Tysons Corner, VA

(Updated at 3:10 p.m.) Work may start on a new underground power line running through Tysons before the end of the year.

The existing load on power lines from the Tysons and McLean areas is expected to exceed 300 megawatts by 2022, according to Dominion Energy. The new power line will keep Dominion under the limits.

To make sure there’s enough power, Dominion is building an additional power source to avoid violating mandatory standards.

At a meeting last night (Tuesday) at Kilmer Middle School, Dominion officials said that construction is set to kick off in November or December — depending on the weather and when permits get approved — for the Idylwood-Tysons 230 kilovolt (kV) Project.

The project will add a new 4-mile-long transmission line underground, running under the W&OD Trail by I-66 and I-495 before heading up Gallows Road to International Drive in Tysons .

Commuters and pedestrians can expect lane closures along Gallows Road and International Drive in Tysons when construction starts.

Specific dates for the construction schedule and closures have not been determined yet, an engineer for the project told Tysons Reporter. People can expect an interactive online map, which will show what’s been completed and what’s under construction.

“People who live and work in the area will most likely be impacted by the construction,” Peggy Fox, a Dominion spokesperson, said. “We do not expect to interrupt service to our electric customers.”

Currently, the bidding process is underway for the project’s contractor. The final cost will be determined once the contractor is selected — the estimated cost right now is roughly $120 million.

The State Corporation Commission approved the project last fall.

The project is expected to be completed by late 2022, with rehabilitation work going into 2023.

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Some attendees at a meeting about a multi-year road project that recently kicked off in the Vienna area said they are worried about traffic impacts.

The Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) is currently working on its Transform 66 project, which includes construction near the Vienna/Fairfax-GMU Metro station.

Rich Clifton, the project’s design engineer from FAM Consulting LLC, provided attendees with a construction update at a meeting yesterday (Sept. 4) at the Providence Community Center. Every seat was filled for the presentation at 7 p.m., with dozens of people standing in the back.

Starting today (Sept. 5), the ramp from Saintsbury Drive to eastbound I-66 will be permanently closed.

The ramp will temporarily reopen for buses during the weekday from October 2019 to September 2020 while another road construction project is underway. Clifton strongly urged non-bus drivers to stay off of the ramp.

“The ramp can’t handle the volume of traffic if it was open to the general public,” Clifton. “There are 19 bus routes that go over Vaden.”

Along I-66, the barrier between the collector-distributor (CD) road and eastbound I-66 will be removed and access to I-66 from the CD road and Nutley Street will shift east of Vaden Drive.

On westbound I-66, the lanes will shift, along with the CD road. Clifton said that the exit ramp to Country Creek Drive will remain open.

Starting in October, the bridge at Vaden Drive will close for demolition and construction of a new bridge — a process that will take about a year, Clifton said.

“We’ll try to stay out of Nutley while we work on Vaden bridge,” Clifton said.

While the bridge is closed, drivers will have 2-mile-long detours to follow. A modification of traffic flow at the Nutley Street intersection and Saintsbury Drive will accommodate the detour, Clifton said.

Some attendees at the meeting said that they expect drivers to head west instead of following the detour, possibly clogging up local roads. Clifton said that posted signs about the detours are meant to encourage drivers to take detour routes, but that there is no guarantee that drivers won’t come up with their own directions.

For pedestrians, a shorter detour will allow them to use the bridge at the Vienna/Fairfax-GMU Metro station, which will stay open all day and night. Clifton said that the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) will be able to close off the station, while keeping the gates open for the bridge.

In about six months, work will start on Chain Bridge Road (Route 123) to relocate utilities and to construct bridges, ramps and new box culverts for a future path.

A temporary traffic pattern change will allow for the construction of new ramps:

  • westbound I-66 and northbound Route 123
  • westbound I-66 and southbound Route 123
  • eastbound I-66 and northbound Route 123
  • southbound Route 123 and eastbound I-66

There will also be four new traffic signals in that area.

Once all of that work is finished, construction will start on the Nutley Street and I-66 interchange.

While a diverging diamond design was proposed a few years ago, Clifton said that the interchange will instead have a double roundabout.

That work is slated to finish up in the early part of 2022.

After several questions about traffic for each portion of the project, Clifton told attendees to check out the traffic impacts online.

Maps via VDOT

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Construction on the Washington and Old Dominion Trail in the City of Falls Church is almost over.

The W&OD Trail closed at Grove Avenue and N. West Street starting Aug. 19 and is expected to open back up on Friday, Sept. 6, according to a tweet.

The closure brings a series of changes including the temporary rerouting of paths, paving paths that were previously gravel, widening paths, burying utilities, creating safer crossings and eventually realigning the path with the new Founders Row development, Mike DePue, a W&OD Trail spokesperson, said.

DePue said the Northern Virginia Regional Park Authority is also in the design process to install dual paths that will ease congestion.

“The goal of dual surface trails is to separate bike traffic from pedestrian traffic to improve user safety and enjoyment of the trail,” he said.

Photo via The W&OD Trail/Twitter

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A meeting tonight (Wednesday) will provide an update on the upcoming work near the Vienna/Fairfax-GMU Metro station.

The Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) is currently working on its Transform 66 project.

The meeting will provide a construction update on:

  • the planned closure of Vaden Drive Bridge over I-66 from fall to summer 2020
  • rebuilding the Route 123 interchange
  • the design for the Nutley Street interchange

The meeting will take place 6:30-8:30 p.m. at the Providence Community Center (3001 Vaden Drive) with presentations at 7 p.m. and 8 p.m.

Image via Google Maps

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Big Chimneys Park in the City of Falls Church will soon welcome new improvements.

Currently, the aging downtown park has a grill, a grass-covered area, picnic tables and a playground at 210 Gibson Street.

The park is named after two big chimneys, which are believed to have been apart of the first permanent structure built on the land in the city, according to the Falls Church Historical Commission.

The 1.7-acre park is slated to undergo an update, which includes:

  • replacing aging play equipment
  • adding ADA access from Gundry Drive
  • updating landscaping and signage
  • creating a new trail
  • improving stormwater management

City Manager Wyatt Shields told the City Council at Monday’s meeting that the project will “really enhance that park and make it more welcoming.”

The construction contract is being finalized with the contractors before work starts in October, Shields said.

Shields said that the council may need to revisit the $1.3 million funding for the park’s improvements in the future.

“We are struggling actually to keep that project within the budget,” Shields said. “I’m hoping it won’t be a problem.”

The project is slated to finish next spring.

Image 1 via Google Maps, image 2 via City of Falls Church 

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Construction work on a connector ramp from I-66 to the West Falls Church Metro station is set to start a year later than planned.

“Our project manager, Mark Gibney, has confirmed that construction of the I-66 connector ramp to the West Falls Church Metro station will begin construction in summer 2020 and finish by fall 2021,” Michelle Holland, a spokeswoman for the Virginia Department of Transporation, tod Tysons Reporter.

Currently, cars traveling eastbound on I-66 to the Metro station exit from I-66, turn right to head south on Route 7 (Leesburg Pike), turn left at the intersection at Haycock Road and then turn left onto Falls Church Drive. “VDOT has identified operational and safety issues with this maneuver, especially during AM and PM peak periods,” according to the project’s website.

The new ramp, which is a part of the I-66 widening project, would connect two existing ramps, spitting drivers out onto Falls Church Drive.

While the VDOT website currently says that construction is set to begin this summer and get completed by fall 2o20, the spokesperson said that the website will soon get updated to reflect the correct information.

VDOT plans to hold a public meeting with a construction update on Wednesday (July 10) from 6:30-8:30 p.m. at Yorktown High School (5200 Yorktown Blvd) in Arlington.

Map via VDOT

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New improvements recently completed are designed to make Idylwood Park (7715 Virginia Lane) in Falls Church a little more accessible.

The park is tucked into the northeast corner of the I-66 and I-495 interchange.

According to the Fairfax County Park Authority website:

The project included fully paving the parking lot, which had been comprised of compacted gravel that presented maintenance and accessibility issues. Contractors from Southern Asphalt improved the parking lot and drive to comply with [Americans with Disabilities Act] accessibility requirements. Additional striped parking spaces were added by reconfiguring the overall layout to be more efficient.

Renovations started in June 2018, during which the park was accessible only via foot traffic.

The total cost of the project was $309,732, provided through Fairfax County’s infrastructure project fund.

Photo via Fairfax County Park Authority

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If you’ve driven east out of Vienna along Maple Avenue, you’ve probably passed a new subdivision under construction at the intersection with Follin Lane.

Six lots are under development for the spot located around a small cul-de-sac off Mashie Drive.

The project attracted some criticisms from Vienna officials when seven lots were originally being considered for the lot with direct access from Maple Avenue.

While the houses could have been developed by-right, without extensive town approval, the developer changed the layout of the properties to reflect the feedback.

The new designs also show a tree barrier between Maple Avenue and three of the adjacent lots. A new bus shelter is also planned to be built at the site as part of the agreement.

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(Updated 5:20 p.m.) As Tysons grows, it’s sucking up a lot of juice.

According to Dominion Energy, by 2022 the existing load on power lines from the Tysons and McLean areas is expected to exceed 300 megawatts, which means the energy provider needs to build an additional power source to avoid violating mandatory standards.

The Idylwood-Tysons 230 kilovolt (kV) Project would add a new 4.3 mile transmission line underground, right through the heart of Tysons.

The project was approved by the State Corporation Commission in September. Now, Dominion spokesman Charles Penn said the company is engaged in the engineering phase. Penn said an open house for the project is planned for sometime this summer.

Construction on the project is tentatively scheduled for this fall, with completion planned sometime in 2022.

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Anyone who’s driven to the western end of Maple Avenue has probably spotted the enormous castle-looking building under construction just past Nutley Street.

The new building’s unusual design is representative of an eclectic mix of uses planned for 540 Maple Ave W.

The ground floor will host a Chick-fil-A restaurant with a ramp leading up to the Flagship Carwash on the second floor. The site will also include a wider pedestrian walkway in front of the building.

And after a series of delays and public backlash, construction has resumed on what is planned to be the first of a series of new projects approved under the Town of Vienna’s contentious Maple Avenue Commercial (MAC) process.

The process allows greater sizes and densities for new buildings on Maple Avenue as part of an effort to push back against rampant vacancies plaguing the town’s main street.

Signs from last year indicated that the new site had planned to be opened by winter 2018, a deadline that has come and gone with construction noticeably far from complete.

Construction at the facility had briefly stalled in 2018, but has made significant project over the last month. InsideNova reported the delay was likely related to the water table at the location. But whatever the reason, the work has resumed at the project.

No new timeline has been posted.

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