Supervisor Dan Storck (D-Mount Vernon) lives in the area and knows what it’s like to ride along the road that highway with cars whizzing by. “For me, 30 years of going down this trail, risking my life,” is one of his biking memories, he said.
Chairman Jeff McKay (D) grew up around the corner, and noted the complexities with the trail. It connects to Jeff Todd Way on the western side of Route 1, passing through an area with historic and environmental issues, on federally owned land. “There’s a lot of complications,” McKay said. “Our residents in Fairfax County know how important it is to have excellent infrastructure,” he added.
Currently, bicyclists and pedestrians have to go on the Mount Vernon Memorial Highway to cross the creek, but with the new pedestrian bridge, that will be avoided. The new steel girder bridge with concrete parapets will be 218-feet long and 14-feet wide, crossing the creek on the north side of the road. It is one of the missing segments of the Potomac Heritage National Scenic Trail.
Currently this segment of trail crosses over the highway in a couple of spots, and follows a narrow, wooded path just off the road. The trail will follow the current path but will be improved. Some of this stretch of trail has been repaved already, and the rest will be done throughout 2022. This improved transportation element will “help our community reach its full potential,” Storck said.
There are five challenging crossings in this area:
- Grist Mill Woods Way to Fort Belvoir Walker's Gate Entrance
- Fort Belvoir Walker's Gate Entrance to Grist Mill Road
- Grist Mill Road to Old Mill Road
- Old Mill Road to Grist Mill Park Entrance
- Peartree Landing to Southwood Drive
The Fairfax County Department of Transportation has coordinated efforts with Fort Belvoir to plan this and is implementing an environmental protection plan when working around the creek. Sam Lim, the Fairfax County engineer on this project, mentioned the presence of snakehead fish in the creek.