Preparations for the upcoming demolition of the Gallows Road bridge over I-66 in Dunn Loring are about to get underway.
Northbound traffic on Gallows will shift to a new bridge during daytime hours tomorrow (Thursday) with southbound traffic expected to follow suit next week, the Virginia Department of Transportation announced yesterday (Tuesday).
VDOT anticipates starting to demolish the existing bridge around Oct. 23, a process that will take 30 to 40 nights.
Here are more details on the traffic changes from VDOT’s news release:
Pedestrians will continue to use the west side of the current bridge until southbound Gallows Road traffic shifts to the new span. At that time, pedestrian access will be shifted to the east side of the new bridge, with detours using the crosswalks at Cottage Street and Avenir Place/Bellforest Drive.
Following this traffic shift, the current Gallows Road Bridge over I-66 will be demolished to allow for construction of the new southbound bridge span. Demolition of the current bridge is anticipated to begin on or about October 23. Most of the bridge is directly over I-66 or the Dunn Loring Metrorail Station and will need to be demolished during the overnight hours, when multiple lanes can be closed on I-66 and the Metrorail Station and tracks can be closed to safely accommodate this work. Demolition activities will occur during the daytime hours when feasible, to minimize impacts to the nearby communities. Additional information and updates about demolition work and traffic closures will be provided on the project website. All work is weather dependent and schedules may shift if inclement conditions occur.
The replacement of the Gallows Road bridge is part of the Transform 66 Outside the Beltway project, which will extend the I-66 Express Lanes more than 22 miles west from the I-495 interchange in Dunn Loring to Gainesville.
The new bridge will feature improved sightlines, bicycle lanes and wider sidewalks in each direction, and connections to the shared-use path that’s being constructed alongside I-66, according to the project website. It’s being built in two phases, with the southbound side expected to be completed next summer.
The overall Transform 66 project is on track to open the new express lanes in December 2022, VDOT confirmed at a public information meeting last week.
“Drivers should be alert for changing traffic patterns on Gallows Road near I-66 as construction continues through 2022,” VDOT said. “Drivers are reminded to slow down and pay attention to lane markings and roadway signs at all times.”
Photo via Google Maps
Last Day for Voting Registration in Virginia — Today (Tuesday) is the deadline to register to vote in the Nov. 2 general election, which will determine Virginia’s next governor, House of Delegates, and other races. New voters and people who need to update their name or address can register online or by visiting the Fairfax County general registrar’s office. [Office of Elections]
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More Overnight I-66 Closures Starting Today — “All lanes of I-66 West approaching Route 7 (Leesburg Pike) will close nightly October 12-14 for continued bridge beam installation at the I-66/I-495 Interchange. Traffic will be detoured using Route 7 and I-495. The ramp from I-495 North to I-66 West, as well as the 495 Express Lanes North, and multiple lanes of I-495 North approaching I-66 will also be closed so that this work may be implemented.” [VDOT]
Falls Church Warns of School Bus Delays — “Falls Church City Public Schools in Virginia is alerting parents that some school bus routes could be delayed because of double runs starting Tuesday. The problem is driver shortages. The announcement comes as many school districts in the D.C. region are experiencing similar issues.” [WTOP]
35th District Delegate Candidate Forum Tonight — The League of Women Voters of the Fairfax Area is hosting an online candidate forum at 7 p.m. today for Virginia’s 35th House District, which includes the Town of Vienna and part of Tysons. Register in advance to hear the conversation between incumbent Del. Mark Keam (D) and challenger Kevin McGrath (R). [Patch]
A portion of I-495 South, also known as the Capital Beltway Outer Loop, will be fully closed during overnight hours starting tomorrow (Oct. 8) so construction crews can continue installing overhead bridge beams at the I-66 interchange in Dunn Loring.
The closure will extend to the I-66 West ramp to I-495 South, the 495 South Express Lanes, and several 495 Express Lanes ramps.
“Drivers traveling on I-66 and I-495 during this time should expect delays and consider using alternate routes,” the Virginia Department of Transportation said in a news release. “Message boards across the region will direct drivers on I-95 and I-495 to use alternate routes those nights.”
Here are more details on the impending closures from VDOT:
I-495 South approaching I-66
- Two lanes will be closed Friday (Oct. 8) from 10 p.m.-6 a.m., Saturday (Oct. 9) from 10 p.m.-7 a.m., and Sunday (Oct. 10) from 9 p.m.-5:30 a.m.
- All lanes of I-495 South will be closed Friday and Saturday from midnight to 5 a.m., and Sunday from 11:30 p.m. to 4:30 a.m.
Ramp from I-66 West to I-495 South
- The ramp will be closed Friday and Saturday nights from 10 p.m.-5 a.m., and Sunday night from 11:30 p.m.-4:30 a.m.
- 495 Express Lanes and ramps will be closed from 10 p.m.-5 a.m. every night.
Traffic will be detoured onto I-66 West to the Nutley Street exit in Vienna before looping onto I-66 East back toward I-495 South.
VDOT notes that the construction work depends on the weather and could be rescheduled if there are inclement conditions.
This will be the third consecutive weekend of construction-related closures on I-495 after recent lane closures on the Beltway at the Dulles Toll Road interchange in Tysons for joint bridge work there.
This weekend’s beam installation is part of work on a new flyover ramp that will connect I-495 North to I-66 West, one of several changes coming to the interchange courtesy of the Transform 66 Outside the Beltway project to add toll lanes on I-66 from Dunn Loring to Gainesville.
According to VDOT, the reconfigured interchange will provide access to and from the 495 Express Lanes to the new I-66 Express Lanes, enable drivers to switch between express and general-purpose lanes when changing roadways, and replace existing noise walls while adding new ones on I-66 near Idylwood Park.
Work has been ongoing throughout the I-66 corridor since 2018. Just this past weekend, two new ramps from Nutley Street to I-66 West opened to traffic in Vienna. The express lanes are expected to open to traffic in December 2022.
Construction crews will soon demolish the Gallows Road bridge over I-66, a process that is expected take 30 to 40 nights, starting on or about next Wednesday (Oct. 13).
The work will involve breaking up the concrete deck with jack hammers, saw cutters and heavy equipment consisting of hoe rams. It’s part of the Transform 66 Outside the Beltway project, which is adding express lanes on the interstate from I-495 in Dunn Loring to Gainesville.
“These are not necessarily 30 to 40 consecutive nights of demolition, and…some demolition activities are less disruptive than others,” said Nancy Smith, a spokesperson for FAM Construction, the design-builder of the project.
The company said at a public information meeting on Monday (Oct. 4) that the demolition will occur after traffic shifts.
Segments over I-66 will be affected overnight — typically 11 p.m. to 5 a.m. — when multiple lanes of the interstate can be closed, Smith said. For work not over I-66, demolition will take place during the daytime.
Information on lane closures and other travel changes will be posted on the project website, which also has provides information via email notifications and traffic alerts.
The demolition timeline extends into the late fall due to weather and other factors, but no demolition work will occur over the Thanksgiving holiday weekend.
Project officials previously expected the demolition work to start in mid-August. VDOT told Tysons Reporter that the slippage in the schedule is not expected to impact the overall project schedule.
The new I-66 express lanes are still slated to open in December 2022.
The Gallows Road bridge is just feet above the Dunn Loring-Merrifield Metro station, requiring coordinating with the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority.
To minimize impacts, crews will haul concrete away to be processed off site, position work area lighting to face toward the roadway and away from residences, implement “dust control measures,” and monitor construction vibrations and noise, Smith said.
At Monday’s information meeting, however, neighbors compared previous construction to an earthquake and reported that vehicles have been running red lights amid “frustration and confusion” as traffic goes over the bridge.
VDOT megaprojects director Susan Shaw said she would coordinate with their team to notify county police about the safety concerns.
Among the traffic adjustments, FAM Construction reported that:
- Northbound bridge traffic will shift to the new bridge starting next week or around that time
- Southbound bridge traffic will shift into a temporary alignment onto the new bridge on or about the week of Oct. 18
- Pedestrian access will remain on the west side of the old bridge until southbound travel lanes shift on or about the week of Oct. 18. Once those southbound lanes shift to the new bridge, pedestrian routes will be on the east side of the bridge
- The shift in travel lanes on Gallows Road does not affect the entrance at Stenwood Elementary School as the changes are south of the school entrance
Updates will be posted to outside.transform66.org/gallowsroad as demolition progresses.
The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors approved a pair of agreements yesterday (Tuesday) that will send $1 million in I-66 toll revenues to Metro for the planned project to build a second entrance at its McLean station.
“I’m looking forward to this improvement,” Providence District Supervisor Dalia Palchik said just before the unanimous vote. She also thanked county transportation staff for their work.
The funds will be awarded by the Northern Virginia Transportation Commission as part of its I-66 Commuter Choice program, which launched in 2017 to allocate a dedicated portion of I-66 Express Lanes revenue to transit and capital improvement projects in the corridor.
NVTC included the McLean Metrorail station entrance project in the most recent round of Commuter Choice funding, which spanned July 1, 2020 to June 30, 2021 and was approved by the Commonwealth Transportation Board on Dec. 10.
The new entrance will be located on Scotts Crossing Road in anticipation of increased activity north of the station from the burgeoning Capital One Center mixed-use development, according to a project description in yesterday’s board package.
“With up to 2,000 prospective residents moving into the redeveloping area north of the current station, this project will create a shorter, more convenient walk to the Metro and increase its visibility,” the document says.
Ridership at the McLean Metro station had been on the rise prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, which decimated ridership levels and revenue across the board last year to the point where the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority considered shuttering 19 stations, including McLean.
As of August, weekday train ridership was still only at 26% of pre-pandemic levels, though usage of both rail and bus services has been increasing since February. WMATA’s estimate of 230,000 train riders for Oct. 1 was the highest of the year so far.
WMATA will be responsible for constructing the new McLean station entrance, which carries a total budget of $1.3 million. The actual costs could change once the procurement and contractor selection process begins, according to WMATA spokesperson Sherri Ly.
Capital One contributed $300,000 to the project, which was part of a proffer agreement with Fairfax County for its headquarters campus redevelopment. That money includes $100,000 for preliminary engineering and $200,000 for construction costs, according to county documents.
In order for NVTC to transfer the $1 million in Commuter Choice funds, Fairfax County had to sign off on separate project agreements with NVTC and WMATA that set the conditions tied to the money, including requirements that Metro provide regular status updates to the county and notify county staff of any potential cost overruns.
Ly says the agency’s board of directors is scheduled to vote on whether to approve its project agreement with the county when it meets on Oct. 28.
“Under the proposed agreement, Metro would build the entrance which is funded by Fairfax County,” Ly said. “The design work for the entrance is already done and construction would begin once funding and permitting is complete and a contractor selected through the procurement process.”
The effort to widen I-66 outside of the Capital Beltway will take one small step forward this weekend with the opening of two new, permanent ramps at the Nutley Street interchange south of Vienna.
Weather permitting, loop ramps from Nutley Street South to I-66 East and from Nutley Street North to I-66 West are scheduled to respectively open overnight on Friday (Oct. 1) and in the early morning on Monday (Oct. 4), the Virginia Department of Transportation announced today (Wednesday).
Under construction throughout the summer, the new ramps will end the use of a temporary traffic signal that directed Nutley Street drivers to turn left in order to get onto I-66.
With the I-66 West loop ramp opening by 5 a.m. on Monday, the existing left-turn ramp will permanently close around 8 p.m. on Friday so construction crews can conduct paving work, according to VDOT.
Traffic will be directed north to the Virginia Center Boulevard intersection, where drivers must make a U-turn from the turn lane farthest to the left, stay to the right, and follow signs to I-66 West.
In addition to opening the ramps, VDOT will move travelers in Nutley’s northbound lanes to the west side of the bridge over I-66, which will have two travel lanes in each direction. The change is expected to remain in place through January.
Pedestrians on the west side of Nutley Street will still have access over I-66 between the Virginia Center Boulevard/Marshall Road and Saintsbury Drive/Swanee Lane intersections after the traffic shift takes effect overnight on Friday.
“This temporary traffic pattern will allow construction of the new Nutley Street Interchange to advance while keeping Nutley Street open to vehicles and pedestrians,” VDOT says.
A temporary ramp from I-66 West onto Nutley that opened in February will also stay in place to accommodate ongoing work on the new interchange, which is part of VDOT’s multibillion-dollar Transform 66 project to extend the I-66 Express Lanes from I-495 in Dunn Loring to Gainesville.
“When construction is complete, the rebuilt interchange will feature two roundabouts, which will provide safer, more efficient travel for vehicles entering and exiting I-66, and improve safety for vehicles and pedestrians traveling on Nutley Street,” VDOT says.
The new toll lanes are scheduled to open in December 2022.
Virginia State Police are still investigating the three-vehicle crash that closed I-66 East in the Merrifield area for hours on Thursday (Sept. 9).
The crash killed three people who have now been identified as 28-year-old Lacquora Smith from Alfred, Maine, and her 4-year-old and 6-year-old daughters, state police reported in an update this morning (Monday).
According to police, Smith was driving a 2012 Honda Crosstour east on I-66 when the vehicle lost control near the 64-mile marker at I-495, striking a 2015 Toyota RAV SUV and veering off into a guardrail along the right side of the interstate.
After hitting the guardrail, the Honda swerved back into the eastbound lanes of I-66, struck the Toyota a second time, and continued toward the left side of the interstate.
“The Honda continued off the left side of the interstate and struck the guardrail, after which it spun back into the eastbound lanes of I-66,” the VSP said. “An eastbound tractor-trailer swerved to the right to avoid the spinning Honda, but the two vehicles collided.”
Police responded to the scene around 3:06 a.m.
There were five people in Smith’s Honda at the time of the crash. The two surviving passengers — a 7-year-old girl and a 2-year-old juvenile — were transported to Fairfax Inova Hospital to receive treatment for non-life-threatening injuries.
VSP spokesperson Corinne Geller confirmed that three of the juveniles in the car were Smith’s children, while the fourth was a family member. It was not immediately clear whether the two surviving children have been released from Inova Hospital as of this afternoon.
As previously reported, the adult male driver of the tractor-trailer involved in the crash was not injured, and the Toyota driver, also an adult man, was transported to a nearby hospital for treatment of non-life-threatening injuries.
A GoFundMe organized by Catherine Donnell, who identifies herself as Smith’s aunt, has been set up to help the family cover funeral costs and other expenses. The woman says Smith was driving home to New Hampshire after visiting her in Tennessee when the crash occurred.
The fundraiser has drawn more than $16,700 as of 3:15 p.m.
(Updated at 1:05 p.m.) Three people died in a multi-vehicle crash that closed off eastbound I-66 in Merrifield throughout this morning (Thursday).
All lanes on I-66 have now reopened, the Virginia Department of Transportation reported at 12:16 p.m.
According to the Virginia State Police, a tractor-trailer and two passenger vehicles collided on I-66 just before the I-495 interchange around 3:06 a.m. Police have confirmed three fatalities: an adult female driver and two children.
Police have determined that a Honda SUV traveling east on I-66 lost control near the 64-mile marker at the Capital Beltway, the VSP said in a report:
The Honda struck a Toyota SUV and then continued off the right side of the interstate. When the Honda struck the guardrail, it then re-entered the eastbound lanes of I-66 and struck the Toyota SUV a second time. The Honda continued off the left side of the interstate and struck the guardrail, after which it spun back into the eastbound lanes of I-66. An eastbound tractor-trailer swerved to the right to avoid the spinning Honda, but the two vehicles collided.
The three people who died at the scene were all in the Honda SUV.
“State police is still in the process of confirming their identities and notifying next of kin,” the VSP said.
Two other juveniles are getting treatment at Fairfax Inova Hospital for non-life threatening injuries. The adult male driver of the Toyota SUV was also transported to a nearby hospital for treatment of injuries that police say were not life-threatening.
The tractor-trailer driver, identified as an adult man, was not injured in the crash.
The crash investigation closed all eastbound I-66 lanes at 64.7 mile marker near the Capital Beltway, resulting in traffic backups that, at one point, stretched back to Fairfax County Parkway at Fair Lakes.
Drivers were detoured onto Nutley Street in Vienna, as VDOT warned motorists to expect delays. The investigation into the crash is still ongoing.
UPDATE: Tractor Trailer Crash w/ Injuries. I-66 EB before I-495 (Ex 64/Capital Beltway). Fairfax County, VA. All travel lanes are blocked. Traffic is being detoured on to VA-243 (Ex 62/Nutley St). Expect heavy delays on US-29 and US-50 in the vicinity.
— MATOC Alerts (@MATOC) September 9, 2021
Update: All traffic is being diverted off at Nutley. Traffic stopped in the queue between Nutley and the crash is being flushed through the left lane. Pls avoid 66. https://t.co/EXzxel9ajw
— VDOT Northern VA (@VaDOTNOVA) September 9, 2021
I-66 West Lane Closures Start Tonight — I-66 West in the Vienna area will be reduced to a single travel lane around 10 p.m. today (Friday) and tomorrow with one lane remaining closed during the day on Saturday. The closures are needed to shift the westbound travel lanes between Gallows Road and Nutley Street to new pavement as part of the Transform 66 Outside the Beltway project. [VDOT]
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I-66 Widening Work Still on Schedule — Work on the Transform 66 Outside the Beltway project remains on schedule for the extended toll lanes to open in December 2022, the Virginia Department of Transportation says. Nearly 2,000 workers are currently involved in the project with bridges and ramps at the I-66/I-495 interchange among the most noticeable construction. [Inside NoVA]
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