New Bridge for Walker Road

New Bridge for Walker Road

Pedestrian access will be provided with new bridge.

A one-lane bridge on Walker Road will be replaced soon, and with it will come a place for bicyclists to ride, pedestrians to walk and maybe even horses to ride.

"That bridge was always a two-lane bridge until everyone got SUVs," said Eleanor Weck, chair of the Great Falls Trailblazers during their meeting Wednesday evening.

When the bridge is replaced, Weck said she was told it would be possible to include a pedestrian section on the bridge.

"My reaction was that we'd rather have a separate bridge altogether for pedestrians, but we don't have the funds for that," she said.

The bridge will have a shoulder three feet wide to provide some space between the bridge and the road, she said, but the Virginia Department of Transportation and Fairfax County have different setback requirements for how far the pedestrian area should be from the road.

"If you say yes to the bridge, VDOT will be happy," said member Joan Barnes. "If, in the future, the alignment of trails and roadways becomes a problem, you'll be able to vacate the trail because wider is always better in their eyes," she said.

"I'm concerned about this though," said member Cathy Mayes. "People do walk on that stretch of the road right now and will use that bridge. Is there any way at all we could tap into different resources and have a separate bridge built?" she asked.

Weck said that if the Trailblazers could get a 10 percent match or about $50,000 from Dranesville District Supervisor Joan DuBois to pay for the construction of a separate bridge, "we might have a chance."

ADDITIONALLY, Weck gave a brief report on the Governors Conference on Greenways, Blueways and Trails that she attended in April.

"There is a state and federal push on the Walk to School program," she said.

If parents are concerned about the safety of their child walking to school, it may be a good idea for the parents to walk with their child, either on their own or to school, she said.

"This project encourages kids to exercise. At some schools where the children can't walk to school, they're having the kids walk a mile around a track during the day," she said.

At the conference, the Trust for Public Land discussed connecting walkways and green areas within communities to conserve space, Weck said.

"Currently they're building a greenway around Baltimore," she said. "It's a big idea. Then again, if they come out here and realize how expensive our land is, they might say we can't do it, but it's worth looking at," she said.

The group also discussed a possible trail that would extend down Walker Road and Ad Hoc Lane that is currently being talked about by the Fairfax County Department of Public Works and Environmental Services and VDOT.

"It's a question of easements. It's not about not having enough money or needing funding," said member Mary Anger.

"We have a right of way from VDOT," Weck said. "The big shock was that the homeowner at the other end of Ad Hoc Lane said she'd donate her right of way, but the DPW plans to take down all these pine trees even though we can build the trail well within the right of way," she said.