The Washington and Old Dominion Trail will be shifted slightly south where it passes Idylwood Park in Falls Church starting this Thursday (Jan. 14).
The Virginia Department of Transportation says the temporary realignment will allow crews to construct a new, permanent trail that can accommodate new Interstate 66 ramps as part of its Transform 66 Outside the Beltway project.
Construction will also involve the addition of a retaining wall to support the widening of the I-66 West ramp to I-495 South.
Idylwood Park is at the terminus of the Transform 66 project, which is adding 22 miles of express lanes between I-495 in Falls Church and University Boulevard in Gainesville.
VDOT previously planned to close the affected section of the W&OD Trail from July 27 through early December of last year and offer detours to pedestrians and cyclists, but construction was postponed “for additional project coordination.”
The realignment brings the trail closer to I-66 West and will last approximately five months through June 2021.
“All work is weather dependent and will be rescheduled if inclement conditions occur,” VDOT says.
Images via VDOT
Restoring Cedar Lane’s connection between Cottage Street to the north and Route 29 (Lee Highway) to the south, the new bridge is wider and features a sidewalk on its west side. A new shared-use path on the bridge’s east side will eventually link to a 66 Parallel Trail being developed from Dunn Loring to Centreville.
VDOT closed the bridge to both drivers and pedestrians on May 15 so that crews could demolish the existing structure and build the new one.
The bridge reconstruction is part of VDOT’s Transform 66 Outside the Beltway project, which is adding toll lanes along 22 miles of highway between Vienna and Gainesville.
The Cedar Lane Bridge reopening will enable Fairfax Connector to restore service on Routes 462 and 467 between the Dunn Loring-Merrifield Metro station and Tysons Corner to the routes and schedules they had before the bridge closed.
The Fairfax County Department of Transportation announced last week that it will also add Sunday service to Route 467.
Until the service changes take effect on Jan. 4, Fairfax Connector buses will continue following a modified route that utilizes Cottage Street and Gallows Road for those two routes.
Even with the new bridge completed, some construction activities will continue in the Cedar Lane area.
“Drivers, pedestrians, cyclists, and other bridge users should be alert for continued construction activity in the area surrounding the bridge, including completion of nearby sidewalks, noise walls, and the shared-use path along I-66,” VDOT said.
Photo courtesy VDOT
Travel on Interstate 66 will be reduced to one lane in both directions from Cedar Lane in Vienna to Route 7 every night through Saturday (Dec. 19), the Virginia Department of Transportation announced today (Thursday).
VDOT has been closing lanes on the highway between 9:30 p.m. and 5 a.m. since Dec. 14 in order to address overhead utility work for the new Gallows Road Bridge that it has been constructing, but the lane closures were originally expected to end today.
The I-66 lane closures will last from 9:30 p.m. to 9 a.m. on Friday and Saturday, with intermittent full stoppages of up to 20 minutes between midnight and 4 a.m.
The reduction of travel on Gallows Road over I-66 to one lane and the overnight closure of the ramp from the I-495 North Express Lanes to I-66 West have also been extended to Saturday.
According to VDOT, the 495 ramp closure will last from 9 p.m. to 5 a.m. every night. Traffic will be detoured to I-66 via the Route 7 exit during that time.
The Gallows Road lane closure will take place from 10 p.m. to 8 a.m. on Friday and Saturday.
“Drivers should expect delays if traveling in this area and are encouraged to use alternate routes,” VDOT said.
The state transportation agency also noted that work is dependent on the weather and may be rescheduled if inclement conditions occur.
Construction on the new Gallows Road Bridge has been ongoing throughout the year as part of VDOT’s Transform 66 Outside the Beltway project. The bridge is being reconstructed to make room for the new Express Lanes.
VDOT plans to demolish the old Gallows bridge once the new one for northbound Gallows is completed in early 2021, but according to the current project timeline, the full bridge is not expected to be complete until early 2022.
Photo via VDOT
Toll revenues from the Interstate 66 Express Lanes to the tune of $1 million will fund a second entrance to the McLean Metrorail Station.
The plan is to knock down part of a wall in order to add doors and an entrance, Fairfax County Department of Transportation Special Projects Division Chief Martha Coello said.
“It really enhances the ability for people who live or work north of the station to easily access it,” she said. “Hopefully, that gives them greater incentive to use transit, rather than use their own vehicle.”
Fairfax County aims to start work “in the next year or so,” she said.
Using 66 Inside the Beltway toll revenue, the Northern Virginia Transportation Commission awarded money to six “low-cost, low-risk” transit projects as part of its Commuter Choice program for the I-66 corridor, according to an announcement on Thursday (Dec. 10).
“We’re expanding the transportation network now using a conservative strategy focused on low-cost projects and longstanding assets to ensure access to convenient, safe and reliable choices whenever people are ready to commute,” NVTC Executive Director Kate Mattice said in a statement.
Both the scope and timeline of the program are more conservative this year due to a drop in toll revenue caused by the novel coronavirus. Pre-pandemic, Commuter Choice anticipated getting $25 million in grant funding for the 2021-22 fiscal year. Instead, tolled trips dropped by nearly 50%.
The announcement called Fairfax County’s application the strongest out of the six projects, which will receive a total of $3.5 million. Other picks included renewing service for three “existing, high-performing express bus services” and converting parts of one lane of Lee Highway in Arlington into a bus and HOV-only lane.
Staff picked this batch of projects because it “minimizes the risk around the uncertainty of a return to pre-pandemic traffic volumes and makes the best use of the minimal available toll revenues,” NVTC says.
According to Commuter Choice, the program has enough money saved from previous years to continue existing projects and fund new projects.
Coello said the McLean Metro Station project “is a bit unusual” in that it was not formally part of a capital improvements plan, but rather, arose during a rezoning application from Capital One in 2012.
Working with the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority, a team from Capital One designed the entrance, she said. The county received the exact amount it applied for, but Capital One has pledged to contribute to overages.
Coello says Fairfax County has been waiting for the right time to develop the site. Back in 2012, the change was not urgent enough to justify spending the money.
“Having an opportunity like Commuter Choice, this was kind of a golden opportunity,” she said. “It was a case of the right place, right time, right pieces falling in place.”
Since the Commonwealth of Virginia and NVTC established the program in 2017, Commuter Choice has provided more than $60 million grant funding to 36 projects in Northern Virginia.
Staff photo by Jay Westcott
Nighttime travel on Interstate 66 might require some extra planning this week due to lane closures necessitated by construction on a new Gallows Road Bridge.
Starting tonight (Monday), I-66 East will be reduced to one travel lane approaching Gallows Road from 9:30 p.m. to 5 a.m. The Virginia Department of Transportation says that, between midnight and 4 a.m., drivers should expect periodic stoppages that could last up to 20 minutes.
Traffic will be detoured onto I-66 East, which will lead to Route 7. Once on Leesburg Pike, vehicles will stay to the left, turn left at the traffic signal, and then follow road signs to I-66 West.
The I-495 express lanes ramp and one-lane I-66 East closures will take place every night through Dec. 3.
On Dec. 2 and 3, VDOT will also reduce I-66 West to one travel lane approaching Gallows Road from 9:30 p.m. to 5 a.m.
“Drivers should expect delays if traveling in this area and are encouraged to use alternate routes,” VDOT says.
Overnight lane closures have been a recurring sight around Gallows Road since mid-November, when VDOT started reconstructing the bridge over I-66 for its Transform 66 Outside the Beltway project, which will add express lanes along 22.5 miles of road from I-495 in Vienna to Gainesville.
According to VDOT, the bridge is being lengthened, widened, raised, and shifted east to align with the new I-66 Express Lanes while making room for future Gallows Road improvements.
The new bridge will also include a five-foot bike lane in both directions, a seven-foot-wide sidewalk on the northbound side of the road, and improved pedestrian and bicycle facilities tied to the Dunn Loring-Merrifield Metro Station.
The new bridge is being constructed in two phases with an expected completion date of early 2021.
A renovated Vaden Drive Bridge over Interstate 66 in Vienna will be open to vehicle traffic by Wednesday (Nov. 25) after being closed for more than a year for construction.
With the bridge reopening, vehicles on Vaden Drive will no longer have to detour onto Nutley Street, but pedestrians will still have to use the nearby Vienna Metro station’s pedestrian bridge until a planned shared-use path and sidewalk on the bridge is finished in December.
Other ongoing construction activities around the Vaden Drive Bridge involve:
- A redesign of the entrances from Vaden Drive to the Metro parking garages, which is expected to finish in December
- A new sidewalk on the bridge’s east side scheduled to open in summer 2021
- New ramps to and from the future I-66 Express Lanes
The Virginia Department of Transportation warns drivers to use caution as construction activities continue, and people adjust to new travel patterns.
The new Vaden Drive Bridge is part of VDOT’s Transform 66 Outside the Beltway project, which is widening the interstate with 22.5 miles of express lanes from I-495 in Idylwood to University Boulevard in Gainesville.
The part of the project around the Vienna Metro station also involved improvements to the Nutley and Saintsbury Drive intersection and the closure of the Saintsbury ramp to I-66 East.
VDOT says the rebuilt Vaden Drive Bridge “will improve access to the station for vehicles, commuter buses, cyclists, and pedestrians.”
As part of the Transform 66 project, VDOT is also rebuilding the Cedar Lane bridge over I-66 to accommodate the interstate’s expansion. The bridge was closed on May 15 for demolition, and the new one is expected to reopen in mid-December.
Despite — or maybe because of — the coronavirus, the Virginia Department of Transportation is on track to open new express lanes on I-66 in December 2022.
“There have been some project benefits in terms of reduced traffic volumes in the corridor,” VDOT megaprojects director Susan Shaw said during a virtual presentation and Q&A last Thursday (Oct. 29).
Longer-term lane closures were possible this year that would have resulted in gridlock pre-pandemic, she said.
Construction on I-66 continues during daytime and overnight hours, as weather allows. VDOT, I-66 Express Mobility Partners, and FAM Construction — the design-builder for the Transform 66 Outside the Beltway Project — updated commuters and residents through two online meetings last week.
Although the express lanes are predicted to open in December 2022, some construction on the project will continue into 2023.
Many lane closures will extend through end of the year, but in areas where congestion has started to snarl during peak hours, officials are looking to add back some lanes and abate traffic.
And with the pandemic showing no signs of ending, it is “really hard to say how the overall project will be impacted,” Shaw says.
All the late-night construction means there will be noisy nights, but VDOT is working with Fairfax and local supervisors’ offices to communicate construction plans to residents, she said.
“There are some activities that have to be done at night and do have to be noisy,” Shaw said.
The ramp from I-66 East to Route 28 North was closed from 11:30 p.m. on Tuesday to 4 a.m. on Wednesday to allow for a traffic shift onto a temporary left exit ramp from Route 28 North to I-66 East, VDOT said in an email.
Officials expect the temporary ramp to be in use for four weeks, while crews finish constructing a permanent ramp from Route 28 North to I-66 East.
Drivers traveling from Lee Highway South to Route 28 North will not be able to access the temporary ramp. These drivers will need to take detours farther south on Route 29 to the I-66/Route 29 interchange in Centreville until the permanent right-side ramp from Route 28 North to I-66 East is opened.
Tysons area residents and commuters can expect a number of other construction activities to affect travel starting in mid-November, including:
- Closure of the I-66 East and Nutley Street North loop ramp, redirecting travelers exiting I-66 for Nutley onto temporary ramps
- Continued construction of a new Gallows Road bridge over I-66 in Dunn Loring, which is occurring in two phases to maintain traffic flow during construction, according to Smith
- Temporary realignment of the W&OD Trail at Idylwood Park, starting in late November and continuing for four to six months as crews build a new, permanent alignment
A new ramp at the I-495 interchange was completed recently, and deck work for a new bridge is starting soon, FAM Construction spokesperson Nancy Smith said. The I-495 interchange will have eight ramps to connect the express I-66 East/West lanes to I-495 North/South general purpose lanes.
Watch an animated video of changes planned for I-66 here:
Photos via VDOT/Youtube
The Virginia Department of Transportation will provide updates on the construction work that it has been doing on Interstate 66 at two virtual community meetings as October draws to a close.
The first meeting will take place tonight (Wednesday) from 7-8:30 p.m. and will focus on activities between Bull Run and Waples Mill Road, including the Route 28 corridor. A second meeting scheduled for the same time tomorrow (Thursday) will cover activities between Jermantown Road in Fairfax and the Interstate 495 interchange outside of Vienna.
Information for joining the meetings can be found on VDOT’s Transform 66 Outside the Beltway project website at outside.transform66.org/events. Questions can be submitted in writing through the WebEx chat or by calling 703-662-3892.
The Transform 66 project will expand I-66 with new express lanes along a 22.5-mile stretch. VDOT also plans to enhance the corridor outside the Capital Beltway by adding more than 4,000 park-and-ride spaces, 11 miles of new bicycle and pedestrian trails, interchange improvements, and improved bus service and transit routes.
Construction on I-66 outside the Beltway has been ongoing since 2017, commencing shortly after new express lanes opened on I-66 inside the Beltway on Dec. 4 of that year. The outside-the-Beltway portion of the express lanes are not expected to be completed until late 2022.
Photo courtesy Virginia Department of Transportation
Late night drivers around Tysons may experience some detours this weekend and next week if they travel around the interchange connecting I-66 and I-495 near Merrifield.
“Overnight lane closures and traffic stoppages are planned on I-66 West approaching Gallows Road during overnight hours Friday, September 11; Saturday, September 12; and Monday, September 14, through Wednesday, September 16, as bridge beam installation continues for the new Gallows Road Bridge over I-66,” VDOT said in a press release. “Bridge beam lifts over I-66 West will require nightly traffic stoppages of up to 20 minutes on I-66 West. Work is part of the Transform 66 Outside the Beltway Project.”
Gallows Road over I-66 will also be reduced to a single lane in each direction overnight Friday-Tuesday.
The Gallows Road bridge is being lengthened, widened, raised, and shifted to the east to accommodate the new express lanes and provide room for future improvements along Gallows Road, according to VDOT.
“Drivers should expect delays if traveling in this area and are encouraged to use alternate routes,” VDOT said.
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Traffic Alert for Gallows Road Over I-66 — “Installation of bridge beams for the new Gallows Road Bridge over I-66 will require reducing Gallows Road over I-66 to one travel lane in each direction from 11 a.m. Saturday, August 22, through 8 a.m. Monday, August 24.” [Virginia Department of Transportation]
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Photo by Michelle Goldchain