number of large-scale projects underway across the National Capital Region causing shortages of labor and materials; economic factors such as tariffs and rising right-of-way costs; and across the board increases on project contingencies required by VDOT.

Image via Google Maps

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Tuesday Morning Notes

Fairfax County Poaches Another Arlington Development OfficialThe Fairfax County Economic Development Authority (FCEDA) announced that it has¬†poached¬†another¬†one of Arlington’s economic development officials: Alex Iams, the former interim director of the Arlington Economic Development. [Tysons Reporter]

Common Recycling Mistakes — Nearly 30 percent of material received by a third-party recycling processor used by the county is trash. The county offers tips on how to stop this practice of “wishful recycling.” [Fairfax County Government]

Feedback Sought on Fairfax County Parkway Improvements — The Virginia Department of Transportation is holding a public hearing on Thursday (Dec. 12) on plans to improve five miles of Fairfax County Parkway. Comments can also be submitted online. [Virginia Department of Transportation]

More Authority Proposed for Local Jurisdictions — “Democrats say they are likely to let counties and cities choose, for example, whether to remove or relocate Confederate memorials, and are looking for ways to allow them to impose taxes on hotel stays and cigarettes. They say they are unlikely to push for a full adoption of home rule, however, citing a century’s worth of judicial decisions that adhere to the philosophy of state control.” [The Washington Post]

Photo via Flickr/vantagehill

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Get ready for more snow.

The National Weather Service recently posted a winter weather advisory for the D.C.-area, including Fairfax County, from 6 p.m. tonight (Jan. 17) to 4 a.m. on Friday.

NWS expects around 1 inch of snow accumulation.

The advisory says the following:

Plan on slippery road conditions and
sidewalks. The hazardous conditions could impact the evening
commute after sunset as temperatures fall below freezing.

PRECAUTIONARY/PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS…

A Winter Weather Advisory for snow means periods of snow will
cause primarily travel difficulties. Expect snow covered roads
and limited visibilities, and use caution while driving.

The latest road conditions for the state you are calling from can
be obtained by calling 5 1 1.

The Virginia Department of Transportation¬†is asking¬†drivers to¬†closely monitor forecasts¬†for potential snow and ice impacting rush hours¬†tonight and¬†tomorrow, according¬†to a “snow update” email this morning.

VDOT wrote that crews are staging along roads throughout the day to be ready for rush hour and have touched up pretreatment on areas prone to freezing, such as bridges, ramps and overpasses. They will also continue to work overnight to treat for icy conditions.

Photo via Robbie Nolan/Twitter

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County remains among the richest — the U.S. Census Bureau estimates that Fairfax County ranks second as the¬†richest county from 2013 to 2017, following Loudoun County. [U.S. Census Bureau]

It’s snow joke — With snow predictions looming, the Virginia Department of Transportation wants residents to stay safe by looking over its 2018-2019 “snow facts.” [VDOT]

Fine arts photography collection — The “La Lumiere DuBois VII” exhibit by Michael DuBois, who highlights his love of nature, opens today at the¬†Reston Community Center Hunters Woods. The exhibit is open until¬† Jan. 6. [Reston Community Center]

“She Kills Monsters: Young Adventurers Edition” — Watch students from the Herndon High School perform a contemporary dramatic comedy tonight at 7 p.m.¬†Parental guidance is recommended.¬†[Herndon High School Theatre]

Photo by Susan Berger

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A plan is underway to replace an aging bridge on Hunter Mill Road over Colvin Run.

The $3 million project would expand the bridge from one to two lanes and include four-feet-wide shoulders. The number of vehicles that pass over the bridge is expected to increase from 7,200 to 11,000 vehicles per day by 2043, according to state estimates.

The replacement project has been contemplated by state and local officials for nearly 20 years.

The Virginia Department of Transportation is seeking public input on the project on April 16 from 6:30-8:30 p.m. at Forest Ridge Elementary School (1501 Becontree Lane). A presentation on the project will begin at 7 p.m.

Construction will likely begin in the spring of 2021. The bridge is expected to be completed by the summer of 2022. It has a sufficiency rating of 23.5 out of 100, a measure that determines the likelihood of a bridge to remain in service.

Photos courtesy of VDOT

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Wednesday Morning Notes

Fairfax County School Board to Discuss¬† School Calendar¬†— The board will¬†review three options to change the school calendar for next year on Monday, Nov. 13. Changes include several options for the first day of school and the selection of the length of winter break and early release days. Proposed changes can be found on the school system’s website. For more information, contact the school system’s community relations and communication office at¬†571-423-1200. [Fairfax County Public Schools]

Federal Capital Partners To Sell Amazon Web Services Building in Herndon — The landlord has hired a firm to market the One Dulles Tower, a 400,000 square foot building for sale. The company purchased the building for $80 million in 2015. [Washington Business Journal]

Event to Highlight Crash Management Efforts in Northern Virginia — Virginia’s transportation department will show how multiple agencies and jurisdictions work together to clear incidents on the state’s roads on Nov. 11 at 10 a.m. The event, which will be held at the department’s Northern Virginia District Office (4975 Alliance Drive), is the first open house in Northern Virginia that will feature a simulated crash scene and indoor technology exposition. For more information, visit the department’s webpage. [Virginia Department of Transportation]

Herndon High School Theatre Presents ‘Twelfth Night’ —¬† William Shakespeare’s holiday comedy will be performed on Nov. 10, 11, 16 and 17¬† from 7:30 – 10 p.m. Timings for Nov. 12 and Nov. 18 are between 2 and 4:30 p.m. Parental guidance is recommended, as the performance is not suitable for audience members under the age of thirteen. Tickets, which are $12 for adults and $6 for students, can be purchased on the theatre’s website. Performances will take place in Herndon High School’s auditorium (700 Bennett St.). [Herndon High School Theatre]

Sobriety Check Set for Friday — Officers from the Reston District Station will be conducting a sobriety checkpoint in the area this Friday. A first-time DUI offense can result in fines ranging from $250 to $2,500 and a one-year license suspension. Individuals arrested with a blood-alcohol content of 0.15 or higher must spend at least five days in jail. [Fairfax County Police]

File photo.

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Friday Morning Notes

Hook Road Project Info Session ¬†Anyone interested in learning about the Hook Road Recreation Area project and the forming of a working group may attend an information session on Tuesday, Aug. 29 at 6:30 p.m. at Reston Association headquarters (12001 Sunrise Valley Drive). Email [email protected]¬†for more about serving on the working group. [Reston Association]

Third Outreach Session on Bikeshare Announced — The Virginia Department of Transportation has announced a third public outreach event to gather community input on the proposed sites for Capital Bikeshare expansion in Reston. It will be Saturday, Aug. 26 from 9 a.m. to noon at the Reston Farmers Market. [VDOT]

Aquatics Center To Close for Annual Maintenance — The Terry L. Smith Aquatics Center at Reston Community Center (2310 Colts Neck Road) will be closed from Aug. 19 to Sept. 15. It is scheduled to reopen at noon Sept. 16. [Reston Community Center]

County Short-Term Rental Survey Ongoing —¬†Fairfax County is developing regulations to govern the use of short-term rentals (e.g., Airbnb). It is gathering community input through Aug. 31. [Fairfax County/Survey Monkey]

Column: Virginia Should Not Pay for ‘Skins Stadium — Regular ARLnow columnist Peter Rousselot wrote this week about how the costs of bringing a new Washington Redskins home field to Virginia would far outweigh the benefits for taxpayers. [ARLnow]

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Beginning Monday, traffic and parking on North Shore Drive will be limited as re-paving work is done.

According to signs posted on the road, the work is scheduled for July 10 through Aug. 10. Parking limitations will be in effect from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. each day while the work is being conducted.

The work will be done on the entire 3.53-mile length of the road. As part of the re-paving project, lines will be painted on the road to create bike lanes and add sharrows.

Paving projects have already been completed this season on North Village Road and a small portion of Wiehle Avenue. More paving will take place this summer on roads including Colts Neck Road, Glade Drive and Twin Branches Road.

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