Tysons, VA

The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors plans to tackle traffic problems along Old Meadow Road as the Tysons One East project advances.

Yesterday, the board approved a rezoning request to increase the floor area ratio for a planned office tower near the McLean Metro station.

Akridge and the Ronald D. Paul Companies are plan to develop 1690 Old Meadow Road, a triangular spot between Dolley Madison Blvd and the Old Meadow Road, into a 15-story tower with Class A offices, restaurant, retail space, parking podium and outdoor terrace.

The development was held up by the acquisition of a public right-of-way.

“This application was filed on land area inclusive of VDOT right-of-way which was in the process of being acquired by the applicant,” according to county documents. “While VDOT on behalf of the Commonwealth concurred in the filing of the application, they generally will not sign the proffers, and would not in this case.”

Now that the right-of-way woes have been resolved, the county, developers and residents are trying to find ways to change the Old Meadow Road.

Scott Adams, the attorney with McGuireWoods who is representing the developer, said that the project includes a proffer for a traffic signal improvement at Colshire Meadow Drive and funds to build and improve roads in Tysons.

Amy Tozzi with the Old Meadow Coalition told the county officials during the public hearing yesterday that nearby residents have traffic and safety concerns that they worry won’t get addressed by the project.

“We understand all development is messy, but it shouldn’t imperil existing communities,” she said.

In response to Tozzi, Adams said that issues with the grid of streets in Tysons and accessing Old Meadow Road from Route 123 are too large for the project to address.

“Some of the concerns that they have are broader in scope than the smaller application we have,” he said.

As part of the board’s approval, county staff will work to create a plan to speed up transportation improvements to calm traffic along Old Meadow Road.

The changes could include:

  • realigning the Old Meadow Road and Route 123 intersection
  • constructing Lincoln and Roosevelt streets from Old Meadow Road to Magarity Road
  • advance previously approved proffered transportation commitments like the traffic signal at the intersection of Old Meadow Road and Colshire Meadow Road and the Tysons East grid of streets

“In identifying improvements and solutions, staff should coordinate with stakeholders on Old Meadow Road, including residents and business owners and property owners,” according to county documents.

Image via One Tysons East

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Updated 3/12/2020 — VDOT announced that the meeting will be postponed to a date in April.

Updated at 7:15 p.m. — A Dranesville District Supervisor email this evening says that the meeting will be live streamed. 

Earlier: For people avoiding meetings to prevent the coronavirus, an upcoming meeting on the plans to extend the 495 Express Lanes will be filmed.

The Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) is set to present the results of the I-495 NEXT environmental study and traffic analysis on Thursday, March 12.

The meeting is scheduled to last from 6:30-8:30 p.m. at Langley High School (6520 Georgetown Pike). People will have a chance to provide comments and ask questions after the presentation at 7 p.m.

VDOT said in an email today (Wednesday) that the video of the meeting will be available online starting Monday (March 16).

Currently, the 495 Express Lanes Northern Extension project — a.k.a. 495 NEXT — would extend the 495 Express Lanes north from the I-495 and Dulles Access Road interchange up to the American Legion Bridge and add two new tolled express lanes in each direction.

People will have through April 15 to submit comments either online, at the public hearing, by email or by mail.

“Questions or requests for more information can be emailed to [email protected] virginia.gov, and a project representative will respond,” VDOT said.

VDOT said that the meeting would be rescheduled if Fairfax County Public Schools close. If inclement weather happens, the meeting would get moved to next Wednesday, March 18.

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Commuters can expect delays today on I-495 south of Leesburg Pike (Route 7) while truck fire clean-up is underway.

As of 9:43 a.m., the south right outside lane and right shoulder are closed, according to the Virginia Department of Transportation.

VDOT said that drivers can expect delays. As of 10 a.m., traffic is heavy on I-495 between Leesburg Pike and I-66.

Lauren DeMarco, a Fox 5 reporter, tweeted a video of the traffic back-up and firefighters and medics on the scene around 10:30 p.m. on Monday.

The video captured firefighters working to extinguish the truck fire.

WTOP reported this morning that clean-up is underway.

Map via Google Maps

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A Tysons citizen group recently sent a list of concerns to Fairfax County officials.

The Greater Tysons Citizens Association was founded in 2008 and is made up of residents and organizations in the Tysons area, including the Vienna Town Council and McLean Citizens Association.

In the letter dated Jan. 29, the association noted that with the upcoming 10-year-anniversary of the Tysons Comprehensive Plan, the group is worried about the impact of Tysons’ transformation on surrounding communities.

The letter was sent to the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors, Planning Commission and School Board.

The letter goes on to outline four main concerns:

  • traffic congestion
  • reaching the goal of 20 urban athletic fields in Tysons
  • infrastructure funding and Tysons school planning
  • recent interpretations of the Tysons Comprehensive Plan

The association then provided requests for each item.

For traffic congestion, the association would like the Planning Commission and Board of Supervisors to look into short- and long-term solutions with community members.

As the athletic fields, the group would like the Board of Supervisors to revisit a follow-on motion decision that allowed a developer of The View to make a monetary contribution to be allocated to a community center.

“We urge investigating and pursuing other funding sources for construction of the Tysons community center,” the letter says. “We urge the PC and BOS to return to the long-accepted practice of requiring in-kind contributions rather than monetary contributions when the calculated field contribution exceeds 1/3 field.”

The association had several suggestions for the school issue:

  • complete the revamp of the methodologies used in the capital improvement and proffer formula for better school population projections
  • increase staffing in the facilities branch of FCPS
  • identify and implement new options to acquire land and fund construction of new schools

Finally, the group requested that the Board of Supervisors and Planning Commission have an in-depth review regarding interpretations of the comprehensive plan and any “potential ramifications.”

Tysons Reporter received a copy of the letter from the McLean Citizens Association (MCA).

Sally Horn, the chair of the Greater Tysons Citizens Association, is set to discuss the letter with the MCA tonight.

The MCA meeting will start at 7:30 p.m. at the McLean Community Center (1234 Ingleside Avenue).

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Tomorrow (Feb. 4), the Fairfax County’s Transportation Committee will meet to discuss upcoming projects around the area.

Board members will kick off the meeting, which begins at 3 p.m. in the Fairfax County Government Center, with updates and progress regarding the I-495 Express Lanes Northern Expansion project.

According to the documents posted ahead of the meeting, the I-495 project will include expansion of express lanes to George Washington Memorial Parkway, replacement of existing overpasses, implementation of a shared-use path and addition of new noise barrier walls.

Upgrades could save drivers up to 25 minutes during their peak-hour commute, especially with ease cut-through traffic congestion in local communities, according to the documents.

Other items on the agenda include bus and Metrorail improvements and the Bicycle Master Plan.

For people who bike to work, a shared-use bike path behind the noise wall will connect the American Legion Bridge to Maryland, the presentation said.

Meanwhile, an ongoing I-495 Regional Transit Study is expected to become public sometime this year.

A public forum to discuss the discuss environmental and technical reports from the project is set for March 12 at Langley High School (6520 Georgetown Pike) from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m.

Staff photo by Jay Westcott

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In a newsletter to constituents today, Dranesville District Supervisor John Foust said a meeting in March will solicit community input on the American Legion Bridge.

Currently, the 495 Express Lanes Northern Extension project — a.k.a. 495 NEXT — would extend the 495 Express Lanes north from the I-495 and Dulles Access Road interchange up to the American Legion Bridge and add two new tolled express lanes in each direction.

The Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) is set to present the results of the 495 NEXT environmental study and traffic analysis on Thursday, March 12.

Foust’s newsletter said that “one of the biggest transportation challenges in the McLean area is the congestion caused by inadequate capacity on the American Legion Bridge and the Maryland side of the Beltway.”

More from the newsletter:

In early 2019, VDOT signed a nonbinding Development Framework Agreement with Transurban. Delivering the project through this public private partnership would mean that no public funding by the Commonwealth is needed to extend the Express Lanes network. If approved, the project will replace Live Oak Drive, Georgetown Pike, and Old Dominion Drive Bridges and allow for the installation of pedestrian/bike facilities along the corridor. Construction could begin as early as 2021.

Virginia officials have been cautious about moving forward with the project because without replacing the American Legion Bridge, bottlenecks and congestion will only be relocated, not resolved.

A major development occurred late last year when Virginia Governor Northam and Maryland Governor Hogan announced “The Capital Beltway Accord.” The agreement is a commitment to work together to create a new, unified Capital Beltway and replace the aging American Legion Bridge. The cost of the bridge project is expected to be $1 billion and both states will contribute to the cost through public-private partnerships. The private entity will pay the upfront costs in exchange for future toll revenue meaning toll payers rather than taxpayers will foot the bill.

The new bridge will have four express toll lanes, in addition to eight free lanes, as on the current span. The tolls will fluctuate based on congestion, rising to keep traffic flowing freely. Construction could begin in 2022 and would likely take five or six years.

The next key piece of the puzzle is ensuring that the widening of I-495 just over the bridge in Maryland is done in coordination with the bridge project. Governor Hogan recently obtained a key vote to advance a plan to widen the Beltway from the American Legion Bridge to the Interstate 270 spur, and along the lower part of I-270 between the Beltway and Interstate 370.

“I am excited that we are making progress on addressing congestion issues that have plagued our communities, but I want to be sure that the project is done in a way that actually addresses our problems, rather than just moving them,” Foust said in the newsletter.

At the March 12 meeting, attendees will be able to provide input during a public hearing.

The meeting is set to run from 6:30-8:30 p.m. at Langley High School in McLean (6520 Georgetown Pike).

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Drivers who regularly take Towers Crescent Drive might want to budget in more time now that the road has two new stop signs near Ring Road and is undergoing road work.

Currently, the road is being repaved, Ellen Kamilakis, a spokesperson for the Virginia Department of Transportation, told Tysons Reporter.

Towers Crescent Drive will soon have a new traffic pattern.

“The final roadway configurations will have one lane in each direction with either left-turn lanes or two-way left turning lane in the middle,” Kamilakis said. “In addition, it will have a bike lane in each direction.”

In response to Tysons Reporter’s question about when the repaving will be finished, Kamilakis said, “It should be relatively soon as the asphalt plants don’t stay open year-round.”

Multi-way stop signs were installed on Sept. 25 at the intersection of Towers Crescent Drive and Ring Road, Kamilakis said.

With the combination of the stop signs and the work blocking a southbound lane, traffic slowed down on Towers Crescent Drive when Tysons Reporter visited yesterday morning.

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Drivers can expect delays this morning from a crash along Route 123 between I-495 and the Dulles Connector Road in Tysons.

A traffic camera showed what appeared to be the front end of a red vehicle rammed into the back of a white vehicle around 9 a.m. Police are on scene.

Traffic was backed up connecting the Dulles Connector Road to Route 123, according to Google Maps.

Image via Virginia 511, map via Google Maps

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A long-awaited project to lessen congestion at an intersection near the American Legion Bridge in McLean is nearing completion.

The Virginia Department of Transportation expanded the intersection by 550 feet to include a left turn and right turn lane, as well as an option for traffic to go straight into the nearby neighborhood. The renovations also include an area where law enforcement can safely pull over traffic.

Crews worked on the three-month-long project at the intersection of Georgetown Pike and Balls Hill Road over the summer. Politicians gathered Thursday morning (Aug. 22) to survey the scene and celebrate the project.

Allison Richter, a VDOT liaison for Fairfax County, attended the event and said that people in the nearby neighborhood struggled to get home when others were trying to turn onto American Legion Bridge or onto the freeway. The addition of turn lanes is expected to ease traffic around rush hour, she said.

Richter said that this was part of a $500,000 project to improve traffic flow in the area, which should be completed in the next couple days. She also said that roughly $250,000 of the funds came from Fairfax County while the remaining $250,000 came from an operations safety budget.

“This is one of the rare occasions we meet at this intersection on a happy note,” Dranesville District Supervisor John Foust told the gathering. “This has been a challenge to deal with the intersection and try to meditate the impact on the surrounding neighborhoods from the American Legion Bridge and back up on the ramp.”

Road crews had to redirect some attention from the work on Balls Hill Road to roads impacted by severe flooding in early July, Foust said.

Crews are still working to repair Kirby Road, which is still closed due to flooding damage, he said, adding that the floods completely rerouted the river, which now flows underneath the road.

The city needs to get permits from the Army Corps of Engineers to fix the damage.

“There is only so much we can expedite,” Foust said, adding that he believes that the residents have been patient with the process.

As for the road crews, “I don’t know if I’ve ever seen VDOT so focused,” Foust said.

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Updated at 11:35 a.m. — All travel lanes on I-495 reopened around 10:30 a.m. 

Earlier: A multi-car crash on I-495 is causing substantial delays in Tysons.

Shortly after 9:30 a.m., the north right outside lane and right shoulder closed, according to the Virginia Department of Transportation.

Drivers can expect delays, according to VDOT. As of 9:50 a.m., traffic is crawling along northbound I-495 up to Route 123.

First image via VDOT, second image via Google Maps

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