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McLean Cut-Through Conundrum Returns Next Week

The Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) is looking for public input on ideas to cut down congestion in McLean.

At 7 p.m. on Oct. 18 in McLean High School, VDOT will hold its second meeting on a series of proposals to improve traffic in the area. Among the potential solutions is limiting access to and from Georgetown Pike from McLean, a proposal that drew controversy at an earlier meeting in August when hundreds of residents showed up to voice concerns that the plan would eliminate access to the Beltway from McLean.

A VDOT press release says the organization plans to give an update at the meeting in response to comments from the first meeting.

Several short-term solutions have already been implemented in McLean, including installation of traffic cameras and increased signage. Small traffic improvements have also been made throughout McLean, including widening the shoulder on westbound Route 193.

Intermediate solutions listed by VDOT include:

  • Begin cut-through restriction process with Dead Run/Carper neighborhood, two neighborhoods in McLean that met the volume criteria for Fairfax County’s cut-through restriction process.
  • Improve the Balls Hill Road and Georgetown Pike intersection, an intersection frequently congested with traffic turning onto the Beltway.
  • Additional coordination with local stakeholders and Fairfax County Public Schools to improve safety around Cooper Middle School, which is only 300 yards from the the Beltway and the congested Balls Hill Road and Georgetown Pike intersection.
  • Make improvements to Douglass Drive and Georgetown Pike intersection, currently an intersection of two busy two-lane streets whose only traffic control measure is stop signs on Douglass Drive.

The longer-term solutions involve coordinating with Maryland on regional transit projects, namely improving the American Legion Bridge. The American Legion Bridge is a chokepoint for traffic going to and from Tysons, but making substantial improvements is going to be a challenge.

Images via VDOT

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Road Closure and Detour Planned for Culvert Replacement Next Week

Work to replace a culvert along Valley Wood Road in McLean will prompt an all-week detour along the Arlington-McLean border next week.

VDOT crews will be performing the work during the day Monday through Friday, weather permitting.

More from VDOT:

Valley Wood Road/37th Street North between North Kensington Street and Vermont Avenue will be closed to through traffic (weather permitting) Monday, Oct. 1 through Friday, Oct. 5 from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. each day for culvert replacement, according to the Virginia Department of Transportation.

Residents within the closure area, emergency vehicles and school buses will have access to the closed portion of Valley Wood Road/37th Street North; however, they will not be able to go beyond the point of culvert replacement in either direction.

Traffic will be detoured via North Kensington Street, Rhode Island Avenue, Massachusetts Avenue and Vermont Avenue back to Valley Wood Road/37th Street North.

Arlington County’s sometimes snarky Dept. of Environmental Services Twitter account also posted about the detour today.

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Major Congestion Relief Project Nears Partial Opening

The Jones Branch Connector will soon be open to one lane of traffic in each direction.

The Connector is a new roadway connecting I-495 Express Lanes and Jones Branch Drive to Scotts Crossing Road, providing an alternative route across the Beltway and linking the eastern and central areas of Tysons. The aim of the project is to relieve traffic on Route 123 and other congested intersections around Tysons.

Ellen Kamilakis, a spokeswoman for the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT), said the bridge is still on time and on budget for $58 million. The Connector’s partial opening is scheduled on or before Dec. 12. One lane in each direction on the roadway will be available, as well as one of the multi-use paths on the side of the road.

Construction on the project started in January 2017. Substantial completion is planned for October 2019, meaning the Connector will be completely operational. Full completion is planned for November 2019. When it’s finished, the Connector will have two travel lanes and on-street bike lanes in each direction. Aiming to help make Tysons more walkable, the project features eight to twelve foot lighted sidewalks.

The Connector is expected to carry more than 32,000 vehicles per day by 2040.

Kamilakis said the most recent update on the project is that roadway grading is underway, with crews readying to lay down asphalt. Work is being done concurrently on the storm sewers and utility work. Work is also being done on the project’s three bridges, which will cross over I-495.

Photos and map via VDOT

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VDOT Proposal: Improve Local Traffic by Closing Beltway Access

Update on 9/12/18: Due to inclement weather, the VDOT meeting has been cancelled and will be rescheduled

The Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) is looking at drastic measures to try and reduce the impact of congestion in I-495 on the neighborhoods near the Beltway.

Traffic on the Beltway bottlenecks at the American Legion Bridge. While longer term plans are in development to extend the express lanes to the bridge, as it stands the bottleneck builds on the Virginia side in the afternoons. Congestion on I-495 often results in navigation apps like Waze of Google Maps redirecting drivers through the smaller side streets in the surrounding neighborhoods, overcrowding the residential streets and sometimes sealing local residents inside their driveways.

On Thursday (Sept. 13), VDOT will host a meeting to discuss proposals to address neighborhood access and congestion concerns, among them a plan to implement a pilot program that would limit access to the ramp from Georgetown Pike to Northbound I-495 during weekday afternoon/evening periods.

While closing the ramp would limit access from the Beltway to local streets, it would also limit the access for local residents to the Beltway.

The meeting will be held at McLean High School (1633 Davidson Road) at 7 p.m. Public comments can also be emailed to [email protected] with “McLean Traffic Analysis” in the subject line.

Photo via Virginia Department of Transportation

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