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Road Projects Moving Forward

Frey updates Sully District Council.

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Artist’s rendition of a widened, Walney Road Bridge, with inset photo of current bridge

— Transportation was the topic last week when Supervisor Michael R. Frey (R-Sully) addressed the Sully District Council of Citizens Associations, updating the panel and audience on local road projects.

“We have a fair amount of transportation improvements coming in the next two years,” he said last Wednesday, June 26. “And for the first time in awhile, there’s some optimism that we’ll be able to [carry them out] because of the passage of the transportation bill.”

And it’s a good thing some money is finally available, said Frey, because road improvements don’t come cheap. Take the current widening of Stringfellow Road between Fair Lakes Boulevard and Route 50 from two lanes to four, he said.

“Today’s estimate for that project is $63 million for 1.9 miles,” said Frey. “That’s $31.5 million/mile.”

Basically, he said, “Everything is increasing in cost tremendously. And it’s partly because Congress passed a law saying that the owner of property taken by a government for eminent domain must not only receive fair-market value, but must also be compensated for the lost income on it.”

Frey said the economy is on “a slight uptick. Homes are staying on the market a little less and prices are rising. So we’re starting to see growth again and new construction.”

By the end of the year, he said, “We should be able to do additional improvements on Route 28 between the toll road and Route 50. The Comprehensive Plan shows four lanes total there. We’ve been designing it with Route 28 Tax District money, but now we can use some of this new revenue source for it.”

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Michael Frey discusses local road projects.

Also on Route 28, Frey said VDOT’s about ready to award the contract and start construction, in the next couple months, to lengthen the dual left-turn lanes going from Route 28 south to eastbound I-66. This project is anticipated to be finished by the end of this year or the beginning of 2014. Estimated cost is $2 million.

The existing Route 29 bridge over Little Rocky Run needs to be replaced, so a new bridge with a six-lane capacity will be built. “Some design work is needed and right-of-way has to be acquired,” said Frey. “Work is hoped to be underway by the end of the year or February or March. It’ll take 15 months to build and should be done by summer 2015.”

The box culvert on Lee Road will be extended, and Lee Road will be widened from two lanes to four over Schneider Branch. Construction should begin in March 2014 and end a year later. Estimated cost is $4.2 million.

Regarding the Walney Road bridge over Flatlick Branch, the existing bridge will be replaced with a new, four-lane bridge with bike lanes. Cost estimate is $7 million. In addition, Walney Road will be widened from two to four lanes from 250 feet south of Mariah Court to Willard Road. Cost estimate is $8.5 million.

“There’s federal funding for the bridge replacement, but the Walney Road piece is a separate project with separate funding,” said Frey. “By the end of 2015, we should have a new bridge and a four-lane Walney from Route 50 to Route 28.”

Also on the horizon is the widening of Stonecroft Boulevard from the Marriott service entrance to Westfields Boulevard. “The Westfield Business Park proffered in the 1980s to have Stonecroft/Westfield boulevards be six lanes,” said Frey. “Their capacities haven’t been huge problems, but Westfields Boulevard on the other side of Route 28 is mostly six lanes. The work could start later this summer and is being managed by the Westfield Business Owners Association.”

So overall, said Frey, “We’re trying to figure out how to spend the transportation money wisely and where it’s needed most.”