Tysons, VA

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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Updated at 11:45 a.m. — The fatality and crash numbers in this article from the DMV reflect statistics for Northern Virginia, not just Fairfax County as previously stated. The Fairfax County Police Department says that the county’s fatality and crash rates are much lower.

With 38 pedestrian fatalities, 2019 was the deadliest year in the last decade to walk in Northern Virginia, according to Virginia DMV data.

The number of deaths dropped to 29 in 2020, but the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors and county transportation officials are still working on strategies to improve pedestrian and bicyclist safety with a countywide initiative.

“Unfortunately our incidents of pedestrian fatalities and crashes continue to be at unacceptable levels,” FCDOT bicycle and pedestrian program manager Chris Wells said during a transportation committee meeting yesterday (Tuesday). “Due to a number of factors, those numbers are trending up — not just in Fairfax, but in Virginia and across the United States.”

Bicycling is safer, but crash rates are still high: 216 crashes in 2019, and 157 in 2020.

Wells added that certain portions of Fairfax County’s population are disproportionately affected by pedestrian crashes, a trend that has been documented nationwide.

The county hopes to reverse these statistics. Wells told supervisors that FCDOT and VDOT have recently improved walking and cycling conditions by programming head starts into signals for pedestrians, re-striping four-lane roads as two-lane roads, and installing rapid-flashing beacons for crosswalks without lights.

VDOT awarded FCDOT $1.2 million last year to install nine more flashing beacons, bringing the county’s total to 17, Wells said.

VDOT also has a pedestrian safety action plan for improving safety along particularly dangerous corridors. In Fairfax County, the highest-priority roads are Columbia Pike, Little River Turnpike, Richmond Highway, Lee Highway, Lee-Jackson Memorial Highway, Braddock Road, and Ox Road.

Officials said that work on roads in Fairfax County is a lengthy process compared to other jurisdictions, because VDOT owns the roads.

“They’ve really stepped up this year to help us to advance pedestrian safety in a way that we have not seen in years past,” FCDOT Director Tom Biesiadny said.

Looking ahead, supervisors suggested introducing better lighting and longer crossing times at mid-block crosswalks. They are also still interested in reducing speeds in the county.

FCDOT officials said a multiagency group, including transportation officials and attorneys, is working through the logistics of speed cameras. Meanwhile, VDOT is preparing to examine where speed limits can be lowered.

Fairfax County has also been experimenting with closing street lanes to provide more room for walking and cycling. A pilot project that closed one lane on a half-mile section of Tysons Boulevard to motor vehicles ran from May 29 to Nov. 23 of last year, and a partial lane closure on Government Center Parkway has been in place since Aug. 31.

Chart and map via Virginia DMV data dashboards

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The Washington and Old Dominion Trail will be shifted slightly south where it passes Idylwood Park in Falls Church starting this Thursday (Jan. 14).

The Virginia Department of Transportation says the temporary realignment will allow crews to construct a new, permanent trail that can accommodate new Interstate 66 ramps as part of its Transform 66 Outside the Beltway project.

Construction will also involve the addition of a retaining wall to support the widening of the I-66 West ramp to I-495 South.

Idylwood Park is at the terminus of the Transform 66 project, which is adding 22 miles of express lanes between I-495 in Falls Church and University Boulevard in Gainesville.

VDOT previously planned to close the affected section of the W&OD Trail from July 27 through early December of last year and offer detours to pedestrians and cyclists, but construction was postponed “for additional project coordination.”

The realignment brings the trail closer to I-66 West and will last approximately five months through June 2021.

“All work is weather dependent and will be rescheduled if inclement conditions occur,” VDOT says.

Images via VDOT

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The Virginia Department of Transportation published its final report on ways to improve the safety of Shreve Road in Falls Church yesterday (Monday).

Now available to view online, the Shreve Road Corridor Study report focuses on two miles of roadway between Route 29 (Lee Highway) and Route 7 (Leesburg Pike) that have had recurring issues with pedestrian and bicyclist safety, including a fatal crash involving a pedestrian and an impaired driver in 2019.

After that crash, local residents formed the Shreve Road Community Working Group to advocate for improvements to address speeding, safety, visibility, and drainage concerns.

The group identified the curve southwest of Oldewood Drive, Shrevewood Elementary School, the Washington & Old Dominion Trail crossings, and the curve between Chestnut and Hickory Streets as areas of particular concern on Shreve Road.

VDOT officially launched its study in March and presented some preliminary recommendations at a virtual public meeting on Oct. 7 that it says was attended by approximately 70 people.

Based on feedback from the community, VDOT’s study team has issued four short-term and six long-term final recommendations, which are listed in order from highest to lowest priority:

Short Term

  • Add pedestrian beacons to W&OD Trail crossings
  • Incorporate pedestrian median at Fairwood Lane into Safe Routes to School project
  • Add and upgrade Shreve Road pedestrian connections
  • Install optical speed bars and implement vegetation management

Long Term

  • Advance roundabout alternative near Shrevewood Elementary
  • Advance chicane design at Pioneer Lane
  • Coordinate potential bicycle speed treatments for the W&OD Trail
  • Develop a neighborhood gateway near Route 29
  • Consider an urban cross-section between Route 7 and Gordons Road
  • Potentially revisit mini-roundabouts at Pinecastle Road and Buckelew Drive

VDOT says its team received the most comments about recommendations related to Shrevewood Elementary and the Pinecastle/Buckelew intersection. The reactions to its roundabout proposals were roughly evenly split between people felt favorably and people who opposed the ideas. Read More

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A reconstructed Cedar Lane Bridge over Interstate 66 in Vienna will reopen to traffic today as anticipated, the Virginia Department of Transportation confirmed yesterday (Tuesday).

Restoring Cedar Lane’s connection between Cottage Street to the north and Route 29 (Lee Highway) to the south, the new bridge is wider and features a sidewalk on its west side. A new shared-use path on the bridge’s east side will eventually link to a 66 Parallel Trail being developed from Dunn Loring to Centreville.

VDOT closed the bridge to both drivers and pedestrians on May 15 so that crews could demolish the existing structure and build the new one.

The bridge reconstruction is part of VDOT’s Transform 66 Outside the Beltway project, which is adding toll lanes along 22 miles of highway between Vienna and Gainesville.

The Cedar Lane Bridge reopening will enable Fairfax Connector to restore service on Routes 462 and 467 between the Dunn Loring-Merrifield Metro station and Tysons Corner to the routes and schedules they had before the bridge closed.

The Fairfax County Department of Transportation announced last week that it will also add Sunday service to Route 467.

Until the service changes take effect on Jan. 4, Fairfax Connector buses will continue following a modified route that utilizes Cottage Street and Gallows Road for those two routes.

Even with the new bridge completed, some construction activities will continue in the Cedar Lane area.

“Drivers, pedestrians, cyclists, and other bridge users should be alert for continued construction activity in the area surrounding the bridge, including completion of nearby sidewalks, noise walls, and the shared-use path along I-66,” VDOT said.

Photo courtesy VDOT

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Travel on Interstate 66 will be reduced to one lane in both directions from Cedar Lane in Vienna to Route 7 every night through Saturday (Dec. 19), the Virginia Department of Transportation announced today (Thursday).

VDOT has been closing lanes on the highway between 9:30 p.m. and 5 a.m. since Dec. 14 in order to address overhead utility work for the new Gallows Road Bridge that it has been constructing, but the lane closures were originally expected to end today.

The I-66 lane closures will last from 9:30 p.m. to 9 a.m. on Friday and Saturday, with intermittent full stoppages of up to 20 minutes between midnight and 4 a.m.

The reduction of travel on Gallows Road over I-66 to one lane and the overnight closure of the ramp from the I-495 North Express Lanes to I-66 West have also been extended to Saturday.

According to VDOT, the 495 ramp closure will last from 9 p.m. to 5 a.m. every night. Traffic will be detoured to I-66 via the Route 7 exit during that time.

The Gallows Road lane closure will take place from 10 p.m. to 8 a.m. on Friday and Saturday.

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

The state transportation agency also noted that work is dependent on the weather and may be rescheduled if inclement conditions occur.

Construction on the new Gallows Road Bridge has been ongoing throughout the year as part of VDOT’s Transform 66 Outside the Beltway project. The bridge is being reconstructed to make room for the new Express Lanes.

VDOT plans to demolish the old Gallows bridge once the new one for northbound Gallows is completed in early 2021, but according to the current project timeline, the full bridge is not expected to be complete until early 2022.

Photo via VDOT

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Efforts to rehabilitate the northbound and southbound Route 123 (Chain Bridge Road) bridges over Route 7 (Leesburg Pike) in Tysons are now complete, the Virginia Department of Transportation announced today (Tuesday).

VDOT says the rehabilitation work was critical for “improving safety for drivers and pedestrians, giving drivers a smoother ride, and extending the overall life of the bridges,” which were first built in 1965.

The improvements include:

  • Repairing the bridge decks and resurfacing the decks with asphalt
  • Repairing bridge piers, abutments and bearings
  • Spot painting of steel bridge beams

The northbound and southbound lanes of Route 123 adjacent to the bridges were repaved.

Financed with federal and state money, including the State of Good Repair funding used for bridges, construction on the $2.5 million project began in January and concluded in November. The project was completed ahead of schedule and under budget, according to VDOT.

VDOT says that Route 123 averages up to 31,000 vehicles a day, and Route 7 averages up to 86,000 vehicles per day at the bridges.

Photo via VDOT

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Nighttime travel on Interstate 66 might require some extra planning this week due to lane closures necessitated by construction on a new Gallows Road Bridge.

Starting tonight (Monday), I-66 East will be reduced to one travel lane approaching Gallows Road from 9:30 p.m. to 5 a.m. The Virginia Department of Transportation says that, between midnight and 4 a.m., drivers should expect periodic stoppages that could last up to 20 minutes.

In addition, the ramp from the Interstate 495 Express Lanes North to I-66 West will be closed from 9 p.m. to 5 a.m.

Traffic will be detoured onto I-66 East, which will lead to Route 7. Once on Leesburg Pike, vehicles will stay to the left, turn left at the traffic signal, and then follow road signs to I-66 West.

The I-495 express lanes ramp and one-lane I-66 East closures will take place every night through Dec. 3.

On Dec. 2 and 3, VDOT will also reduce I-66 West to one travel lane approaching Gallows Road from 9:30 p.m. to 5 a.m.

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

Overnight lane closures have been a recurring sight around Gallows Road since mid-November, when VDOT started reconstructing the bridge over I-66 for its Transform 66 Outside the Beltway project, which will add express lanes along 22.5 miles of road from I-495 in Vienna to Gainesville.

According to VDOT, the bridge is being lengthened, widened, raised, and shifted east to align with the new I-66 Express Lanes while making room for future Gallows Road improvements.

The new bridge will also include a five-foot bike lane in both directions, a seven-foot-wide sidewalk on the northbound side of the road, and improved pedestrian and bicycle facilities tied to the Dunn Loring-Merrifield Metro Station.

The new bridge is being constructed in two phases with an expected completion date of early 2021.

Photos via VDOT (top, left)

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A renovated Vaden Drive Bridge over Interstate 66 in Vienna will be open to vehicle traffic by Wednesday (Nov. 25) after being closed for more than a year for construction.

With the bridge reopening, vehicles on Vaden Drive will no longer have to detour onto Nutley Street, but pedestrians will still have to use the nearby Vienna Metro station’s pedestrian bridge until a planned shared-use path and sidewalk on the bridge is finished in December.

Other ongoing construction activities around the Vaden Drive Bridge involve:

  • A redesign of the entrances from Vaden Drive to the Metro parking garages, which is expected to finish in December
  • A new sidewalk on the bridge’s east side scheduled to open in summer 2021
  • New ramps to and from the future I-66 Express Lanes

The Virginia Department of Transportation warns drivers to use caution as construction activities continue, and people adjust to new travel patterns.

The new Vaden Drive Bridge is part of VDOT’s Transform 66 Outside the Beltway project, which is widening the interstate with 22.5 miles of express lanes from I-495 in Idylwood to University Boulevard in Gainesville.

The part of the project around the Vienna Metro station also involved improvements to the Nutley and Saintsbury Drive intersection and the closure of the Saintsbury ramp to I-66 East.

VDOT says the rebuilt Vaden Drive Bridge “will improve access to the station for vehicles, commuter buses, cyclists, and pedestrians.”

As part of the Transform 66 project, VDOT is also rebuilding the Cedar Lane bridge over I-66 to accommodate the interstate’s expansion. The bridge was closed on May 15 for demolition, and the new one is expected to reopen in mid-December.

Photos via Google Maps, VDOT

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Tempers ran high during the Virginia Department of Transportation’s virtual public meeting on its Interstate 495 Express Lanes Northern Extension (495 NEXT) project on Wednesday (Nov. 18).

With a Dec. 4 deadline for public comment on the project’s environmental assessment and initial design plans approaching fast, some community members criticized VDOT for a perceived lack of transparency and asked why the project is being pursued now instead of waiting for Maryland to undertake its long-gestating plan to improve the American Legion Bridge.

“More has to be done now to look at the basics, because the studies that VDOT has presented are inadequate,” McLean resident April Georgelas argued. “It’s inappropriate to pursue this any further and put citizens through the stress that we don’t need right now for a project that will only do harm for our area.”

Initiated in the spring of 2018, the 495 NEXT project proposes extending the existing 495 Express Lanes roughly three miles from the Dulles Toll Road and I-495 interchange to the George Washington Memorial Parkway near the American Legion Bridge.

VDOT would replace bridges to accommodate the express lanes, add a bicycle and pedestrian trail, construct new noise walls where necessary, and provide stormwater management facilities.

Virginia transportation officials say extending the 495 Express Lanes will help reduce congestion in one of the most congested corridors in the Washington, D.C., metropolitan region, while also improving travel reliability and reducing the amount of cut-through traffic that currently goes through neighborhood streets in McLean and Great Falls.

According to VDOT’s analysis, the 495 NEXT project would move approximately 2,500 more people per hour in both directions through the corridor starting in 2025. It would move 5,400 more people an hour if Maryland completes its American Legion Bridge project, though that is not likely to be finished until 2027.

By 2045, I-495 would be able to carry an additional 7,600 people an hour in both directions combined with the express lanes extended, VDOT says.

“This facility will provide a running way for carpools, vanpools, and transit vehicles to be able to provide reliable and faster trips than what could be accomplished under the current congested conditions,” VDOT Special Project Development Associate Manager Abraham Lerner said.

While the McLean Citizens Association has expressed support for 495 NEXT, many community members have raised concerns about the planned bike trail location, the ramps that have been proposed as modifications to the Dulles Toll Road interchange, and potential environmental and neighborhood impacts.

According to VDOT Megaprojects Director Susan Shaw, the project is anticipated to affect 35 acres of trees with its first phase of construction and about 3,000 feet of stream in Scotts Run, 70% of which is already significantly degraded.

Shaw says VDOT has committed to doing a tree survey prior to any removals to determine what trees should be replanted where possible and working with Fairfax County on stream restoration.

Dranesville District Supervisor John Foust urged VDOT to look for alternatives for the Dulles Toll Road interchange. The current plan involves three phases of new ramps being constructed.

“The impact of those ramps on that area of the county, which includes residential neighborhoods and Tysons – which we’re trying to create as a transit-oriented community – is going to be overwhelming,” Foust said. “Clearly, there’s a lot of traffic there, but right now…what you’re ending up [with] there is a spaghetti network of ramps that’s going to be very destructive to that entire area of Fairfax County.”

Photo via Google Maps

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