Tysons, VA

Parking lots and restrooms are reopening along the George Washington Memorial Parkway.

The National Park Service recently announced that the parking areas and restrooms will be available by Wednesday (June 3). People were able to access some of them starting Friday (May 29).

“The National Park Service (NPS) is working with federal, state, and local public health authorities to closely monitor the COVID-19 pandemic and using a phased approach to increase access on a park-by-park basis,” according to NPS.

The parking areas include Fort Marcy in McLean, along with several parks in Alexandria and Arlington. “Parking areas at Great Falls Park have already reopened and will be open at 50 percent capacity,” NPS said.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has guidelines for how people can enjoy parks and recreational facilities with reduced risk of spreading COVID-19.

Image via Google Maps

0 Comments

The McLean Citizens Association (MCA) is supporting a recent request for federal funding for work on the George Washington Memorial Parkway.

MCA sent a letter on Feb. 17 to the Department of Transportation, urging support for the National Park Service’s grant applications.

The funding from the Infrastructure for Rebuilding America grant program would help rehabilitate 8 miles of the parkway from Spout Run Parkway to I-495.

NPS is looking to:

  • repave the road
  • repair stormwater management systems and walls
  • rehabilitate two historic, scenic overlooks
  • replace guardrails
  • construct new curbs
  • build emergency turnarounds along the north end

“The condition of this stretch of the GW Parkway has been deteriorating, and urgent action is needed to perform reconstruction of this portion of the road system,” the letter notes.

More than 33 million vehicles per year travel on the GW Parkway, according to Fairfax County. Last year, emergency work had to fix the cause of a sizable sinkhole on the GW Parkway, disrupting traffic for months in the area.

Noting that the grant program is “highly competitive,” the letter goes on to say that the work will also improve the “historical and cultural characteristics that make the Parkway one of the most scenic roadways in the country.”

Fairfax County’s Board of Supervisors is also backing the federal funding ask.

Image via Google Maps

0 Comments

Fairfax County’s Board of Supervisors is supporting an application for federal funding to pay for a rehabilitation project along the GW Parkway.

Dranesville District Supervisor John Foust proposed the board matter, which supports an application for funding from the Infrastructure for Rebuilding America grant program.

The funding would support the parkway’s North Section Rehabilitation Program, which aims to reconstruct nearly 8 miles of the GW Parkway from Spout Run Parkway to I-495.

“The proposed project addresses serious deterioration of the parkway and implements significant safety improvements,” the board matter says.

If the funding is approved, the board matter says the National Park Service (NPS) plans to:

  • repave the road
  • repair stormwater management systems and walls
  • rehabilitate two historic, scenic overlooks
  • replace guardrails
  • construct new curbs
  • build emergency turnarounds along the north end

The project will also include work on a northern section, addressing a $1.7 billion maintenance backlog that includes $395 million for the parkway, the board matter says.

More than 33 million vehicles per year travel on the GW Parkway, according to Fairfax County. Last year, emergency work had to fix the cause of a sizable sinkhole on the GW Parkway, disrupting traffic for months in the area.

Foust noted that the project is meant to address safety and longevity issues for the parkway.

The Board of Supervisors voted to approve sending a letter of support for NPS’s application for the federal funding.

Map via Google Maps

0 Comments

Updated at 4:20 p.m. — All of the lanes have reopened, MATOC tweeted

Southbound lanes of GW Parkway are closed near the intersection with Route 123 in McLean.

The closures are due to a vehicle crash, according to an alert from Fairfax County.

All of the southbound lanes are closed as of 3:24 p.m., according to Virginia 511.

Drivers can expect delays. Traffic is backed up about 1.5 miles, the Metropolitan Area Transportation Operations Coordination Program tweeted.

Map via Google Maps

0 Comments

Drivers can expect lane closures as work begins tonight (Tuesday) on areas of the GW Parkway in McLean.

The National Park Service (NPS) and Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) wants to repair sections of the GW Parkway in McLean and Clara Barton Parkway in D.C.

On the GW Parkway, the work will take place between Chain Bridge Road (Route 123) and I-495. Drivers can expect single-lane closures from 7 p.m. to 5 a.m.

“We’re working this fall so the parkways are ready for winter driving,” Superintendent Charles Cuvelier said in the press release. “Even though this work won’t address the entirety of either road, it’s part of the National Park Service’s long-term plan to maintain and eventually reconstruct both.”

The project plans to level uneven parts of the road, add new pavement markings and replace old asphalt.

“The work will last into late fall with completion depending on the weather in the weeks ahead,” the press release said.

Construction crews are also working to fix the cause of a sizeable sinkhole that opened up on the GW Parkway back in March.

“The FHWA recently finished 50 vertical feet of excavation to remove a 60-year-old brick drainage structure that had failed,” the press release said. “Workers are now completing the installation of a new drain and back-filling the excavated area.”

NPS is also competing for federal grants to fully fund a project that would reconstruct GW Parkway near Route 123.

Map via Google Maps

0 Comments

Construction crews are working to fix the cause of a sizable sinkhole that opened up on the GW Parkway back in March — inconveniencing those who regularly travel on the road.

The sinkhole was caused by a failed drainage structure, Aaron LaRocca, a spokesperson of the National Park Service, which maintains the GW Parkway, said.

The structure was made of brick and was originally built more than 60 years ago, he added.

In an attempt to fix the issue, LaRocca said NPS removed the old system which required them to dig 50-feet underground and crews are now in the process of installing a new drainage pipe.

“We know this construction is inconvenient, and we’re working hard to reopen the lane to traffic as soon as it’s safe,” LaRocca said. “We’re looking forward to sharing an update when the work is complete.”

NPS expects to reopen both lanes of traffic by mid-October, LaRocca said, but restoration for the area is expected to last longer.

Map via Google Maps

0 Comments

As the National Park Service decides what to do with Claude Moore Colonial Farm property, locals question if their voices are really being heard.

Yesterday (Sept. 26), NPS presented options for future park development near McLean High School, which would divide the land into multi-use space. 

The options featured different ideas that GW Parkway Superintendent Charles Cuvelier said were synthesized from community feedback at the first meeting. But a few attendees who spoke up during the public comment period last night said they felt like NPS ignored their feedback.

During the half-hour presentation, Cuvelier walked through three plans with the audience. All of the proposed plans included expanding hiking trail networks and expanded event space for gatherings.

The “Adventure + Exploration” plan suggested the creation of a camping area where visitors could hook up utility lines. The “Cultivation + Connection” plan emphasized the implementation of community gardens and farms with agricultural fields. Lastly, the “Rejuvenation + Renewal” idea proposed preserving ecological interest points as well as adding a pollinator meadow and a reforestation nursery.

At the first community feedback meeting in April, people were asked to place blue dots around things they would like to see incorporated into the new park design. From the feedback, it appeared that the most popular idea was the continuation of colonial farm activities.

McLean residents Dan Sperling and Rick Schneider told the superintendent last night that they thought the three proposals ignored previous feedback.

“It seems like you have come in with preconceived notions of what you want to do here,” Sperling said. “Not a lot of people knew about this [meeting] tonight. It was only by accident that I found out about it.”

These statements were met with applause from other community members gathered in the audience.

“I wish that you guys would seriously consider what we already have here and not seem like you’re chomping at the bit to do something else,” he said. 

Cuvelier countered this statement, saying, “We wouldn’t do this if we didn’t want to hear from the public.”

Several parents and even a local school teacher in the area said that they want to keep the area as a colonial farm because it is the last place in the region that properly portrayed life from the era “free from apartment buildings and shopping malls.”

“The existing park here is unique to northern Virginia,” Schneider said. 

Going forward, NPS is still looking for community input on the project. The examples from last night’s meeting were to put forth a few ideas and nothing is set, an NPS spokesperson said.

Additionally, NPS plans on renaming the park to South Turkey Run Park to better represent the connection to the surrounding area, Cuvelier said.

NPS has a soft timeline for a final proposal and is hoping to release it in spring 2020.

“I can’t give you an exact date, just a general timeframe given what we are trying to accomplish,” Cuvelier said.

Image via National Park Service

0 Comments

As conditions worsen on GW Parkway, some McLean residents question when they will see repairs.

Charles Cuvelier, the new GW Parkway superintendent, told attendees at the McLean Citizens Association (MCA) meeting on Tuesday (Sept. 10) that the parkway will need work to maintain structural integrity.

“After 60 years, the brick and mortar has become porous,” he said.

A community member at the meeting said that she finds the road frightening to drive on. In terms of repairs to potentially dangerous areas, the superintendent said that data about traffic and other roadway incidents are used to identify which areas of the roadway need immediate attention.

He noted that one of the worst areas in terms of damage is Route 123 near Chain Bridge.

In March, a giant sinkhole opened in the region, causing havoc and closures for those who frequent the roadway. To repair much of the road, crews will need to solidify the ground up to 50 feet under, Cuvelier said.

The next steps are unclear since community leaders rely on grants from the federal government for repairs, Cuvelier said. They will submit the next round of grants in 2020, and if approved, construction will likely begin in 2022 to be completed in 2023, he added.

Until now, the National Park Service and Virginia Department of Transportation have been relying on grants of $30 million or less for small maintenance projects, Cuvelier said. He referred to the funding allowance between federal and state funds as a “regional formula.”

Cuvelier said the National Park Service is working with VDOT and the Federal Highway Administration to find solutions for repairs. When a community member asked if they could see the correspondence, he replied that they have nothing to hide and community members are free to file a Freedom of Information Act request.

Louise Epstein sits on the MCA board as the chair for the budget and taxation committee. She is also the president of her neighborhood homeowners association, which backs up to GW Parkway. 

“The problem is that we are relying, unfortunately, on hope. I’m sort of a cynic and I don’t like to rely on hope,” Epstein said, “Things are falling apart, and we need to figure out what’s going on.”

She added that she doesn’t think federal grant money will be enough to fix the problem, saying that the community needs to begin brainstorming new ways to come up with funding to fix the highway.

“We have to look for other ways to get that money sooner,” Epstein said.  

0 Comments

U.S. Park Police are investigating a crash that killed a 29-year-old Sterling man on the George Washington Memorial Parkway in McLean.

U.S. Park Police responded to the crash on northbound GW Parkway near Turkey Run shortly before 6 a.m. on Sunday (Aug. 11) and found a vehicle against a tree in the center median, Sgt. Eduardo Delgado, a U.S. Park Police spokesperson, said.

Fairfax County Fire and Rescue units extricated the vehicle’s only occupant, Santino Deleone, who was pronounced dead on scene, Delgado said.

The U.S. Park Police Criminal Investigation Division and Traffic Safety Unit is currently investigating the crash, Delgado said.

Anyone with information can contact (202) 610-8737, [email protected] or (202) 610-7500.

0 Comments

Update on 3/24/19 — The sinkhole has been filled and all lanes of the Parkway have reopened, according to the National Park Service.

Earlier: The northbound lanes of the GW Parkway are closed due to a large sinkhole that was discovered overnight.

Heavy rain Thursday may have contributed to the sinkhole’s formation.

It’s reportedly located near the Dead Run Trail, closer to the Parkway’s junction with the Beltway. The road was completely closed between Route 123 and the Beltway for much of the morning. The southbound lanes were reopened Friday afternoon.

Northbound traffic is being diverted onto Route 123, which in turn had morning rush hour traffic backed up at least a mile and a half past Chain Bridge.

No word yet on when the sinkhole might be repaired, though the northbound lanes are expected to remain closed through the weekend. Crews are currently evaluating the extent of the damage, said to be caused by a broken storm water pipe.

More from a National Park Service press release:

Northbound George Washington Memorial Parkway will remain closed through the weekend as road crews and engineers work to fully assess the extent of the sinkhole and repair the road.

Throughout the day, crews have been working to excavate around a damaged stormwater drainage pipe to determine the best way to safely and effectively fill the void and quickly reopen the road.

Preliminary findings indicate that the sinkhole is about 10 feet deep, 12 feet wide and 30 feet long. Once crews complete the extensive excavation work needed to fully access the damaged area, experts will better be able to determine how long it will take to fully repair the pipe and rebuild this section of road before reopening the northbound Parkway to travel.

As a critical link in the region’s transportation network, closing the George Washington Memorial Park is never a decision that is made lightly. The National Park Service is cautiously hopeful that some travel may be permitted by Monday, but drivers should follow local news or visit www.nps.gov/GWMP for the latest information.

Just before 6 a.m. Friday, March 22 a car traveling northbound in the right lane hit the sinkhole adjacent to the road. The driver lost control of their vehicle hitting a stone wall before coming to rest just off the side of the Parkway. When first responders arrived on scene they determined there was an active sinkhole under the road and initiated a closure of the northbound Parkway.

The driver was evaluated by paramedics on scene but declined any further care.

An initial assessment of the road found a large sinkhole deep under the surface of the roadway that extended for an unknown distance. Out of an abundance of caution, National Park Service maintenance crews in consultation with public safety personnel and experts from the Federal Highway Administration, made the hard decision to also close the southbound lanes.

Further assessment revealed damage to a large concrete stormwater drainage pipe that runs deep below the Parkway. Experts from the Federal Highway Administration worked quickly to better assess the potential risk to the southbound lanes, and ultimately determined is did not post an immediate threat. At approximately 11 a.m. the NPS reopened the southbound lanes for travel.

Sinkholes are common occurrences in the Greater Washington area, and are often preceded by high volumes of rain like the region saw on March 21.

More information will be released when it is available.

More via social media:

Map via Google Maps

0 Comments
×

Subscribe to our mailing list