Tysons, VA

It might look like it’s getting torn down, but the Safeway Fuel Station in McLean is really getting a makeover.

The gas station at 1698 Anderson Road has been listed by Patch as one of the cheapest places to get gas during the Thanksgiving holiday.

“We are planning a remodel [and] expansion of the fuel center to provide more offerings,” Beth Goldberg, a spokesperson for Safeway’s parent company Albertsons, told Tysons Reporter.

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Crews are working on the new Scotts Run Fire and Rescue Station 44 in Tysons East.

The project broke ground in September on the new fire station (1766 Old Meadow Lane), which will relieve the overburdened Fire Station 29 by the Spring Hill Metro station.

Fairfax County Fire and Rescue tweeted yesterday (Wednesday) photos of the work being done to build the two-story station, which is expected to be completed by the end of this year.

The fire station — which Fairfax County planners want to achieve LEED certification, according to TRINITY Group Construction — will have three bays, offices, living quarters for up to 12 crew members per shift and restrooms for people using the future adjacent athletic fields.

The parking lot for the fire station will have 22 spots for staff members and four public parking spaces.

The fire station was part of a proffer for Cityline Partners LLC’s Scotts Run Station South development.

Photos via Fairfax County Fire and Rescue/Twitter

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As plans proceed for a newly approved pipeline in Pimmit Hills, a group of residents is continuing to push Washington Gas to reroute the project.

More than 100 Pimmit Hills residents gathered earlier this month to protest the installation of a new natural gas pipeline that Washington Gas plans to place in a neighborhood between Tysons and Falls Church.

The project, which was originally rejected twice by the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT), finally received the green light in late 2019.

The project includes roughly five miles of pipeline intended to support developmental growth in Tysons, according to documentation from the Pimmit Hills Citizens Association (PHCA).

Roughly five feet underground in the Virginia Department of Transit right of way, the pipeline will sit directly under the road, Washington Gas Spokesperson Brian Edwards said.

Lines will run under Cherri, Fisher and Peabody drives in Pimmit Hills, according to a map sent to Tysons Reporter by a member of the citizens association.

Major Concerns From Residents

PHCA Spokesperson Ashley Nellis told Tysons Reporter she worries that the 24-inch-thick and high-pressure pipeline will pose a risk to the safety of local families and cause “massive” disruptions to the area and the environment on several fronts.

The major concerns brought up by Nellis and other residents throughout Pimmit Hills include disturbances to the neighborhood during construction and long-term safety standards.

“This is a very dangerous proposition that has not gone well in other communities,” she said, citing an explosion that occurred in a town in Pennsylvania in 2018.

“We are the only residential neighborhood impacted by a high-pressure transmission pipeline that also happens to be routed along a known flood plain and next to the beginning of Pimmit Run Stream,” Robert Heilen, the president of the PHCA, said in a letter to VDOT.

Brian Edwards, the Washington Gas spokesperson, told Tysons Reporter that the pipeline will not negatively impact the regional flood plain.

After being pressed about community concerns, Washington Gas remains steadfast in its certainty that the pipeline meets, if not exceeds, safety standards according to Edwards, who added that the pipe is built with strong material so there is little possibility of a rupture.

“It is being designed at a very high standard so if someone were to even hit the line with a backhoe it would withstand the damage,” Edwards said.

Due to the nature of the project, VDOT does not require an environmental impact report for the project, according to Edwards.

The Community Fights Back

Politicians including Dranesville District Supervisor John Foust and State Sen. Janet Howell (D-32nd) and Del. Marcus Simon (D-53rd) are also backing the opposition efforts.

Along with its normal monthly meetings, the citizens association began hosting weekly pipeline committee meetings to discuss changes and efforts to halt the project.

As of today (March 16), more than 570 people have signed a Change.org petition to reroute the pipeline.

Currently, a community member is in the midst of filing a petition of appeal against the VDOT approval, aiming to halt the pipeline progress.

Though independently organized, PHCA set up a GoFundMe page to fund the lawsuit. So far, people have donated over $9,500 in two months. “It shows how adamantly the community is against this issue,” Nellis, the PHCA spokesperson, said.

The private community member is now in search of new representation after the original law firm dropped the case, Heilen added.

Edwards said he was not in a position to give a statement from Washington Gas.

Project Alternatives

Project leaders within the community originally hoped that VDOT and Washington Gas would install the new pipeline along Route 7 — an option that Washington Gas said would be more intrusive and time-consuming.

As it stands, the line construction in the Pimmit Hills neighborhood would affect roughly 7,000 commuters daily over the course of three years, according to Edwards. But, if the pipeline would instead be installed along Route 7, he said it would take six years — double the amount of time — and affect roughly 41,000 commuters daily.

For community members though, perks of moving the line to Route 7 include an increased sense of security for their families and easement of construction noise.

Edwards said that Washington Gas plans to proceed with construction block-by-block in order to lessen the burden on homeowners.

Next Steps

As community members continue to fight pipeline installation, Washington Gas is proceeding with preparation for the project.

Edwards wouldn’t give an estimated project start time but told Tysons Reporter that Washington Gas hopes the project will be completed by 2023.

Heilen said he was told that construction was supposed to begin in early April, but said he hasn’t received any updated information.

“Most of the route is already marked,” Heilen said. “I expect that once they feel the weather is stable, they will start digging.”

Photos courtesy Devin Buries

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Major work underway to revamp I-66 underway may soon extend to a bridge and road on the border of Vienna.

Plans to demolish and rebuild Cedar Lane’s bridge over I-66 and the Metro tracks are a part of the Virginia Department of Transportation’s multi-year Transform 66 project.

Susan Shaw, VDOT, and Nancy Smith with FAM provided the Town Council an update on the bridge project last night (Monday).

While nothing has been finalized yet, the bridge will likely get demolished and rebuilt this summer to take advantage of the Orange Line Metro shutdown, they said.

“We’re still having this dialogue so a final decision isn’t made,” Shaw said.

Currently, the lack of a right-hand shoulder on I-66 is creating safety concerns, Smith said.

VDOT is currently looking at move forward with single-phase construction, which would last for six months, Smith told the council, adding that three-phase construction that would last at least 28 months is also an option.

“It would allow us to take full advantage of WMATA’s shutdown,” she said, adding that the goal is to demolish and rebuild the bridge as quickly as possible.

The single-phase construction would require a detour for drivers and pedestrians for the entire six months, Smith said, noting that this option would have fewer impacts on I-66.

Smith said that an analysis of a six-month closure of the bridge found that two-thirds of the traffic on is cut-through traffic between the City of Fairfax and Tysons, while one-third of the traffic is local.

The analysis suggested that drivers would find alternative routes, with local traffic shifting to Nutley Street and Gallows Road.

Smith said that a different detour would be in place for the roughly 40 pedestrians and 20 bicyclists who currently use the bridge every day.

Smith said that the two Fairfax Connector routes that use the bridge would need to be rerouted for a six-month closure.

The bridge is just one of several projects in the area, including:

  • work on new Vaden Drive bridge
  • construction of new Gallows Road bridge
  • work on pedestrian and shared-use path along Nutley Street

“Obviously, Cedar Lane construction won’t happen in a vacuum,” Smith said. “There’s a lot of other construction happening on the corridor simultaneously.”

Work is set to start on the Cedar Lane Bridge in May, Smith said. The new bridge would aim to open by mid-November.

Once the bridge is closed for construction, Smith said that commuters can expect congestion to increase.

People interested in learning more about the single-phase construction can expect a meeting at Thoreau Middle School in late March, Smith said.

Image (1) via Google Maps, image (2) and maps via Town of Vienna

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Updated 3:05 p.m.– Though the project is behind schedule, construction at the Tysons Pimmit Park playground is expected to finish by the end of the month.

Crews at Tysons Pimmit Park (7584 Leesburg Pike) are replacing a picnic shelter, a Fairfax County Park Authority spokesperson said, adding that the area should reopen by late March.

Construction was originally supposed to be finished by Feb. 28, a spokesperson previously told Tysons Reporter.

“There was a need for extra time to accommodate procurement issues and delivery of the equipment,” the Fairfax County Park Authority spokesperson later told Tysons Reporter.

Overall, the project cost $120,000 and is being funded by the 2019 Park Bond, according to county documents.

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Cranes and crews are busy working on a new office tower near the Greensboro Metro station in Tysons.

Tysons Biergarten’s former site will soon become a 383,000-square-foot office tower with 20 floors and a penthouse, according to the project’s website.

Named Tysons Central, the tower is set to open in the first quarter of 2022, according to signs along Leesburg Pike.

The building will include 365,000 square feet of office space and 19,000 square feet of retail space, the signs say.

The plans show that the office space will be atop parking decks, which will be above the retail and plaza area, according to the project’s website.

The building will also have a sky lobby with an outdoor terrace on the eighth floor and a private terrace on the 12th floor.

“Additionally, the exclusive 6,362 sf Penthouse floor offers a unique opportunity to create a private C-Suite, conference center or tenant lounge for a lead tenant,” according to the website.

At full build-out, the office tower will be a part of a mixed-use development that was approved in 2014 with 1,100 residential units, 200 hotel rooms and 135,000 square feet of retail, according to the website.

Here are renderings of what Tysons Central plans to look like when it’s finished:

Renderings and map via Tysons Central 

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Don Beyer Volvo in Falls Church is about to move and set up shop just down the street.

The car dealership plans to move from its location at 1231 W. Broad Street to an adjacent property, an employee said.

Though it is unclear when the construction will be complete, the employee said the company hopes to move into its new spot by June or July.

One person on Twitter spotted construction and signs for the new dealership.

Tysons Reporter reached out to a manager for more information and is awaiting a response.

Image via Google Maps

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The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors has decided to waive the county building and inspection fees for Vienna’s new police station.

Hunter Mill District Supervisor Walter Alcorn and Chairman Jeff McKay proposed the board matter on Tuesday (Feb. 11).

Alcorn said that Vienna town officials requested the waivers.

The Town of Vienna is currently designing a new police station that will have a community room and more space.

“This new building will provide the opportunity for the Town to place all their police functions in one building with upgraded technology and security,” the board matter says. “The building is also being designed to accommodate the town’s emergency planning needs and will include additional community space for the town’s residents.”

While the new station is under construction, the police plan to use space in Town Hall and have a temporary station at 440 Beulah Road NE.

“In 2020, Vienna will be submitting plans and applications for this project which require numerous permits and inspections from Fairfax County,” according to the board matter. “The Town of Vienna has requested, and we support, waiving all county building and inspection fees applicable to the Vienna Police Facility Construction Project to best serve the community.”

Image via Town of Vienna 

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As construction kicks off on renovating the Mary Riley Styles Public Library, the library will temporarily move to trailers near Thomas Jefferson Elementary School.

The library (120 N. Virginia Avenue) is set to close on Monday (Feb. 17), according to a press release from the city. The temporary library is set to reopen in mid-March at trailers at 601 S. Oak Street.

According to the press release, the temporary library will be open:

  • Monday-Tuesday, Thursday: 9:30 a.m.-9 p.m.
  • Wednesdays: 1-9 p.m.
  • Fridays: 9:30 a.m.-5 p.m.
  • Saturdays: 9 a.m.-5 p.m.
  • Sundays: 1-5 p.m.

“Visitors may park on the street while minding the posted street signs,” the press release says. “Visitors should be mindful of the surrounding neighborhood and respect private property.”

More from the press release:

The temporary location will host a good selection of books, periodicals, and other media. Programming like book discussion groups, ESL Conversation Groups, and storytime will continue, with some changes; visitors should check the library’s website for exact details.

All due dates for books and other media are extended into March. Once the temporary location opens, books may only be returned there (601. S. Oak Street). No books or media may be returned at the N. Virginia location, including the drive-through book drop, after Friday, February 28.

New interlibrary loan (ILL) requests are not accepted until the library opens in the temporary location (in early March). Starting February 11, patrons will not be able to place new holds until the temporary location opens in March. Previously placed holds will still be available for pick up at 120 N. Virginia Avenue until February 17. Holds will then not be available for pick-up until the temporary location opens.

The Falls Church City Council approved the construction contract for the project on Monday (Feb. 10).

The renovation is set to revamp the aging library, move the Local History Room and improve safety. The project is scheduled to be completed by May 2021, according to the press release.

Map via Google Maps

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New walkways are coming to McLean this year.

Dranesville District Supervisor John Foust said in a newsletter that work on a rectangular rapid flash beacon at Chain Bridge Road and Wasp Lane is expected to be finished in March.

Then, a walkway will get constructed on the south side of Dolley Madison Blvd from the intersection of Great Falls Street and Lewinsville Road to the McLean Metro station. That work is slated to get done in April.

Other walkway projects expected to finish in April include, according to the newsletter:

  • East side of Georgetown Pike — south of Colonial Farm Road and on the east side of Route 123 and Potomac School Road
  • North side of Kirby Road from Birch Road to Corliss Court

Finally, a walkway coming to the south side of Chesterbrook Road, spanning from Chesterford Way to Maddux Lane, is set to get completed in August.

Map via Fairfax County

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