The City of Falls Church wants to update Oak Street Bridge, but funding uncertainty leaves the project without a distinctive start date.
Even though the damage to the bridge from the flooding in July has been completely repaired, the Falls Church Planning Commission still met last month to discuss the construction of a new bridge.
Now the city is just awaiting the results from grant applications — which will inevitably fund the project, Susan Finarelli, a spokesperson for the city, said.
Initial concept designs are in the works to rethink the aesthetic appeal, modernize the bridge, improve pedestrian and traffic safety.
The project is currently in the design phase, which should be completed from August 2020 to February 2021, potentially allowing construction to begin shortly after, according to a planning commission presentation.
Due to safety concerns, the bridge is on a yearly inspection list, which monitors at-risk infrastructure projects. Originally built in 1953, the bridge needs to be redone for engineering improvements to increase the weight limit.
“We will be lengthening the bridge approximately two feet on either sides,” a representative at the Oct. 21 Planning Commission meeting said, adding that pedestrians will have easier access to Tripps Run.
The project is expected to cost around $2.6 million.
The Planning Commission made a unanimous recommendation for the City Council to relocate a utility pole so it isn’t in the middle of the sidewalk, include adding wider sidewalks, a crosswalk for Tripps Run and decorative guard rails on the southeast side of the bridge.
Image via The City of Falls Church
The Virginia Department of Transportation announced that the road will be closed between Jones Branch Drive and the I-495 Express Lanes starting tonight (Nov. 18) until Friday, Nov. 22, from 9:30 p.m. to 4 a.m. the following day.
The closures are related to paving as part of the Jones Branch Connector project, according to VDOT. Several detours will be in place for drivers.
The Jones Branch Connector project expects to have two lanes in each direction open by the end of the year and final completion in early 2020, according to VDOT.
Map via VDOT
Work is underway to get flood-damaged Kirby Road in McLean reopened before the end of the year.
At a meeting hosted last night (Thursday) by Dranesville District Supervisor John Foust, officials from the Virginia Department of Transportation told attendees about the process behind reopening Swinks Mill Road and about the work done on Kirby Road.
Kirby Road was damaged in two places from the storm — the roadway and the bridge. For about 12 hours after the storm, 21 homes were landlocked.
VDOT was able to restore access to the homes by 2 a.m. on July 9, VDOT official Denise Cantwell said.
After some delays with the bidding process, Martins Construction Corporation was awarded the $2.1 million emergency contract for repairs, Cantwell said.
The roadway work is expected to done by mid-November and then the crews will switch over to the bridge to get that done by mid-December. The date to get everything back open is Dec. 15.
To get the work done as soon as possible, VDOT has incentivized the contractor by offering up to $2,000 for every day completed early — capped at $120,000. And if the contractor goes past the Dec. 15 deadline, they will then have to pay $2,000 for every day the project is late.
Cantwell said that work cannot be done simultaneously on the bridge and roadway because then access would be cut off to the 21 homes again.
Work to add surface asphalt and striping is expected to be completed by May 2020. The work is dependent on the weather, Cantwell said.
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
An upcoming meeting at the end of October will provide an update to locals about work to repair two flood-damaged roads in McLean.
The 1300 block of Kirby Road and Swinks Mill Road by Scott’s Run closed due to severe storm damage from flash flooding in July.
Dranesville District Supervisor John Foust will host the meeting with county staff and representatives from the Virginia Department of Transporation (VDOT) on Thursday, Oct. 24.
“This meeting will still provide residents with the opportunity to learn more and speak directly with VDOT and county staff regarding specific questions,” Foust said in an email to constituents.
VDOT expects Kirby Road to reopen in mid-December. While VDOT has said it planned to have work on Swinks Mill Road done by the end of September, Foust said in an email to constituents that it is now slated to finish in early October.
The meeting is set to take place at 7 p.m. at Chesterbrook Elementary School (1753 Kirby Road).
Attendees will have the chance to ask officials questions about the progress of the repairs.
Photo courtesy VDOT
Work to repair one of two flood-damaged McLean roads is taking longer than originally expected.
The 1300 block of Kirby Road and Swinks Mill Road by Scott’s Run are still closed due to severe storm damage from July 8 flash flooding. The Virginia Department of Transporation (VDOT) has said that both roads will stay closed for several months.
“The road is expected to safely reopen to through traffic in mid-December, and final asphalt and lane striping will continue through May 2020,” VDOT said in an update yesterday (Thursday).
“Martins Construction Corporation has been awarded a $2.1 million emergency contract for repairs, and work is anticipated to begin the week of Sept. 23,” VDOT said.
Meanwhile, work on Swinks Mill Road is expected to be done by the end of this month, VDOT said, adding that crews are currently working on reconstructing the bridge deck and making sub-structure repairs.
VDOT also provided information on the progress this week for both roads:
Swinks Mill Road at Scotts Run
In the last month, crews have:
- Excavated and poured concrete working surfaces on the downstream side on which the footers will be built
- Installed rebar and poured two footers on the downstream side
- Installed rebar and support for the stem wall on the downstream right-side abutment
- Partially installed rebar for stem wall on the downstream left-side abutment
Kirby Road at Pimmit Run
Martins Construction Corporation’s work includes:
- Relocation of Little Pimmit Run to its previous stream alignment in compliance with federal/state permitting agencies
- Rebuilding the washed-out section of Kirby Road with concrete and rip rap
- Replacement of a more than 50-year-old, 24-inch sanitary sewer line
- Reconstruction of the bridge over Pimmit Run with work on the abutments, wing walls, parapets, bridge deck and approaches
Dranesville District Supervisor John Foust wrote in an email to constituents yesterday that he is working with other elected officials to set up a community meeting “to provide residents with an opportunity to learn more about these emergency repairs and ask questions.”
Photo courtesy VDOT
After months of waiting, pedestrians and drivers can expect two McLean roads severely damaged by flash flooding in July now to reopen this fall.
The 1300 block of Kirby Road and Swinks Mill Road by Scott’s Run have been closed since the July 8 storm. The Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) has said that it will take months to repair the damage.
In a newsletter to residents, Dranesville District Supervisor John Foust said that VDOT plans to complete repairs to Swinks Mill Road by the end of this month and Kirby Road by late November.
“VDOT is working on both roads concurrently and has committed to aggressive schedules for completing the repairs on each road,” Foust wrote in the newsletter.
VDOT is looking to secure an emergency contract for bridge and road repair at Kirby Road.
More from the newsletter:
Kirby Road has been cleared of debris, and temporary repairs to the bridge and roadway have been completed to make travel safe for local residents until the permanent repairs can be completed. However, the road is not open to through traffic. Safety and structural assessments have been completed, as have boundary and topographic surveys, which are being used to plan the repairs. Identification of types and locations of utilities have been completed, and utility repairs are planned.
The design has been finalized for a contractor bid, with the contract expected to be awarded by mid-September. Completion of the roadway and bridge repairs is expected by late November, with the roadway being completed first in order to maintain access to homes, and the bridge repairs being completed after.
Swinks Mill Road has been cleared of debris and been made safe for travel for local residents and emergency responders, but the Swinks Mill bridge was and remains closed. Safety and structural assessments, as well as boundary and topographic surveys, are being used to develop plans for the repairs. The bridge design has been finalized. VDOT state crews began making the permanent repairs on August 9. Construction is expected to be completed by the end of September.
Kirby and Swinks Mill roads weren’t the only local ones damaged — VDOT has said that “extensive repairs” were made to 12 McLean-area roads right after the storm.
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
During a keynote address for the groundbreaking today (Monday) ceremony at George Mason High School, Councilmember David Snyder said that this $15.7 million dollar project will create a safer and more economically successful community around the West Falls Church Metro.
The new improvements, according to the City of Falls Church, include:
- synchronization of four new traffic signals
- a high-intensity, pedestrian-activated crosswalk on Haycock Road
- pedestrian access improvements, such as widening sidewalks
- bus stop enhancements
- bicycle access improvements, including near the newly installed Capital Bikeshare stations near the high school campus
- utility undergrounding and relocation
The money for the project was acquired through the Northern Virginia Department of Transporation.
Infrastructure issues that have been building up over many decades will finally be addressed with this project, Snyder said.
“Twenty years ago this project would not have occurred,” Snyder said. “This is a classic example of the system working.”
The project is still in the “beginning stages,” according to the City of Falls Church website, adding:
The timing of project design and construction will be coordinated with the new High School construction and future Little City Commons development. City staff expects that design, engineering, and environmental work would begin in Fiscal Year 2021, with construction beginning in Fiscal Year 2022.
Lindy Hockenberry, who taught at George Mason High School for 30 years, served for eight years on the Falls Church City Council and spent another 11 years on the city’s Planning Commission before retiring, attended the groundbreaking to show support for the project.
“Its been my life dream to replace George Mason,” she said adding that the school has serious infrastructure problems, like leaky ceilings.
The new high school campus is already under construction and is slated to be completed by early 2021.
Until then, the students will remain in the same building, which will eventually be demolished for a new commercial center, similar to the Mosaic District, Hockenberry said.
“This will be truly multi-modal,” Snyder said, adding that this these updates will allow people easier access to the Metro.
The Virginia Department of Transporation is looking to secure an emergency contract for one of two McLean Roads undergoing long-term repair.
The 1300 block of Kirby Road and Swinks Mill Road by Scott’s Run are still closed due to severe storm damage from July 8 flash flooding. VDOT has said that both roads will stay closed for several months.
In an update yesterday (Thursday), VDOT said that it wants an emergency contract for bridge and road repairs at Kirby Road.
As for Swinks Mill Road, VDOT tweeted today (Friday) that reconstruction of the road’s bridge starts Monday (Aug. 12).
VDOT also provided information on the progress this week for both roads:
Kirby Road at Pimmit Run (VA-695)
- Structure and bridge crews removed debris from Little Pimmit Run and Pimmit Run.
- Soil boring cores and test results were completed.
- Survey work and underground utility location is complete.
- Design plans are being finalized for an emergency contract.
Swinks Mill Road at Scotts Run (VA-685)
- Crews removed asphalt and guardrail debris from Scotts Run.
- Soil boring cores along with results were completed.
- Survey work and underground utility location have been completed.
- Bridge design plans are complete.
- Repairs will be performed by VDOT structure and bridge crews, who will begin work once ordered materials are received.
“Coordination with external agencies is ongoing to ensure efficient repair of damaged utilities, including coordination with federal/state permitting agencies to relocate Little Pimmit Run to its previous stream alignment,” according to the press release.
Kirby and Swinks Mill roads weren’t the only ones damaged — VDOT said that “extensive repairs” were made to 12 McLean-area roads right after the storm.
Good News! Work to reconstruct the Swinks Mill Road bridge begins Monday— and Kirby Road isn’t far behind! https://t.co/WgpybIc0R3
— VDOT Northern VA (@VaDOTNOVA) August 9, 2019
Photo 3 via VDOT