FCPS Schedules Virtual Town Halls on Masks — Fairfax County Public Schools Superintendent Scott Brabrand reaffirmed the system’s plans to continue requiring face masks in a message to the community on Friday (Jan. 21). FCPS will hold a virtual town hall on the subject in English at 7 p.m. today (Monday), followed by a Spanish town hall tomorrow. Both events will stream live on Facebook. [FCPS]
Abduction Reported in Merrifield — “2900 block of Caribbean Court, 1/18/22, 7:51 p.m. A man approached the victim, displayed a firearm, and demanded to be driven to a residence in D.C. After dropping the man off, the victim reported the incident to police. No injuries were reported.” [FCPD]
Route 7 Widening Still on Track — The $313.9 million project to widen seven miles of Route 7 between Reston Avenue and Jarrett Valley Drive remains on schedule to finish in July 2024, despite supply and labor challenges. Light traffic in 2021 enabled the project team to extend lane closures, the Virginia Department of Transportation says. [Reston Now]
Wren Stands Out Among Tysons Dining Spots — The Washington Post’s food critic calls Tysons “one of the least interesting places to find yourself for a meal,” but Wren is an exception. The Japanese restaurant-bar, which opened in The Watermark Hotel in September, earns praise for its artfully crafted food and interest in providing a personal experience for both guests and staff. [The Washington Post]
Petersen Asks Youngkin to Support Dominion Bill — Chap Petersen, who represents Vienna as the state senator for the 34th District, called on new Gov. Glenn Youngkin to join an effort to limit Dominion Energy’s influence in the General Assembly. He has introduced a bill that would prohibit political candidates and committees from accepting campaign contributions from public utilities. [Richmond Times-Dispatch]
Fire Department Sees Uptick in Calls — “It was a busy year for your Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department (FCFRD) firefighters and paramedics! An increase of over 11,000 calls from the 96,934 total calls in 2020. 298 responses to medical calls, fires, rescues, car crashes, etc., on average each day during 2021!” [FCFRD]
Route 7 Traffic Changes Start Today — “Drivers on eastbound Route 7 will experience a lane shift to the north (towards the median) between Lyons Street and Lewinsville Road. Temporary traffic changes on side streets will be in place while crews continue the construction along Route 7.” [VDOT]
MCC Calls for New Board Candidates — The McLean Community Center is seeking candidates for three adult and two youth positions that will open up on its board of governors for the June 2022 to May 2023 term. Candidate petition packets will be available at 1234 Ingleside Avenue starting at 9 a.m. on Wednesday (Jan. 19), and early voting will begin in March. [MCC]
Fairfax County Redistricting Plan Certified — “The Virginia attorney general recently certified that there is no objection to Fairfax County’s redistricting plan that the Board of Supervisors adopted on Dec. 7, 2021. The attorney general’s ‘certification of no objection’ means that the county may now implement its new local election districts as adopted.” [Fairfax County Government]
Franklin Sherman ES Kicks Off COVID-19 Pediatric Vaccine Rollout — “Fairfax County Public Schools (FCPS) kicked off the national rollout of COVID-19 vaccination for children ages 5-11 today, when the school division welcomed First Lady Dr. Jill Biden to a clinic at the school where the first Polio vaccine was administered in 1954.” [FCPS]
Fire Department Now Accepting Toys for Tots — The Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department is participating in the annual National Capital Region Toys for Tots campaign, where firefighters and paramedics collect new, unwrapped toys that will be delivered to children for the holidays. Collection boxes will remain outside local fire stations until 8 p.m. every day until Sunday, Dec. 12. [FCFRD]
National Airport Opens New Security Lines — “Passengers will see a new way through security at Reagan National Airport starting Tuesday at 4 a.m. It launches as air traveler traffic is picking up to nearly 30,000 passengers a day at DCA and that’s expected to increase with the busy holiday season just weeks away.” [DCist]
Extended Closure Scheduled for I-66 West Ramp at Nutley — “The ramp from I-66 West to Nutley Street North and South will be closed from 9 p.m. Friday, November 12, continuously through 11 a.m. Monday, November 15, for paving operations. Traffic will be directed farther west to the exit to Vienna/Fairfax/GMU Station, stay to the right onto Country Creek Road, continue onto Virginia Center Boulevard, then at the traffic signal turn left to Nutley Street North or turn right to Nutley Street South.” [VDOT]
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
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 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.
Updated at 12:30 p.m. on 8/25/2021 — The Virginia Department of Transportation announced today that the traffic shift on eastbound Route 7 between Lewinsville Road and Jarrett Valley Drive has been rescheduled for Sept. 1.
Earlier: The Wolf Trap area of eastbound Route 7 will look a little different to drivers starting tomorrow (Wednesday), the Virginia Department of Transportation says.
With work continuing on the project to widen Leesburg Pike between Tysons and Reston, traffic between Lewinsville Road and Jarrett Valley Drive north of the Dulles Toll Road will shift a lane to the south, away from the median.
While all residences, businesses, and public facilities will remain accessible, the lane shift will come with some traffic changes on the side streets off of Route 7, according to the VDOT news release:
- The service road between Laurel Hill Road and McLean Bible Church (east exit) will be temporarily closed until late 2021.
- Laurel Hill Road will reopen to traffic at eastbound Route 7.
- Drivers on westbound Route 7 to Laurel Hill Road and Glenridge Court will U-turn at the Lewinsville Road traffic signal and use eastbound Route 7 to Laurel Hill Road.
- Drivers on Laurel Hill Road and Glenridge Court to westbound Route 7 will follow eastbound Route 7 to Tyco Road, then U-turn to westbound Route 7. This traffic pattern will be in effect until late 2021.
“Please use caution and be alert to work zone signs, potential flagger or police direction, and watch for traffic shifts,” VDOT said. “Slow-moving vehicles and equipment may be entering or exiting the road.”
Construction on the Route 7 widening project has been ongoing for more than two years now, as crews work to expand almost seven miles of roadway from four to six lanes. The project is also adding a shared-use path in each direction and making some intersection improvements.
While the project isn’t expected to be finished until July 2024, some progress has been made in the corridor in recent months, including the completion of noise barrier panel installations between Utterback Store Road and Great Passage Boulevard in Great Falls.
According to the August construction update from VDOT, work in the Vienna area from Jarrett Valley to Faulkner Drive has primarily involved storm sewer installations and the relocation of water main distribution facilities between Lewinsville and Towlston Road.
In July, workers also “began grading and placement of cement-treated aggregate, curb stone, and asphalt along westbound Route 7 between Beulah Road/Springvale Road and Towlston Road.”
Construction Begins on New Tysons ER — “HCA Virginia, the health system behind Reston Hospital Center, has started construction on a Tysons emergency room and aims to open it in early 2022…Located at 8240 Leesburg Pike, Tysons Emergency will be an ER open 24 hours daily with full-service emergency care.” [Patch]
Just 40% of Metro Workers Vaccinated Against COVID-19 — “Metro’s top executive warned employees Monday that the transit system might start mandatory coronavirus tests if the agency’s vaccination rate doesn’t climb to at least 70 percent. Metro General Manager Paul J. Wiedefeld said in a memo to employees that about 40 percent of Metro’s workforce has indicated being vaccinated in an employee database.” [The Washington Post]
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]
Tysons Library Book Sales Return — For the first time during the COVID-19 pandemic, the Tysons-Pimmit Regional Library friends’ group will host a book sale. To avoid overcrowding, attendees on the first day from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Aug. 18 will be required to register for a two-hour time slot in advance, but entry will not be restricted for the rest of the sale from Aug. 19-22. [Fairfax County Public Library]
New I-66 Ramp to West Falls Church Metro Opens — A new ramp designed to provide direct access from Interstate 66 to the West Falls Church Metro station is expected to open around midday today (Thursday). Work on the ramp, which connects two existing I-66 East/Route 7 ramps, began in May 2020 and is part of the I-66 Inside the Beltway widening project. [VDOT]
Partial Closure of Tysons Boulevard Begins — Fairfax County held a ribbon-cutting ceremony yesterday (Wednesday) to mark the launch of a program to give pedestrians and bicyclists access to a half-mile of Tysons Boulevard. This is the second year that the county has experimented with a partial closure of the road near Tysons Galleria. [Dalia Palchik/Twitter]
McLean Family Starts Persian Ice Cream Delivery — The owners of Amoo’s Restaurant in McLean has spun off one of their most lauded dishes into a delivery service. Kinrose Creamery launched last week, producing ice cream that can be picked up at Amoo’s and delivery sites in Vienna, Sterling, and Manassas. [Northern Virginia Magazine]
Wolf Trap Hotel Project Returns to Vienna Board — The Town of Vienna Board of Architectural Review will discuss the latest revisions to plans for a four-story, mixed-use development at 444 Maple Avenue W. when it meets tonight. After being slowed down by the pandemic and public opposition to proposed development on Maple, the developer told Tysons Reporter in June that they hope to start construction this fall. [Town of Vienna/Twitter]
Behind the Architecture of Capital One Hall — “HGA worked with the client, presenting alternatives [to marble] such as Italian travertine, silvery Alabaman limestone, or Brazilian swirling granite to avoid joining the high number of noteworthy marble failures in the past sixty years. For Barry Mark, vice president of design and construction at Capital One, none of these had the distinctive beauty and character for the vision he had of the project.” [The Architect’s Newspaper]