Tysons, VA

Work on a new ramp linking eastbound I-66 to the West Falls Church Metro station is expected to start today (Monday).

The Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) said in a press release that the work, which is a part of the I-66 Eastbound Widening Project, will connect two existing ramps.

“This direct access will save time for motorists on I-66 East who are headed to the West Falls Church Metrorail station and reduce traffic on Route 7,” Mark Gibney, VDOT’s design-build project manager, said in the press release.

More from VDOT:

When the project is complete, drivers will exit I-66 East for Route 7, stay left to connect to the ramp from Route 7 East to I-66 East, then stay right to reach Falls Church Drive and the West Falls Church Metrorail station.

All improvements will be performed within existing VDOT right-of-way.

Construction activities will begin with shoulder strengthening on the left side of I-66 East approaching the Route 7 interchange and along the left side of the Route 7 East ramp to I-66 East so traffic can be shifted to the left.

The two existing ramps will remain open during construction, although traffic shifts and occasional overnight traffic stoppages will be required. Construction will occur during daytime and nighttime hours.

VDOT expects the new ramp to open later this year.

Map via Google Maps 

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Commuters can expect delays today at the I-495 and I-66 interchange following a tractor-trailer crash early this morning.

The tractor-trailer overturned on I-66, spilling metal debris onto the ramp from northbound I-495 to I-66, according to the Virginia Department of Transportation. The debris punctured another truck, causing a hazmat situation and closures around 4 a.m., VDOT said.

While the ramp from northbound I-495 to I-66 has reopened, VDOT said that commuters this morning will be impacted.

As of 9:10 a.m., drivers can expect delays eastbound on I-66 and two-mile-long backups near I-495, according to VDOT.

“The ramp from I-66 East to I-495 North is partially blocked,” VDOT said. “The ramp from I-495 North to I-66 West is partially blocked.”

Meanwhile, drivers heading north on I-495 can expect traffic congestion and backups stretching about two miles.

Map via Google Maps

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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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The new trails underway along I-66 now have a name: the “66 Parallel Trail.”

The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors approved the name on Tuesday (Nov. 20) for the trails that will be added by the county and the Transform 66 Express Lanes Project.

In addition to the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) creating 22.5 miles of express lanes from I-495 to Prince William County, people can expect 11 miles of new pedestrian and bike trails in Fairfax County.

“Trail segments that cannot be accommodated within the highway right-of-way are to be funded by Fairfax County and constructed as part of VDOT’s locally administered projects,” according to county documents.

The county’s Department of Transportation (FCDOT) gathered name suggestions and held two public meetings in the spring. After 1,124 respondents took an online survey with name options, FCDOT staff recommended the “66 Parallel Trail” to the county board.

The names in the survey included:

  • Sixty-Six or 66 Parallel
  • Sixty-Six or 66 Ramble
  • Capital Gateway
  • Dogwood Trail
  • East-West Gateway
  • Heart of Fairfax Trail
  • Kaleidoscope Trail
  • Mid-County Trail

Braddock District Supervisor John Cook jokingly said that he wanted the name to be the “Smyth, Cook, Herrity and Smith Trail” — after the last names of the supervisors whose districts are affected by the name change.

Chairman Sharon Bulova said that “66 Ramble” was her favorite.

Images via VDOT

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Drivers have one week left to use the Vaden Drive Bridge over I-66 before it closes and gets replaced by a new bridge.

The bridge, which is near the Vienna/Fairfax-GMU Metro station, will be closed for about 10 months starting at 9:30 p.m. on Oct. 18.

The closure is apart of the Virginia Department of Transportation’s multi-year Transform 66 project.

“The previously announced bridge closure is expected to cut in half — from 24 months to 12 months — the time needed to demolish the existing bridge and construct a new one,” according to an update yesterday from VDOT. “This shortened schedule will help reduce construction impacts on adjacent communities and roadway users.”

A new bridge is getting built to accommodate more cars and the I-66 widening. People can keep a lookout for the construction to start on the new bridge in November, with an anticipated opening next September.

While the bridge is closed, drivers will be detoured to Nutley Street to get to I-66. Pedestrians will be detoured to the pedestrian bridge at the Metro station.

Demolition of the bridge is expected to be finished by early December, according to VDOT.

Crews will also work on the intersection of Saintsbury Drive and Nutley Street while the detour is in place.

The parking garages at the Metro station will remain open.

Image via Google Maps

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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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The unofficial end of summer is approaching with Labor Day coming up this weekend.

Drivers can expect moderate to heavy congestion between noon-6 p.m. on Friday, Aug. 30, and Monday, Sept. 2, according to the Virginia Department of Transportation.

On Monday, HOV restrictions will be lifted on I-66 and I-395 and rush hour tolls on the 66 Express Lanes Inside the Beltway.

“With nearly 100 million Americans embarking on getaways with family this summer, and with 33% of Americans indicating they would go on at least one additional road trip, if gas prices remained low, which is occurring, odds are millions are packing up their cars for their final summertime excursion this Labor Day,” according to AAA Mid-Atlantic.

Meanwhile, the Transportation Security Administration expects 263 million passengers and crew to pass through security checkpoints nationwide from Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day weekend.

Whether you’re hopping on a plane, speeding away in a train, hitting the roads or staying local, Tysons Reporter wants to know your Labor Day weekend travel plans.

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A GoFundMe campaign is raising funds to help a family with funeral and hospital costs after a McLean man was killed in a multi-vehicle crash on I-66 that also seriously injured his wife.

On Saturday (Aug. 24) morning, 28-year-old Joseph Castellano was driving a Toyota Rav4 on westbound I-66 near Centreville when a tractor-trailer collided with him and several other vehicles.

“The Toyota Rav4 ran off the right side of I-66 and over the Jersey wall, at which point it caught fire,” Corinne Geller, a spokesperson for the Virginia State Police, said.

His wife, Kate, was a passenger in the car. She was flown to a trauma center in D.C. and is still being treated for life-threatening injuries, Geller said.

A BMW sedan had struck the tractor-trailer, starting the series of chain-reaction crashes that involved eight cars, Geller said.

Police arrested and charged the driver of the BMW, 40-year-old Jonathyn Bland of Centerville, and the driver of the tractor-trailer, 34-year-old Shahbaz Singh of Fairfax, with reckless driving.

More from the GoFundMe page:

On Saturday August 24th we lost an amazing friend, brother, son, and husband to a terrible car accident. Joe Castellano died on impact.

Amazingly his wife Kate Castellano managed to escape the car and survive the crash. She was flown to a D.C. hospital with life threatening injuries.

I am setting up this Go Fund Me page to help the Family (families) with funeral, memorial, and hospital costs.

Joe and Kate touched the lives of many of us during our tenure at Mount Saint Mary’s University. They were kind to everyone, loved greatly, and did so much for everyone.

They were good Catholics and their faith and love for one another and to God could be felt by everyone around them.

If you could donate even a share to help, I would truly appreciate the kindness.

edit: I am a friend of both Joe and Kate. Joe was a classmate and friend and Kate became my friend and roommate during college.

The beneficiary of this fundraiser is Tony Castellano, Joe’s father.

Two days after the campaign started, more than 400 people have donated $26,728.

Megan Whelan, the GoFundMe page’s organizer, wrote on Monday (Aug. 26) that she raised the original goal of $10,000 to $30,000 after a flood of donations.

“I wanted to thank everyone for the overwhelming response,” Whelan wrote. “It is a true testament to Joe and Kate’s impact on our lives and of course their families impact as well. Your kindness and thoughtful words are deeply appreciated.”

Photo via GoFundMe

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A 28-year-old McLean man was killed in a crash involving multiple vehicles along I-66 near Centreville.

A series of chain-reaction crashes involving five sedans, one SUV, one pick-up truck and a tractor-trailer happened shortly before 11 a.m. on Saturday (Aug. 24) in the westbound lanes of I-66 east of exit 53 for Route 28, according to Virginia State Police.

More from Corinne Geller, a spokesperson for the Virginia State Police:

A 2007 BMW sedan was traveling west on I-66 when it struck the vehicle in front of it. The BMW then collided with a westbound tractor-trailer.

The tractor-trailer then collided with several vehicles, to include a Toyota Rav4, before overturning in the roadway. The Toyota Rav4 ran off the right side of I-66 and over the Jersey wall, at which point it caught fire.

McLean resident Joseph Castellano, who was the driver of the Toyota, died at the scene, Geller said.

His wife, who was a passenger in the car, was flown to a trauma center in D.C. and is still being treated for life-threatening injuries.

The driver of the BMW, 40-year-old Jonathyn Bland of Centerville, was transported to Reston Hospital for minor injuries, along with the driver of the tractor-trailer, 34-year-old Shahbaz Singh of Fairfax, for serious, but non-life threatening injuries, Geller said.

Police charged both Bland and Singh with reckless driving.

“The three other individuals transported to Reston Hospital — one had serious, but non-life threatening injuries and other two suffered minor injuries,” Geller said.

Fairfax County Fire and Fairfax County Police assisted state police at the scene, Geller said. The Virginia State Police is investigating the crash.

Photo via VDOT/Twitter

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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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