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Frey Gives Update on Road Projects

Discusses Walney/Braddock, Route 50, Stringfellow, Stone.

With traffic travails uppermost in many people's minds these days, Supervisor Michael R. Frey (R-Sully) gave a road-project update Monday night to the West Fairfax County Citizens Association (WFCCA).

WFCCA President Ted Troscianecki wanted to know how the Walney Road/Route 28 study is coming along, as well as improvements to Route 50 between Route 28 and Loudoun County. Frey also discussed the transportation projects for Stringfellow and Stone roads.

To ease traffic congestion and reduce accidents at the Route 28/Braddock/Walney roads intersection, VDOT's proposing a partial median closure there and installation of a median island. Drivers could no longer cross Route 28 between Walney and Braddock.

Walney's left lane would be removed, with traffic only turning right from Walney onto Route 28 north, through a channelized island. Both lanes coming from Braddock onto Route 28 would turn right only. Motorists could no longer turn left onto Route 28. They'd instead take the Westfields Interchange.

"[Residents] met with VDOT in the fall," said Frey. "And clearly, the biggest concern was, 'Why are you inconveniencing communities to move the problems 400 yards to the next light?' People living on the west side of Route 28 said, 'Don't do it.' Those on the east side, like Cabell's Mill, said, 'Do it,' because it would help with the cut-through problems they're currently facing."

So VDOT's looking at other possibilities. For example, from Route 28 north to I-66 west is a left turn, and that might be blocked, directing motorists instead down Route 29 to I-66. Said Frey: "VDOT deserves credit for following through with the comments they heard."

Regarding Route 50 from Route 28 to the county line, last fall the Commonwealth Transportation Board (CTB) approved $19 million to improve it to six lanes in one spot, but mainly to four lanes. Frey said VDOT hasn't yet hired an engineering firm to do the design and no one knows the cost. And, he warned, "It'll probably require a full-blown, federal, Environmental Impact Statement — which can take anywhere from two to three years."

AS FOR the plan to widen Stringfellow Road, he said although county voters approved $13 million for it, another $20 million would come from VDOT — involving federal money. And because of that, said Frey, "We may one day see Stringfellow Road lined with soundwalls."

He said the planned realignment of Braddock Road through Quinn Farm Park and tying into Old Lee Road is intended to be four lanes. But he doesn't expect it to materialize any sooner than six years "because of the limited amount of money we're getting."

And regarding the proposed roundabout by Cox Farms, Frey — not altogether joking — said, "It's gotten to be the most ridiculously expensive project in history, because of drainage problems. When it hit $5 million, I said, 'Stop.' And you can't have a traffic light [there] because the intersection's geometrics are so small."

Frey next discussed the Stone Road project, estimated to cost more than $1 million and be financed by the Centreville Road Fund. He said it's a safety project that was triggered several years ago by a series of accidents on that street. The late Dick Frank was the Sully District representative on the Transportation Advisory Commission, at the time, and he and Frey searched for a solution to the problem.

"We discussed safety there and looked at the accidents that had occurred," said Frey. "Most were angle and rear-end accidents — people pulling out across traffic and getting hit, or turning left where there were no turn lanes — and getting hit."

What's now planned is to extend the Stone Road median from just below Newton Patent Drive to Route 29. Battery Ridge and Billingsgate Lane will get left-turn, stacking lanes in both directions on Stone. And the lower Billingsgate Lane entrance at London Towne Elementary will get better left-turn lanes and a traffic light.

"And a couple streets — including my neighborhood — will no longer be able to make a left turn coming out onto Stone," said Frey. "Instead, people coming from Olde Kent Road and Southwarke will make a U-turn at a light — which is safer."

He said these changes will also alleviate traffic problems at Route 29 near the London Towne community. Said Frey: "If all goes well, we'll have it under construction by fall of this year."