VDOT BREAKS GROUND FOR INTERCHANGE ON FAIRFAX COUNTY PARKWAY AT FAIR LAKES
Three-year project to smooth traffic flow
FAIRFAX, VA?Federal, state and local officials dug the first shovels of dirt on a $69.7 million, three-year project to unclog one of the most congested intersections in northern Virginia, the Fairfax County Parkway and Fair Lakes Parkway. The intersection will be replaced with an interchange to smooth traffic and accommodate future growth, according to the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT).
"The 66,000 motorists who travel through this area each day will shave valuable minutes off their trips to work, school and shopping," said Virginia Transportation Secretary Sean Connaughton. "While construction-related delays will be a hassle at times, once local and Parkway traffic is separated and signals are removed, it will prove worth the wait."
Project costs include $8.9 million for engineering, $2.6 million for right of way acquisition and utility relocation, and $58.2 million for construction. VDOT used $40.8 million in federal stimulus dollars which allowed the project to advance by at least two years. The project was in the “unfunded” category prior to receiving stimulus money.
The Fairfax County Parkway will be widened from four to six lanes for three miles, from south of I-66 to Rugby Road. Signals at Fair Lakes Parkway and Monument Drive will be eliminated. Long ramps will provide safe, separate access to and from Fair Lakes Parkway and Monument Drive. Shared-use paths and sidewalks will enhance pedestrian and cyclist access at the interchange and to the Rocky Run Stream Valley Park trail system.
In addition to the new interchange, drivers will enjoy the following benefits:
- No signals on Fairfax County Parkway from Popes Head Road to Route 50;
- Improved traffic flow on Fair Lakes Parkway and Monument Drive by separating local and Parkway traffic; and,
- Improved traffic flow at I-66, Route 50 and Rugby Road with the additional lanes of Fairfax County Parkway.
“Drivers won't have to wait until the entire project is finished to see significant improvements,” said VDOT Assistant District Administrator for Preliminary Engineering Bill Cuttler. "Each phase of construction will provide incremental improvements."
What motorists can expect during construction
VDOT’s traffic management plan during construction is aimed at keeping traffic moving during the busiest travel times, minimizing delays and notifying the public well in advance of major traffic shifts and detours.
- No lane closures will take place during the morning and evening rush hours, holidays or during the day on weekends.
- Motorists can expect lanes closures weekdays between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m., week nights between 9 p.m. and 5 a.m. and on weekends between 9 p.m. and 9 a.m.
- Fairfax County Parkway traffic will continue to have four lanes and full access to Fair Lakes Parkway and Monument Drive but will require some traffic shifts.
- North Lake Drive’s intersection with the Fairfax County Parkway will be removed early 2011 to enhance safety on the Parkway. Motorists will access North Lake Drive via Tall Timbers Drive.
- Beginning next summer, traffic on Fair Lakes Parkway heading towards the intersection will be detoured to Fair Lakes Circle for about six months.
- In November 2011, Fairfax County Parkway traffic will be shifted to the new northbound and southbound ramps to allow for the reconstruction of the Parkway over Fair Lakes Parkway and Monument Drive. For safety purposes, the speed limits to those ramps will be lowered from 50 mph to 40 mph for about one year.
- In December 2012 new bridges over Fair Lakes Parkway and Monument Drive will open to traffic.
- In July 2013 traffic will be in its final configuration and new roadway lighting, signs and will be in place although final paving will need to be completed.
- In October 2013 final paving and pavement markings will be completed.
- Fair Lakes Community
A number of features have been incorporated in the project’s design to preserve and aesthetically enhance the identity of Fair Lakes including retaining walls to reduce right-of-way impacts and preserve existing trees, retaining walls and sound barriers with an ashlar stone finish, ornamental lighting along pedestrian facilities and landscaping.
The Fair Lakes League also has plans for additional landscaping, irrigation systems, new community signage and will supplement future maintenance of the project’s grass and landscaped areas. Their continued efforts will ensure a “sense of place” remains once the project is complete.
VDOT is hosting a “Pardon Our Dust” meeting Wednesday, Oct. 27 at 6 p.m. at the Fairfax County Government Center Board Auditorium. A short presentation will begin at 6:30 p.m. and VDOT's project team will be on hand to answer project questions.
Project information and updates are available here.