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Votes

New Interchange for Fair Lakes

Someday when the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) again has money, it hopes to build an interchange at the intersection of the Fairfax County and Fair Lakes parkways. Area residents may learn the details next Tuesday, June 4, from 5-8 p.m., when VDOT holds a citizen-participation and information meeting at Chantilly High School.

The interchange is in the county's Comprehensive Plan and, at 6 p.m., VDOT representatives will offer information about preliminary concepts for the proposed structure. Then citizens may ask questions. Anyone requiring special assistance to attend and participate should call 703-383-2433.

The project consists of widening the Fairfax County Parkway and providing a grade-separated interchange at the Fair Lakes Parkway intersection. And because of its close proximity to that area, the Monument Drive intersection must also be addressed in conjunction with the plans.

The Fair Lakes Parkway intersection is signalized, and northbound Fairfax County Parkway traffic currently backs up to the I-66 interchange during the morning traffic-peak period. Southbound Fairfax County Parkway traffic queues back to the Route 50 interchange during the afternoon peak-traffic period.

Weekend traffic is also congested, partly because of the shopping complexes located along Fair Lakes Parkway. VDOT believes that the proposed road improvements will decrease congestion and delays by increasing capacity along both the Fairfax County and Fair Lakes parkways.

According to VDOT figures, the current traffic volumes on the Fairfax County Parkway between I-66 and Route 50 are approximately 60,000 vehicles per day. By the year 2025, traffic on this segment is projected to increase to some 118,000 vehicles per day.

Therefore, VDOT proposes to widen Fairfax County Parkway within the existing median to six lanes — three through-lanes in each direction — between I-66 and Route 50. Because Fair Lakes Parkway is so close to the existing interchanges at I-66 and Route 50, an additional auxiliary lane will be required in each direction between interchange ramps — I-66 to Fair Lakes Parkway, and Fair Lakes Parkway to Route 50.

Beginning at Fair Lakes Parkway, a multi-purpose trail is planned along the east side of Fairfax County Parkway, with a connection to the existing trail at Rock Run Stream Valley Park. The North Lake Drive intersection with Fairfax County Parkway is proposed to be eliminated for safety and traffic purposes.

VDOT estimates the project to cost between $57 million and $80 million and is currently included in the development phase of VDOT's Tentative Six-Year Plan published this month. This plan contains $11 million for preliminary engineering and partial land-acquisition. However, no funds are as yet earmarked for the actual construction. The final Six-Year Plan will be approved in late June.

At next Tuesday's meeting, VDOT representatives will present four possible interchange-design alternatives. Comments may be sent by June 14 to: Mr. William C. Cuttler, P.E., Fairfax Preliminary Engineering Manager, VDOT, 14685 Avion Parkway, Chantilly, VA. 20151-1104. Phone: 703-383-2433; e-mail: meeting_comments@VirginiaDOT.org.