Tysons, VA

Work is set to start on Friday to rehabilitate the Chain Bridge Road (Route 123) bridges over Leesburg Pike (Route 7).

The Virginia Department of Transportation announced today that drivers can expect lane closures on both routes mostly during the night for the next several days.

The schedule is:

  • Sunday-Thursday: 10 p.m. to 5 a.m.
  • Friday: 10 p.m. to 9 a.m.
  • Saturday: 10 p.m. to 8 a.m.

State and federal State of Good Repair funding is paying for the $2.5 million project, according to VDOT. Construction is slated to finish in late 2020 and includes:

  • repairing and resurfacing the concrete bridge decks
  • repairing the bridge piers, abutments and bearings
  • painting the steel bridge beams
  • repaving Route 123 adjacent to the bridges

Once completed, VDOT says that the northbound and southbound bridges will be safer for drivers and pedestrians and lengthen the lifespan of the bridges, which were built in 1965.

“At the bridges, Route 123 averages up to 30,000 vehicles a day and Route 7 averages up to 86,000,” according to VDOT.

Photo courtesy VDOT

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New Route 7 Rapid Bus System Plans — “A new conceptual engineering report lays out 18 specific bus rapid station locations from Tysons to Alexandria. It also details the spots where buses would have their own lanes in the middle of the road or on the outside of the road, and where buses would share lanes with car traffic.” [WTOP]

Update on Park Police Shooting of Tysons Man — “The two U.S. Park Police officers who fatally shot unarmed motorist Bijan Ghaisar in 2017 will not be charged with any crimes in connection with the incident, federal prosecutors said Thursday. The decision came just days before the second anniversary of the slaying.” [Washington Post]

Orange Line Work Next Year — “Orange Line trains could run on a single-track at West Falls Church, and Orange and Silver Line trains could pass through East Falls Church without stopping. The closures would run as long as May 23 (Memorial Day weekend) through about Aug. 28 (before Labor Day weekend).” [WTOP]

Residents Displaced From Falls Church Fire — On Saturday, firefighters battled a “fire in a garden-style apartment building in the 7300 block of Lee Highway in the Falls Church area of Fairfax County. Multiple people have been rescued.” [Fairfax County Fire and Rescue/Twitter]

Questions About American Legion Bridge’s Reconstruction? — The Washington Business Journal has answers about how much the bridge work will cost, who is paying for it and more. [Washington Business Journal]

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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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(Updated at 1 p.m.) Drivers can expect delays along Leesburg Pike (Route 7) from a multi-vehicle crash near Lewinsville Road.

The west left lane and center lane are closed, according to the Virginia Department of Transportation.

Tysons Reporter noted that traffic is down to one lane westbound on Leesburg Pike as police arrest someone for a traffic stop unrelated to the crash.

Map via Google Maps

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A shopping center near the Greensboro Metro station will soon have a Burlington store.

Formerly known as Burlington Coat Factory, the national off-price department store chain recently announced that it will open this fall in Sports Authority’s former spot at 8355 Leesburg Pike.

“This new location brings jobs to the community and provides a great shopping experience for the entire family,” Tom Kingsbury, the chief executive officer and chairman of Burlington Stores, said in a press release.

Burlington will occupy 42,900 square feet in the shopping center, filling one of its more noticeable vacancies. “Whether they’re looking for brand name clothing, stylish home decor items, or anything for baby, customers will enjoy significant savings and discover new merchandise arrivals each week,” Kingsbury said.

The new store will be the 20th Burlington location in Virginia, according to the press release.

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(Updated at 11:40 a.m.) A reported power outage that hit downtown Falls Church this morning (June 18) is now resolved.

As of 9:05 a.m., Dominion reported that the power outage was affecting 224 customers on the northwestern side of the intersection of Route 7  and N. Washington Street (Route 29). By 11:40 a.m., the power outage was no longer listed on the company’s map of reported power outages.

The City of Falls Church tweeted earlier this morning that the power outage affected City Hall and the community center, which are both open, and the Mary Riley Styles Public Library, which had power restored around 10:15 a.m.

The cause of the power outage is unknown at this time.

Map via Dominion Energy 

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Amid a roar of traffic, a dozen Fairfax County officials gathered to break ground on an extensive Leesburg Pike (Route 7) widening project.

The ceremony was today (Thursday) at Capital Church on the border of the Hunter Mill and Dranesville districts, with their respective Board of Supervisors representatives Cathy Hudgins and John Foust present.

The project will involve adding a third lane to Leesburg Pike in each direction from Reston to Tysons. At the groundbreaking, officials highlighted the new shared-use paths and other improvements planned along the corridor to increase capacity, improve safety and traffic flow, and make life a little easier for cyclists and pedestrians.

“This project will enhance nobility…” said Sharon Bulova, chair of the Fairfax County Board, then laughed and corrected herself, “mobility, but [nobility] too, for cycling and pedestrians.”

The shared-use paths are planned to run along both sides of the road, with bridges and underpasses planned along the way and several other intersection improvements.

“It’s an important milestone many years in the making,” said Bill Cutler, the Virginia Department of Transportation’s district construction engineer. “It’s a 7-mile corridor and an important multimodal project, with 14 miles of multipurpose trail and access to the Spring Hill Metro station.”

During construction, off-peak lane closures are expected as the project works in segments. Final completion of the project is expected for summer 2024.

“If you’re sitting here wondering why we’re doing this, traffic seems to be going pretty well… it’s too late now,” said Foust. “In 2010, it was said that if Tysons was going to work, we needed to ensure that vehicles could get out of Tysons… This improvement will, I hope, make it much more attractive for drivers to stay on Route 7. Right now, we have a lot of cut-through traffic taking Georgetown Pike or Lewinsville Road trying to avoid traffic on Route 7. I think this will go a long way to addressing challenges with cut-through traffic.”

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An 82-year-old man from Falls Church died after he was struck on I-495 near Tysons on Saturday (June 8).

Barrington Holt was driving his 2014 Honda Accord northbound on I-495 when he ran off the right side of the interstate and struck a concrete barrier and a guard rail, Corinne Geller, a spokesperson for the Virginia State Police, said.

Holt got out of his car and tried to cross the northbound lanes of I-495 when he walked in front of a northbound tractor-trailer.

“The tractor-trailer tried to avoid Holt by braking suddenly, but was unable to avoid striking the man,” Geller said. “The tractor-trailer was then rear-ended by a northbound tractor-trailer.”

The fatal crash occurred less than a mile south of Route 7 around 12:30 a.m.

Holt died at the scene, Geller said. The tractor-trailer drivers, who were both wearing seat belts, were not injured.

Virginia State Police Trooper L. Vajglova is investigating a fatal crash in Fairfax County, Geller said.

Map via Google Maps

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Fairfax County’s Board of Supervisors greenlighted funding for new streets and highway improvement projects in the Tysons area.

In total, the county’s board approved $55 million for transportation projects in Tysons and Reston today (June 4), with more than $51 million for Tysons-area roads. 

The greenlighted funding includes:

  • $17.5 million: I-66 widening at Route 29
  • $16.6 million: State Street land acquisition
  • $7 million: land acquisition for Leesburg Pike widening
  • $759,000: pedestrian improvements along Lee Highway

The board also approved funding for preliminary engineering and feasibility studies:

  • $7 million: Lincoln Street extension
  • $1.5 million: Broad Street
  • $1 million: Greensboro ramp to Dulles Toll Road
  • $500,000: Tysons West Park Transit Center ramp to Dulles Toll Road

I-66 median widening at Route 29

Fairfax County originally approved endorsement of the I-66 median widening in March 2017. The cost estimate for the project, however, increased by $17,500,000 “due to [the] complexity of construction (e.g. shutting down lanes to install the center pier, number of detours, which creates a larger project footprint),” according to the county staff report.

Lee Highway pedestrian improvements

The street improvements would span Nutley Street to Vaden Drive by the Vienna/Fairfax-GMU Metro station, completing missing portions of bike and pedestrian areas. “This project will allow more commuters to make trips by biking, walking, and transit instead of driving, which will improve mobility not only on I-66, but also on the parallel facilities of Lee Highway and Route 50,” the staff report says.

Land acquisition for Leesburg Pike widening 

Fairfax County staff want the $7 million for a partial land acquisition between I-495 and I-66 once the design work is done. After deciding to replace an existing gas line along Leesburg Pike, the Fairfax County Department of Transportation has been studying right-of-way and road alignment needs for this section of the highway that runs along the southern edge of Pimmit Hills.

Land acquisition for State Street

Envisioned in the future Tysons Grid of Streets, State Street would connect Greensboro Drive to Route 7 between Spring Hill Road and Westpark Drive.

Currently, the desired, vacant property is for sale, according to the staff report. “If the property is sold to another party and the existing building encumbered with a long-term lease, the cost of acquiring the property will increase significantly, and may become prohibitive,” the report says.

Preliminary engineering and feasibility studies

The Greensboro and Tysons West Park Transit Center ramps to the Dulles Toll Road are two of the three planned ramps that will provide a connection between downtown Tysons to the highway.

Meanwhile, Lincoln Street would connect Old Meadow Road to Magarity Road in Pimmit Hills. The new, two-lane road is meant to provide more access for residents.

Another new road — Broad Street — would run parallel to Route 7, providing access between Spring Hill and Tyco roads and offering an alternative to using Route 7.

The board also approved $3 million for construction to widen Telegraph Road at Hayfield Road in Alexandria and $500,000 for preliminary engineering and feasibility studies on improving the intersection of Reston Parkway and Baron Cameron Avenue. 

The funding adjustments from the Tysons and Reston Transportation Service Districts and the Tysons Grid of Streets Road Fund will be made as part of the carryover review for fiscal year 2019, according to a staff report.

Maps [1, 2, 3] via Google Maps

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A meeting Thursday (May 30) will seek community input on revamping aging bridges at a highway intersection in the heart of Tysons.

The Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) plans to rehabilitate the intersection of Leesburg Pike (Route 7) and Route 123 in Tysons. The project will focus on the northbound and southbound bridges where Route 123 passes over Leesburg Pike. Built more than 50 years ago in 1965, the bridges are beginning to show their age.

This rehabilitation will restore the bridge to a like-new condition and will cost approximately $2.5 million. The project is part of VDOT’s routine “State of Good Repair” program, which keeps infrastructure across the Commonwealth well-maintained and safe.

Fairfax County has bigger plans for the intersection. Fairfax transportation planners hope to one day tear down those bridges and build an efficient, modern “continuous flow intersection” at the junction of the two highways. That design would enable a high capacity of automobile throughput, but would also let the county build an elevated park over the intersection.

As it stands, the highways sever those communities from one another and separate Old Courthouse from the Metro stations, but an elevated park would stitch them together.

If the project proceeds as planned, construction would begin in early 2020 and finish by the end of the year. VDOT did not provide any information about possible traffic impacts.

The public has an opportunity for in-person comment on VDOT’s rehab plan at a public information meeting Thursday from 6:30-8:30 p.m. at Freedom Hill Elementary School (1945 Lord Fairfax Road).

People can also provide feedback on the project by emailing Gang Zhang at [email protected].

Image via Google Maps

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