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New Intersection Lanes Expected to Cut Down McLean Rush Hour Traffic

A long-awaited project to lessen congestion at an intersection near the American Legion Bridge in McLean is nearing completion.

The Virginia Department of Transportation expanded the intersection by 550 feet to include a left turn and right turn lane, as well as an option for traffic to go straight into the nearby neighborhood. The renovations also include an area where law enforcement can safely pull over traffic.

Crews worked on the three-month-long project at the intersection of Georgetown Pike and Balls Hill Road over the summer. Politicians gathered Thursday morning (Aug. 22) to survey the scene and celebrate the project.

Allison Richter, a VDOT liaison for Fairfax County, attended the event and said that people in the nearby neighborhood struggled to get home when others were trying to turn onto American Legion Bridge or onto the freeway. The addition of turn lanes is expected to ease traffic around rush hour, she said.

Richter said that this was part of a $500,000 project to improve traffic flow in the area, which should be completed in the next couple days. She also said that roughly $250,000 of the funds came from Fairfax County while the remaining $250,000 came from an operations safety budget.

“This is one of the rare occasions we meet at this intersection on a happy note,” Dranesville District Supervisor John Foust told the gathering. “This has been a challenge to deal with the intersection and try to meditate the impact on the surrounding neighborhoods from the American Legion Bridge and back up on the ramp.”

Road crews had to redirect some attention from the work on Balls Hill Road to roads impacted by severe flooding in early July, Foust said.

Crews are still working to repair Kirby Road, which is still closed due to flooding damage, he said, adding that the floods completely rerouted the river, which now flows underneath the road.

The city needs to get permits from the Army Corps of Engineers to fix the damage.

“There is only so much we can expedite,” Foust said, adding that he believes that the residents have been patient with the process.

As for the road crews, “I don’t know if I’ve ever seen VDOT so focused,” Foust said.

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