Route 7 widening in Pimmit Hills among local transportation projects up for regional funds

Traffic southbound on Leesburg Pike (Route 7) at Ramada Road in Idylwood (staff photo by Angela Woolsey)

The Northern Virginia Transportation Authority (NVTA) is seeking public input on several projects vying for inclusion in its six-year funding program.

The biggest request by far comes from Fairfax County, which applied for $587.2 million to fund four major projects — more than the other eight localities participating in the fiscal year 2024-2029 Six-Year Program combined.

“With funding requests totaling nearly $1 billion, the projects cover various transportation modes including transit, rail, roadway enhancements, technology, bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure, and intersection/interchange improvements,” the NVTA said in a press release.

Leading the way among Fairfax County’s requests is a multimodal improvements project that would expand about one mile of Route 7 (Leesburg Pike) between the Capital Beltway (I-495) and I-66 in the Pimmit Hills area.

Adding one lane in each direction, the project is intended to make room for the planned Route 7 bus rapid transit (BRT) system, which will initially travel between the Spring Hill Metro station in Tysons and the West Falls Church Metro station. Ultimately, regional and local officials hope to extend the service down to the Mark Center in Alexandria.

In the Pimmit Hills portion of Route 7, the buses will travel in dedicated lanes in the median. Shared-use paths on both sides of the road and improvements at five signalized intersections would also be implemented, according to NVTA’s description of the project.

“The separation of vehicular traffic and the installation of shared use paths will create a safer environment that is accessible to all users,” NVTA says. “The future implementation of BRT will enhance regional sustainability by reducing congestion and getting more people out of automobiles.”

The county is seeking $210 million in regional funding from NVTA for the project, which carries a total estimated cost of $244.4 million.

Other projects submitted by Fairfax County include:

  • Frontier Drive Extension (nearly $165 million requested): The road would be extended from the Franconia-Springfield Metro station to Loisdale Road, accompanied by new, separated pedestrian and bicycle facilities.
  • Seven Corners Ring Road ($122 million): The first segment of the planned road would add “travel lanes, a bi-directional cycletrack, and parking lanes” from the westbound Arlington Blvd (Route 50) ramp to Leesburg Pike (Route 7).
  • Braddock Road Multimodal Improvements ($90 million): The second phase of the project calls for shared-use paths, High-Intensity Activated crosswalk beacons, trail connections and other intersection improvements from Humphries Drive to Southampton Drive near Kings Park.

In addition, the Virginia Railway Express (VRE) has asked for $6.1 million to upgrade its Backlick Road station (6900 Hechinger Drive) in Springfield, including by building a longer, 300-foot platform that can fit eight-car trains.

Updated every two years, NVTA’s six-year programs are supported by sales and grantors’ taxes, the state’s Northern Virginia Transportation District Fund and the Interstate Operations and Enhancement Program. The authority is required to devote 70% of its revenue to regional projects, while the remaining 30% goes directly to its localities.

Public comments on the FY 2024-2029 program are being accepted online, by phone (703-947-7606) and by mail until 11:59 p.m. on May 19. A public hearing will be held at NVTA’s offices (2600 Park Tower Drive, Suite 601, Vienna) at 7 p.m. on May 9.

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