Transportation in the southern part of Fairfax County will be improved in coming months with several road projects that have been given the green light by the Virginia Department of Transportation. The Fullerton Road connection to Rolling Road is closer to being opened and construction for the Fairfax County Parkway route through the U.S. Army Engineering Proving Grounds is about to break ground, eliminating the current detour onto Backlick Road.
On March 20, VDOT awarded a $966,235 contract for "safety improvements at the intersection of Rolling and Fullerton Roads," according to information released by VDOT. Fullerton Road dead-ends with a padlocked fence at that location.
According to VDOT, the road will be realigned partially through the current McDonald's parking lot, connecting with Rolling Road. This will create a thoroughfare to the Fullerton Industrial Park, and an access to I-95 for cars heading south on Rolling Road.
"This project realigns the existing intersection, adds additional turn lanes and opens the intersection with Fullerton Road. This improvement will increase intersection capacity and relieve the additional congestion created by the current Springfield Interchange construction," according to information released by VDOT.
The Rolling/Fullerton project was in Supervisor Elaine McConnell's (R-Springfield) district for years but was recently included under Supervisor Gerry Hyland (D-Mount Vernon) district. McConnell was aware of the difficulties in previous attempts with the McDonald's parking lot.
"That was the problem," she said. "They had to take some of the corner there."
According to a representative from Ho Chang's office at the Fairfax County Transportation Commission, the money came from "secondary road funds from VDOT..
THE OTHER PROJECT at the Fairfax County Parkway has been on the books for years but was delayed because of the reluctance of the U.S Army to take action on the project. According to Bob Heittman, transportation representative in Supervisor Dana Kauffman's office (D-Lee), the project is designed and funded but they're trying to expedite the process.
"Everything is on schedule," he said. "We're trying to compress that time."
Tom Foles is the project manager at VDOT. Completing the 1.5 mile stretch of roadway is in sight but not anytime soon.
"We're looking at construction starting in 2006," he said.
The parcel of U.S. Army land is sandwiched between Backlick and Rolling Roads, just north of Fullerton Industrial Park. Currently, in order for cars to continue on the Fairfax County Parkway, they have to continue on the Springfield-Franconia Parkway at the Rolling Road exit, take an exit to Backlick Road which parallels I-95, turn right on another detour, and left at another light back on the Fairfax County Parkway.
When the parkway continues, according to plan, it will go straight at the Rolling Road interchange, skirt along the western boundary of the EPG, and connect back with Fairfax County Parkway where Central Motors is located. Relocating that business is one part of the lengthy process.
"That particular company has to be moved," Heittman said.
Foles is looking at relocating the business on another part of their current property.
McConnell succeeded in contacting Col. Williams at Fort Belvoir to get the project underway. The Army spent $1.7 million to clean up the EPG land.
"When that all ties together, the traffic will flow much better down there," McConnell said. "They don't even have to worry about utilities or land acquisition."
In addition, a $14.58 million contract was recently awarded to New Construction, Inc. of Vienna, for phase III of the Route 123 widening project. This is 1.9 miles, from Route 722 to North Davis Drive. Work is expected to begin in the fall of 2003.