Traffic headaches in Lorton will continue for the foreseeable future, as a proposed two-month closure on Gunston Cove Road will relocate more cars on Richmond Highway and hopes of reopening Gunston Cove Road Bridge have been shot down.
Tom Howard, speaking on behalf of Supervisor Gerry Hyland (D-Mount Vernon), told members of the South County Federation he's been in contact with Nick Roper, district bridge engineer in Northern Virginia for the Department of Transportation. Hyland asked Roper if it might be possible to re-open the one-lane wooden bridge over the CSX railroad tracks. Opening the bridge, which has been closed for over two years, would help alleviate traffic congestion on Richmond Highway while the Peterson Companies closes a portion of Gunston Cove Road east of Richmond Highway to realign sewer pipes.
Roper sent an e-mail, distributed during a meeting of the Federation on Tuesday, April 10, stating that CSX is responsible for repairing the bridge, not VDOT. Additionally, Roper said it would take between six months and a year to complete the repairs necessary to re-open the bridge.
Federation vice president Tim Rizer said he was frustrated that "no one seems to be responsible" for repairing the bridge.
"If CSX does own the bridge, they should be responsible for maintaining it, but then they don't do that and it just gets worse," he said. "It also seems like Fairfax County and VDOT just don't care."
Howard said the county has offered $2,000 to VDOT for a study of the bridge to determine what repairs would be needed to re-open the bridge.
"It would probably cost about $50,000 to reopen the bridge," Rizer said. "I'm tired of the whole routine. It's a circular argument we've had for the past two years."
LATER IN THE meeting, transportation and public safety committee chair Shean Robinson presented a motion urging the denial of Peterson Companies' request to close Gunston Cove Road.
"The impact it will have on the Mason Neck and Gunston Cove area are unreasonable," Robinson said.
The Peterson Companies has a contract to build a group of homes on Gunston Cove Road, but after digging into the ground to begin work, it discovered that a sewer line installed by KSI was slightly higher than their blueprints indicate. The lines would have to be taken out and re-installed before the homes could be built.
The resolution, unanimously approved by the Federation, states that no traffic study was completed to determine the amount of traffic congestion would result from the closure. An estimated 2,000 daily trips come from the Mason Neck area, the resolution stated.
"We're hoping to get a better understanding of how much traffic would be re-routed onto Lorton and Armistead roads," Robinson said. "The traffic in the morning already stacks up on Route 1 because of the left turn onto Gunston Cove Road and the left turn from Route 1 onto Armistead is green-light only, and the light is short."
The resolution will be sent to VDOT, the Peterson Companies and Hyland, Robinson said.