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Transportation Projects in the Works

* Westfields Interchange: On Oct. 14, 2005 — some 18 months after construction began — the highly anticipated, full-cloverleaf interchange at Westfields and Route 28 finally became a reality.

The $26.7 million project is one of several interchanges being constructed along Route 28 courtesy of a public/private partnership agreement between Shirley Contracting Corp. and The Clark Construction Group and the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT).

The Westfields Interchange includes a four-lane bridge of Westfields Boulevard traffic crossing Route 28, plus two auxiliary lanes, with a trail on one side and a sidewalk on the other. The bridge flies over Route 28, and drivers on both Westfields and Route 28 are now able to flow freely through that intersection without having to stop for a traffic light.

This improvement came as a big relief for people heading toward their jobs in the Westfields Corporate Center during the morning rush, as well as for residents of nearby Sully Station, who had trouble both entering and exiting their community because of all the traffic. It also meant one less stop light for motorists traveling on Route 28.

* Stringfellow Road: The part of Stringfellow between I-66 and Route 29 was four-laned in the 1990s by Fairfax County's Department of Transportation. What's getting into gear now is widening the section from I-66 to Route 50 from two to four lanes, thereby providing a seamless, four-lane conduit between Route 50 in Chantilly and Route 29 in Clifton/Centreville.

Stringfellow's been designated a four-lane, divided road on Fairfax County's Comprehensive Plan since the early 1970s, but the project stalled due to a lack of funds. A November 2004 bond referendum brought $16 million for design and right-of-way acquisition, and now VDOT is seeking the public's input on the design concept.

Due to the area's extensive growth, the project's goal is to reduce traffic congestion on Stringfellow, especially during evening and morning peaks. Two plans are currently on the table. Each shows four, 12-foot-wide travel lanes, a 10-foot multipurpose trail, a 5-foot sidewalk and a 16-foot, grass median.

But one also includes two, 4-foot, on-road bicycle lanes. Stormwater-management facilities to handle runoff from the impervious surface may be in the mix, too, and soundwalls are also a possibility. Estimated cost in 2006 dollars is $37 million without bike lanes, and $43 million with them.

Although county voters approved $13 million to widen Stringfellow Road, another $20 million or so would come from VDOT — involving federal money. Because of that, there's no telling when any money for this project will be forthcoming. Meanwhile, a formal public hearing on this project is slated for the winter of 2006-07.

* Route 50: 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. But it's not yet designed, the cost isn't known and — if it requires an Environmental Impact Statement — that could take anywhere from two to three years.

* Braddock/Old Lee roads alignment: The planned realignment of Braddock Road through Quinn Farm Park and tying into Old Lee Road is intended to be four lanes. But this project may not materialize any sooner than six years because of the limited amount of money available for road projects.

* Stone Road: The Stone Road project is estimated to cost more than $1 million and be financed by the Centreville Road Fund. It's a safety project that was triggered several years ago by a series of accidents on that street. 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.

So what's now planned is the extension of 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.

A couple streets will no longer be able to make a left turn coming out onto Stone. Instead, motorists coming from Olde Kent Road and Southwarke will make a U-turn at a light, which is safer.

These changes will also alleviate traffic problems at Route 29 near the London Towne community. It's hoped that the work will be under construction by this fall.

* Parkway Interchange: The Fairfax County Parkway between I-66 and Route 50 carries some 64,000 vehicles per day, with 118,000 vehicles per day projected by 2025. So VDOT wants to widen Fairfax County Parkway within the existing median to six lanes — three in each direction — between I-66 and Route 50.

But an interchange — already in the county's Comprehensive Plan — is also needed to handle the congestion. Currently, because of heavy traffic and the stoplight at the Fair Lakes Parkway intersection, northbound Fairfax County Parkway backs up to the I-66 interchange during morning rush hour.

Similarly, southbound Fairfax County Parkway traffic is backed to the Route 50 interchange during the afternoon rush. And shopping centers along Fair Lakes Parkway also draw weekend motorists.

The interchange is in VDOT's Tentative Six-Year Plan, and the $5 million design phase and $2 million land-acquisition and utilities-relocation phase are both funded. But no funds are as yet earmarked for the $45 million — in today's dollars — needed for construction. Meanwhile, the interchange design would be as follows:

Traffic flow on both parkways will be improved by eliminating the signalized intersections at Fair Lakes Parkway and Monument Drive. And the additional lanes on the Fairfax County Parkway will improve traffic flow from south of I-66 to north of Rugby Road.

Planned is a split-diamond, grade-separated interchange, with a free-flowing Fairfax County Parkway bridging over Fair Lakes Parkway and Monument Drive. These two roads will have full access to the Fairfax County Parkway via four ramps. Through traffic would be separated from local ramp traffic, with traffic signals on the ramps, not on the parkway.

Due to the close proximity of Fair Lakes Parkway to the existing interchanges at I-66 and Rugby Road, an additional auxiliary lane will be required in each direction between interchange ramps (I-66 to Fair Lakes Parkway, and Fair Lakes Parkway to Route 50).

Fair Lakes Parkway will be widened to accommodate the necessary left-turn lanes for the interchange. Beginning at Fair Lakes Parkway, a multi-purpose trail is anticipated along the east side of Fairfax County Parkway with a connection to the existing trail at Rocky Run Stream Valley Park. And because of safety concerns, North Lake Drive would be made a cul-de-sac so it no longer intersects with Fairfax County Parkway.