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Votes

Pleasant Valley Curves Will be Improved

Starting Friday, June 18, sections of Pleasant Valley Road will be closed to traffic so much-needed work may be done to remedy three dangerous curves.

"It's been a long time coming," said Supervisor Michael R. Frey (R-Sully). "Everybody's anxiously awaiting it."

Work will continue until Sept. 3, with Pleasant Valley being closed alternately between Braddock Road and Route 50 and between Route 29 and Route 50. Traffic will be detoured out Stonecroft Boulevard onto Poplar Tree Road, out to Stone Road and onto Route 29.

Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) spokeswoman Joan Morris said it's necessary to expedite the project: "Obviously, we want to get the road back open and completed before school begins." If Pleasant Valley remained open during this project, VDOT says the work would take seven months to complete.

"Jeremy Williams will be project inspector," said VDOT's Cher Kennedy, the project's manager. "We want a quality job, and he'll make sure it is. And we want it on time and under budget." A & W Contracting of Lorton will do the work and, said Kennedy, "He'll get a penalty if he doesn't get it done by Sept. 3."

Local residents first became concerned about Pleasant Valley Road, four years ago, when a couple accidents occurred within two months of each other. Parents became even more upset after a dump truck and a schoolbus full of children grazed each other there.

Trucks were later banned from that road, but still lurking were three, dangerous curves on Pleasant Valley between Routes 50 and 29. But thanks to Frey, the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors and VDOT, those curves will be fixed. Frey worked with VDOT and got the Supervisors to endorse allocating the money to do these projects.

Kennedy said engineering, land-acquisition and construction will cost an estimated $2 million total. Fixing the curves will cost $900,000. They'll be straightened as part of VDOT's Hazard Elimination Safety Program, and the money comes mainly from a federal pot.

* Curve 1 is just south of Pleasant Valley Golf Course, between it and Braddock Road. A hairpin curve, it's too sharp and tight.

* Curve 2 is between Braddock Road and Elk Lick Run Creek, where Braddock Road crests into a small hill.

* Curve 3 is between the creek and Virginia Run Elementary, south of Braddock Road near Cox Farm. Both curves 2 and 3 curve at hill crests, causing sight-distance problems. Vegetation near the road also makes it difficult to see.

The lanes are 10 1/2-11-feet wide now, and they'll be increased to 12 feet wide with 6-foot-wide paved shoulders. VDOT plans to soften the curves and put in shoulders to improve sight distance and give drivers room for recovery and errors. It will also remedy the ditches and culverts at all three locations. Said Kennedy: "We'll put in ditch lines outside the shoulders to help the drainage."

The job will be done in two stages. Phase one will fix Curves 1 and 2. Phase two, anticipated to start in late July, will fix Curve 3.