Tysons, VA

Updated at 7:20 p.m. on 4/1/2021 — The Dulles Corridor Metrorail Project has postponed the single-lane closure on Old Meadow Road near Route 123 that was scheduled to take place tomorrow “until further notice.”

Earlier: The left lane of Old Meadow Road leading up to Route 123 in Tysons will be closed during much of the day on Saturday (April 3), the Dulles Corridor Metrorail Project announced earlier this week.

Prompted by the need for “minor asphalt repairs,” the closure will encompass one block near the intersection with Old Chain Bridge Road. It will take effect at 9 a.m. with all lanes scheduled to reopen by 4 p.m.

The Dulles Corridor Metrorail Project says that, with the assistance of flaggers, traffic will be maintained in both directions, and drivers will be able to turn onto Old Meadow Road and Route 123. The parking lots at 1690 Old Meadow Road and the CityLine property will still be accessible.

“Performing this work on the weekend will minimize impacts, avoid interference with other projects along Old Meadow Road and maximize the safety motorists and pedestrians,” the Dulles Corridor Metrorail Project said.

The asphalt repairs are connected to efforts to realign Old Meadow Road with Capital One Tower Drive along Route 123, work that has now been going on for a year. The Dulles Corridor Metrorail Project previously predicted that construction would be completed by the end of 2020, but this would not be the first time that the project has taken longer than expected.

The Dulles Corridor Metrorail Project is overseeing the development of Metro’s Silver Line. It is a partnership between the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA), Fairfax County, Loudoun County, Town of Herndon, and the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority (MWAA).

The Silver Line’s first phase opened in 2014, while the second phase, which will extend the transit system into Loudoun County, is still inching toward completion.

Image via Google Maps

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Commuters in Merrifield and Vienna should probably avoid traveling on Interstate 66 Friday night (March 19), as multiple lane closures and traffic stoppages are scheduled to accommodate ongoing construction work.

Eastbound I-66 will be reduced to a single travel lane at Gallows Road in Merrifield from 9 p.m. to 6 a.m. so that crews can pour concrete for a new Gallows Road Bridge deck.

The Virginia Department of Transportation says that periodic stoppages of up to 20 minutes could occur between midnight and 4 a.m., but all lanes will reopen by 9 a.m. on Saturday.

There will also be lane closures on Gallows Road, which will be reduced to two travel lanes — one in each direction — from 9 p.m. Friday to 7 a.m. Saturday. Two-way traffic will be directed to the southbound side of Gallows during the closure.

“Drivers should expect delays if traveling in this area and are encouraged to use alternate routes,” VDOT says.

In addition, I-66 East and West will be reduced to one travel lane between Gallows and Nutley Street from 9 p.m. Friday to 5 a.m. Saturday, when all lanes will reopen. There will be periodic traffic stoppages of up to 20 minutes between midnight and 4 a.m.

According to VDOT, this lane closure is necessary for crews to remove an overhead utility line at Cedar Lane, which will have flaggers to direct traffic into a single lane between midnight and 4 a.m.

At both Gallows Road and Cedar Lane, the construction work is part of the Transform 66 Outside the Beltway project, which will extend the I-66 express lanes 22.5 miles from the I-495 interchange in Dunn Loring to Gainesville.

VDOT notes that “all work is weather dependent and will be rescheduled if inclement conditions occur.”

Maps via Google Maps, VDOT

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Nosie Barrier being installed along Route 7, between Reston Avenue and Utterback Store Road (Photo courtesy of VDOT)

A major project to widen nearly seven miles of Route 7 between Reston Avenue and Jarrett Valley Drive remains on track for completion by July 31, 2024.

It is also expected to be completed within its $314 million budget, Virginia Department of Transportation spokesperson Jennifer McCord confirms.

The improvements include widening the heavily-trafficked road — also known as Leesburg Pike — from four to six lanes between Reston and Tysons, adding shared-use paths for pedestrians and bikers, and making major design changes to intersections.

It’s all being done within the guidelines of the Fairfax County Comprehensive Plan.

Discussions about the project began nearly a decade ago, and the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors approved it in 2017. Workers broke ground on construction in June 2019. It’s expected to take just over five years to complete.

Over the last two months, construction has continued at different sections of the road.

While much of the construction activity currently underway is focused in the Reston and Great Falls sections of the project, crews in the Tysons segment between Faulkner Drive and Jarrett Valley Drive have been working to relocate a water main between Beulah Road and Towlston Road.

Eastbound traffic on Route 7 between Lewinsville Road and Jarrett Valley Drive in McLean has been shifted north to accommodate construction.

Landscaping work and third-party utility relocations are underway throughout the roadway.

Periodic traffic changes and lane closures are expected to occur throughout the corridor as construction continues.

While COVID-19 has limited crews’ ability to work side-by-side, the decreased traffic volume — particularly in the earlier part of the pandemic — has allowed VDOT to extend work hours.

Photo courtesy VDOT

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A new pedestrian bridge and shared-use trail linking Tysons Corner Center to the McLean Metro station is on track to start construction this summer, the Virginia Department of Transportation says.

The project will introduce a bridge for pedestrians and cyclists over the Capital Beltway, along with a 4,662-foot-long, 10-foot-wide path between I-495 and Route 123 along the west side of Old Meadow Road.

“I think this is going to be a good thing for Tysons,” VDOT Senior Project Manager Abraham Lerner said. “It will continue to go along with the goals of the Board of Supervisors and Fairfax County staff to implement multimodal measures and to try to reduce the dependence on the private automobile.”

This pedestrian and bicycle improvement at the I-495/123 interchange has been in the works for years as part of a commitment that VDOT and Fairfax County made when the Beltway was widened to accommodate toll lanes.

The I-495 Express Lanes project, which was completed in November 2012, called for the addition of pedestrian and bicycle connections throughout the Beltway corridor from Braddock Road in Annandale to Lewinsville Road in McLean.

However, a crossing at the 123 interchange could not be built at the time because of “a number of physical and geometric reasons,” Lerner says. So, Fairfax County and the state committed to constructing one in the future.

About five years ago, VDOT and the county proposed building a trail along Route 123, but the idea drew public criticism given the safety risks of having crosswalks across multiple Beltway ramps, according to Chris Wells, who manages the Fairfax County Department of Transportation’s Active Transportation Program.

Transportation officials then looked at options for building an overhead bridge across I-495 near 123, rather than immediately at the interchange. Old Meadow Road emerged as the most feasible site.

“Because of the design of the Beltway itself and the express lanes, there was only this one location that we found where we could put a bridge pier in the middle of the Beltway,” Wells said. “Otherwise, we were going to have to span the entire Beltway with a larger bridge structure, which would’ve been much more expensive.”

VDOT held a public hearing on the project in June 2018, and the design was approved in November of that year. But Lerner says the right-of-way acquisition process took over nine months to complete, since the project needed land from six different properties.

The Dolley Madison Apartments and Encore Condominiums were affected the most, with residents citing concerns about the loss of trees, the potential impact on security and privacy, and the safety of a path with no separation between cyclists and pedestrians.

“Because of all the concerns, the issues that were raised during the public hearing process, we needed to work with [residents] to make sure we did the right-of-way acquisition in a very thorough manner,” Lerner said.

The public comment process also led VDOT to incorporate lighting in its design for the planned bridge over I-495.

While VDOT has not identified a contractor yet, construction is expected to cost $8.5 million. The project’s total $13.4 million cost has been fully financed with funds from federal, state, and local sources.

Because the path is off-road, Lerner says the only significant traffic impacts will come when crews work on the bridge over the Beltway. Construction is expected to take a year, concluding in the summer of 2022.

Providence District Supervisor Dalia Palchik said in a statement that she is “delighted” that work on the shared-use path and pedestrian bridge will start this summer.

“This bridge will encourage walking and biking, save time, and reduce automobile traffic and carbon emissions,” Palchik said. “Residents won’t have to jump in their cars to drive and park at the mall, and I’m pleased that VDOT will be installing a lighted bridge. We are grateful to the Old Meadow Road neighborhood who worked with the engineering teams to transition the property and make this bridge happen.”

Image via VDOT

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Several local chambers of commerce have come out in favor of the Virginia Department of Transportation’s much-debated 495 NEXT project, which will extend the I-495 Express Lanes approximately three miles from the Dulles Toll Road interchange to the American Legion Bridge.

The Northern Virginia Chamber of Commerce announced its endorsement of the project yesterday (Monday). It was joined by the Tysons Regional Chamber of Commerce and the Greater McLean Chamber of Commerce, as well as chambers representing Reston, Springfield, Mount Vernon, the City of Alexandria, Arlington County, and Prince William County.

The organizations, which represent businesses that collectively employ about 600,000 people across Northern Virginia, say expanding the 495 Express Lanes will help reduce one of the region’s biggest chokepoints and generally improve local travel conditions, particularly in the Tysons area and in between Virginia and Maryland.

“The I-495 expansion will bring a much-needed economic boost to the area and provide long-term economic benefits,” Northern Virginia Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Julie Coons said. “It will also add new transit choices that will help attract more businesses and help existing businesses flourish.”

According to the NOVA Chamber of Commerce, the 495 NEXT project is expected to create an estimated 6,300 new jobs and generate $880 million in economic activity during its development and construction.

VDOT is currently waiting for the Federal Highway Administration to issue a decision on the project based on an environmental assessment that was released last February. If the assessment is approved, the state agency expects to issue a contract, finalize the design, and start construction later this year.

The 495 NEXT project is being developed in parallel with a Virginia Department of Rail and Public Transportation study of transit options for the I-495 and American Legion Bridge corridor. State officials have proposed expanding bus service between Northern Virginia, particularly Tysons, and Maryland, though a final report is not expected to come out until March.

“The expanded transit service will help Tysons reach its long-term goals to reduce congestion and increase accessibility for Tyson’s residents, businesses, employees, and consumers, improving our quality of life and economic outlook,” Tysons Regional Chamber of Commerce President and Chairman Andrew Clark said.

VDOT says that the 495 NEXT project will enable 2,500 more people per hour to move through the corridor starting in 2025.

However, it would be able to move even more people if Maryland finishes its plans to introduce toll lanes on the American Legion Bridge, leading some to question why the timelines for the two projects are not aligned. The environmental assessment for Maryland’s managed toll lanes study is not scheduled to be completed until this fall.

Community members and public officials have also raised concerns about the project’s potential impact on surrounding neighborhoods and the environment, especially when it comes to water quality.

The chambers of commerce that have backed 495 NEXT say it is necessary to “set the stage” for improvements to the American Legion Bridge, which currently sees over 230,000 trips per day.

“For years, neighborhoods in McLean have been inundated by cut-through regional commuters seeking to avoid the endemic Beltway backups approaching the American Legion Bridge,” Greater McLean Chamber of Commerce President Paul Kohlenberger said. “495 NEXT will alleviate this cut-through traffic, increase travel time reliability, and offer additional travel choices to the residents, customers and workers of the Greater McLean area.”

Photo via Google Maps

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Friday Morning Notes

Contract Awarded for Madison High School Addition — The Fairfax County School Board approved a $13.3 million contract to Meridian Construction Co. as part of its consent agenda last night (Thursday). The addition project will give James Madison High School in Vienna about 32,000 square feet of new space, and construction is expected to start this spring. [FCPS]

Northam Calls General Assembly Special Session — The special session will begin on Feb. 10 to “align the legislative calendar with the customary 46-day length for odd-numbered years. This special session will coincide with the conclusion of the current 30-day session that began on January 13, and will ensure the legislature can complete its work on the state budget and pandemic relief.” [Virginia Governor’s Office]

Temporary Nutley/I-66 Ramp to Open on Sunday — A new, temporary ramp for drivers exiting I-66 West to Nutley Street North and South is scheduled to open in Vienna on Feb. 7. The traffic pattern change was originally expected to take place last week, but it was delayed by the snow. [VDOT]

Movie Theater Still Promised at Founders Row — Developer Mill Creek told the Falls Church Economic Development Authority earlier this week that it remains committed to finding a movie theater for the mixed-use project. Parts of the project could open in September with hopes that a theater will be in place between December 2021 and May 2022. [Falls Church News-Press]

Judge Faults Fairfax County Prosecutors for Failing to Notify Victim of New Trial — A circuit court judge determined that the Office of the Commonwealth’s Attorney failed its legal obligation to inform a man who was allegedly threatened with a gun in a confrontation at a Springfield Chick-fil-A in August that he had an appeals hearing. County prosecutors had declined to participate in the case, as the office has shifted its focus to felonies and more serious misdemeanors. [The Washington Post]

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Updated at 5:05 p.m. on 1/29/2021 — The opening of a temporary ramp from I-66 West to Nutley Street has been postponed to next weekend due to anticipated inclement weather, the Virginia Department of Transportation announced today.

Earlier — Drivers exiting onto Nutley Street in Vienna from Interstate 66 West will be directed to a new, temporary ramp starting Sunday (Jan. 31).

Here are the details from VDOT on the new traffic pattern, which is expected to stay in place for approximately 18 months:

New Ramps for I-66 West to Nutley Street North and South

  • The current ramp from I-66 West to northbound Nutley Street will close.
  • Drivers will access northbound Nutley Street using a new ramp to Nutley Street North and South located slightly west of the current exit, then stay to the right to northbound Nutley Street.
  • Drivers will access southbound Nutley Street using the new ramp from I-66 West, stay to the left, then turn left at a temporary traffic signal to southbound Nutley Street.

A temporary traffic signal will be installed while the temporary ramp is in place so that drivers headed south on Nutley can turn left.

To complete paving work for the change, the Virginia Department of Transportation will close the existing ramp from I-66 West to Nutley Street North from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Jan. 30 and 31.

During that time, drivers looking to get off of I-66 West will be detoured to the exit for the Vienna Metro station. They will then have to stay right on Country Creek Road and Virginia Center Boulevard to reach Nutley.

According to VDOT, the new, temporary I-66 West exit ramp is needed to accommodate construction on a new Nutley Street interchange as part of its Transform 66 Outside the Beltway project.

When construction is finished, the new Nutley interchange will have two roundabouts, which VDOT says “will provide safer, more efficient travel for vehicles entering and exiting I-66 and improve safety for vehicles and pedestrians traveling on Nutley Street.”

The department also notes that all work is weather dependent and will be rescheduled if there are inclement conditions.

“Drivers should always use caution and pay attention to lane markings and roadway signs in construction work zones,” VDOT says in its news release.

Images via Google Maps, VDOT

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Monday Morning Notes

Home Depot Buys Tysons Property But Plans Are Unclear — “The Atlanta-based home improvement giant paid $35.9 million for 2000 Chain Bridge Road, a 7.08-acre site at the intersection of Chain Bridge Road and Leesburg Pike, according to public records.” [Washington Business Journal]

Bridge Work Reduces I-66 Approaching Cedar Lane to One Travel Lane — “Overnight lane closures and traffic stoppages are planned on I-66 East and West in Vienna area Monday, January 25, through Friday, January 29, for overhead bridge work at Cedar Lane. This work is part of the Transform 66 Outside the Beltway Project.” [VDOT]

Vienna Storage Room Fire Still Under Investigation — The cause of a storage room fire that occured on Dec. 19 at the 9300 block of Lee Highway remains under investigation. Fire investigators are seeking the public’s assistance in identifying three persons of interest and getting information about vehicles that may have been damaged at the time. [Sun Gazette/Inside NoVA]

Walmart Partners with Tysons Startup on Home Deliveries — Walmart announced on Jan. 12 that it will partner with the Tysons-based startup HomeValet on a pilot project to test temperature-controlled smart boxes that could allow groceries to “be delivered, contact-free, to the secure box and kept cold at any time — even if the customer isn’t at home.” [TechCrunch]

Tysons Tops D.C. Suburbs in Number of New Apartments — “According to RENTCafé, 2,562 new units have been completed in Tysons in the past five years, putting the locale tenth nationwide for the most suburban apartment construction.” [DC UrbanTurf]

Major Falls Church Developments Seek Changes — The City of Falls Church is considering proposed revisions to its agreements with developers on the Gateway, Founders Row, and Broad and Washington projects. The city council will vote on the latter two tonight (Monday). [Falls Church News-Press]

Staff Photo by Jay Westcott

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Fairfax Connector has suspended service to bus stop 2605 on Leesburg Pike and Laurel Hill Road until December to accommodate construction on Route 7.

The temporary bus stop closure took immediate effect around noon today, and it is expected to last until approximately the end of 2021, the Fairfax County transit system says.

According to Fairfax Connector, the suspension of service was necessitated by a traffic switch that began this week on Leesburg Pike between Lewinsville Road and Jarrett Valley Drive in the McLean area.

The Virginia Department of Transportation initiated a lane shift and closed direct access to Route 7 from Laurel Hill and Old Ash Grove as part of its Route 7 corridor improvement project, which is widening the highway between Tysons and Reston. The traffic changes will be in effect until late 2021.

Fairfax Connector advises passengers to use stop 2673 as an alternative to the closed stop. Stop 2673 is located near the intersection of Leesburg Pike and Lewinsville Road across from the McLean Bible Church.

Photo via Google Maps

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Drivers on eastbound Route 7 in the McLean area should prepare for a lane shift and other traffic changes starting on Tuesday (Jan. 19), the Virginia Department of Transportation announced yesterday (Wednesday).

The eastbound lane on Leesburg Pike between Lewinsville Road and Jarrett Valley Drive will be shifted north toward the median, and direct access between Route 7 and two side streets — Laurel Hill Road and Old Ash Grove — will be temporarily closed.

Until late 2021, drivers to and from Laurel Hill Road, Old Ash Grove, and Glenridge Court will instead need to use the service road between Old Ash Grove and McLean Bible Church (8925 Leesburg Pike) to get to and from Route 7.

The intersection of Laurel Hill Road and the service road will be converted into a three-way stop intersection for the duration of the closure.

“All residences, businesses and other public facilities will remain accessible,” VDOT said.

The lane shift and side street access cut-offs are necessitated by VDOT’s Route 7 corridor improvement project, which is widening the highway from four to six lanes, adding shared-use paths, and making intersection improvements on the seven-mile stretch of road between Reston Avenue and Jarrett Valley Drive.

The changes will “increase capacity, improve safety and traffic flow, and enhance mobility for cyclists and pedestrians,” according to the project website.

The project carries a total estimated cost of $313.9 million, and construction is not expected to be finished until July 31, 2024.

While construction is ongoing, the speed limit on Route 7 has been reduced to 45 miles per hour in active work zones between Reston Avenue and Jarrett Valley Drive.

“Please use caution and be alert to work zone signs, potential flagger or police direction, and watch for traffic shifts,” VDOT says. “Slow-moving vehicles and equipment may be entering or exiting the road.”

Images via Google Maps, VDOT

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