When thinking of the past year’s events that impacted Springfield, it’s hard not to include transportation in the equation.
The opening of the 495 Express Lanes was the biggest transportation development in 2012. Most of the 50 overpasses were completed in 2011, and in the final year of construction, the Braddock Road and Leesburg Pike (Route 7) access ramps were completed. The Braddock Road ramp is an access point for cars heading north on the express lanes. At Route 7, the ramp provides a southbound access only. Both ramps feature 500-ton box beams that required multiple cranes and full road closures of I-495. Pavement was laid for the new lanes throughout the corridor that are now general-purpose lanes. Over the summer, the electronic tolling system was tested and glitches were ironed out in the control center off Edsall Road in Alexandria. The lanes opened just before Thanksgiving, earlier than scheduled.
While the 495 Express Lane project was wrapping up, the I-95 Express Lanes project was just getting started. The project will expand and improve the existing High Occupancy Vehicle (HOV) lanes from Dumfries to Edsall Road and extend new HOV lanes from Dumfries to Garrisonville Road, resulting in 29 miles of express lanes in which vehicles with three or more people can chose to pay a toll to use the express lanes or they can ride in the general purpose without having to pay. After the ribbon cutting in August, a tree clearing operation throughout the new nine-mile stretch south of Dumfries Road began and will continue through 2013. The project is due to be completed in late 2014.
Other transportation developments in Springfield included the completion of the final phase of the Fairfax County Parkway, which involved the rerouting of Rolling and Hooes Roads. In addition, the Virginia Department of Transportation held a public information meeting on the interchange improvements at the parkway and Rolling Road. Construction on this project is not scheduled to begin until March 2014 and be completed in the summer of 2016. Also along the Fairfax County Parkway, the Saratoga park-and-ride lot was completed by the end of December. The 535-space lot will be a launching point for a Fairfax Connector bus line to Tysons Corner, via the 495 Express Lanes.
On Old Keene Mill Road, work is underway to reconstruct a bridge on Old Keene Mill Road in Springfield that crosses Pohick Creek just east of Huntsman Boulevard. The $2.1 million improvement project will be completed next May. Another bridge rebuilding project is at Hooes Road and Accotink Creek. Throughout most of 2012, motorists were detoured around this area, using the Fairfax County Parkway and Rolling Road. The project is scheduled to be completed in spring 2013.