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Problem Intersection at Seneca Road to be Addressed

The North Seneca Citizens Association plans a public meeting to discuss a proposal for a new shopping center at the northwest quadrant of the intersection of Georgetown Pike and Seneca Road.

The meeting will be held at 6:30 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 30, in the community room at the Great Falls Library, according to Ralph Lazaro, president of the NSCA.

He said a traffic study, performed by Fairfax County’s Office of Transportation last month at the request of Dranesville Supervisor Stuart Mendelsohn, showed heavier volume on Seneca Road than what was projected when plans for the shopping center were initially submitted for county approval.

“That has prompted everyone’s attention,” Lazaro said. “They are realizing there is a problem with this size of shopping center.”

Because of traffic congestion at the intersection, “Up on Seneca Road, we are getting dumped on,” Lazaro said.

The shopping center parcel was created more than 15 years ago in a land swap that was arranged to resolve a dispute over a parcel of land off Weant Drive in Great Falls that had once been used as a sawmill.

After it was rezoned for residential use, the owner filed a lawsuit challenging the legality of “downzoning” an isolated parcel of land.

To settle it, the county traded the parcel for commercial property at the confluence of Route 7, Georgetown Pike, and Seneca Road on the western edge of Great Falls.

That is where the shopping center is planned. It is proposed as a two-story building with an entrance from Seneca Road and one turn lane, Lazaro said.

He and other residents say a second turn lane is needed to accommodate traffic the intersection, said Lazaro.

Since the land swap was arranged, one shopping center has already been built at the northeast quadrant of the Seneca-Georgetown Pike intersection opposite from the proposed site of the new center.

An expansion of an animal hospital at the southeast quadrant of the same intersection is now under way.

A project to widen Route 7 to six lanes will also impact the intersection,. The Virginia Department of Transportation plans to level and straighten the at-grade intersection of Route 7 and Georgetown Pike.