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Tysons Corner Under Construction

Metrorail extension, HOT lanes projects will make traffic situation worse before they make it better.

Two of the region’s largest transportation construction projects, the Dulles Metrorail extension and Capital Beltway’s High Occupancy Toll [HOT] lanes, got underway simultaneously this year.

They also converge at Tysons Corner and promise to make what is already a difficult traffic situation in the area even worse over the next four years.

Tysons Corner, which straddles McLean and Vienna, is Fairfax County’s large business district and Virginia’s largest source of sales tax revenue. It is often called the "economic engine" of the commonwealth but is also notorious for traffic congestion.

ONCE COMPLETED, officials expect the projects to bring transportation relief, particularly because they will provide more transit options for people who work and live around Tysons Corner.

Commuters and residents will be able to ride the subway to and from Tysons Corner once the first phase of the Metrorail project is complete in 2013. The HOT lanes, also set to open in 2013, will allow people from as far south as Springfield, to take a bus on the Capital Beltway into Tysons Corner.

But the massive amount of construction that is underway now will require traffic detours and lane closures in Tysons over the next four years.

The Metrorail project includes the construction of four new subway stations in Tysons Corner: Tysons East at Route 123 near the Capital One headquarters, Tysons Central 7 at Route 7 just northwest of Route 123, Tysons Central 123 at Route 123 and Tysons Boulevard, and Tysons West at Route 123 and Spring Hill Road.

Workers are also constructing a short tunnel for the Metrorail train near the intersection of Route 123 and Route 7.

THE HOT LANES project calls for four additional lanes to the Capital Beltway from Springfield to Tysons Corner. It also requires the construction of several new access ramps along the beltway, including three new access points in Tysons Corner alone.

In order to provide HOT lanes access to the Dulles Toll Road, construction workers will have to widen bridges and change traffic patterns in areas around the toll road. The toll road would also have to be closed during some off-peak hours, according to officials.

The addition of an access point at Jones Branch Drive has impacted the Jones Branch connector, which will be reduced to one lane of traffic for much of the construction period.

A HOT lanes connection will also be built at the Westpark Drive bridge, which connects Tysons Corner north of Route 123 to the Tysons Corner mall. Construction has already started on the bridge, which must be widened, and impacts traffic flow on Route 123 near the Tysons Corner mall.

Finally, the HOT lanes project calls for the reconstruction of the Route 7 bridge over the Capital Beltway and would require several lane closures and shifts near the Route 7/Capital Beltway exchange over the duration of the project.