Wednesday, September 13, 2023
In hopes of easing traffic congestion in the local area, several transportation projects are either planned or underway in Centreville and Chantilly. Below are details about some of them, as well as information about new senior housing:
Route 29 Widening
During the afternoon rush hours, Route 29 between Buckley’s Gate Drive and Union Mill Road is 1.5 miles of slow and tedious traffic. That’s when residents are heading home to Centreville, or points west, trying to avoid I-66 west’s gridlock at the same time.
There’s also a bottleneck there during the morning rush, with long backups at the intersection of Clifton and Stringfellow roads. But VDOT has a plan to widen that stretch of Route 29 from four to six lanes.
The goal is to reduce congestion, while improving safety, operations and access. The project will also add and improve 10-foot-wide, shared-use paths along both sides of Route 29 to provide better bicycle and pedestrian access to the trails at the Fairfax County Parkway/West Ox Road Interchange. Planned, as well, are crosswalk improvements at major intersections, with modified signals to accommodate them.
There’ll be intersection improvements at Centreville Farms and Union Mill roads, Clifton and Stringfellow Roads, Meadow Estates Drive and Hampton Forest Way, and Buckleys Gate and Summit drives.
Estimated project cost is $97 million – with construction, alone, comprising $81.8 million of that amount. Work was expected to begin last year, but is now anticipated to start late this year instead, and take approximately two-and-a-half years to finish.
During the March 8 groundbreaking, Supervisor Pat Herrity (R-Springfield) said, “This improvement will get residents where they need to be, instead of sitting in traffic, and will really improve their quality of life. The beneficiaries will also be the people in the neighborhoods off Route 29 who have had to put up with cut-through traffic from I-66 for many years. This project will finish the last section of this road outside of Fairfax City, and I’m looking forward to the ribbon cutting in 2026.”
Route 28 Widening
Rush hour on Route 28 in Centreville is often a bumper-to-bumper affair. But a multimillion-dollar widening project is aimed at easing this gridlock. It’s slated to be completed next year, and workers have been busy for a long time to make it happen.
Route 28 is being widened from four lanes to six, for about 2.3 miles, between the bridge over Bull Run (south of Compton Road) and the Route 29 Interchange. Besides adding more through lanes to Route 28, the project will provide additional lanes on side streets to improve traffic flow.
It will also improve intersection operations, upgrade existing traffic signals and improve bicycle and pedestrian crossings. In addition, new, 10-foot-wide, shared-use paths will be created on both sides of Route 28.
A Fairfax County project, it’s being done in cooperation with VDOT and the Northern Virginia Transportation Authority. Total cost estimate is nearly $79 million. Shirley Contracting Co. is the design-builder, and the county’s Department of Transportation is doing the construction.
As construction at each intersection is finished, workers will focus on the side streets, tying in and facilitating new turn lanes to move traffic easier along Route 28. The road-widening began in summer 2021 and is expected to reach substantial completion sometime in 2024. Noise walls are currently being installed, and this work will continue until completion.
Route 50 Improvements
Under normal traffic conditions, the two-mile segment of Route 50 between Route 28 and Stringfellow Road in Chantilly is clogged during the morning and evening rush. It also averages 71,000 vehicles a day and has a high number of crashes.
So VDOT’s doing a STARS (Strategically Targeted Affordable Roadway Solutions) study to assess how to make this stretch of road function better and safer. According to VDOT engineer Andy Beacher, STARS is used to develop low-cost solutions to traffic problems.
Toward that end, he said, “We studied all the intersections on Route 50 between Stringfellow and Route 28 and are making recommendations. However, there’s no magic bullet for this corridor. It’s very congested because of all the commercial development and commuters.”
VDOT collected traffic and accident data on seven signalized intersections in the study area and then examined both short-term solutions that would help immediately, plus mid-term solutions that would provide relief into 2030. The estimated cost range for these improvements is $8 million to $11 million.
“Right now, we have no funding [to build this project],” said Beacher. “Once we finish the study and choose alternatives, we’ll have cost studies done and then work with Fairfax County to identify funding opportunities.”
Compton Road Shared-Use Path
Fairfax County and VDOT plan to build the Compton Road Shared-Use Path in Centreville. This 10-foot-wide trail will benefit local residents, connect the Bull Run Special Events Center and the Cub Run Trail System, and will also become part of the I-66 Trail Network.
The goal is to improve mobility and travel choices for pedestrians and bicyclists. The work will include a bridge over Cub Run to safely facilitate the shared-use path over the stream. It’ll connect, as well, to the existing Bull Run Loop Trail, Sully Loop Trail and West County Trail, as well as to future trails.
Right-of-way acquisition and utility relocation are anticipated to begin in early 2024. Start of construction is currently planned to start in mid-2027 and is expected to take approximately 20 months. Financed with federal, state and local funds, the total project cost is estimated at $9.3 million.
The Lodge at Autumn Willow
Construction is now underway for The Lodge at Autumn Willow in Chantilly to provide high-quality apartments for senior citizens at prices they can afford. There’ll be 150 independent-living units, with 15 ADA-compliant. Eleven percent of the residents will be seniors at or below 30 percent of the Area Median Income (AMI); 14 percent, at or below 50 percent AMI; and 75 percent of them, at or below 60 percent AMI.
Tucked into a forest near the intersection of Stringfellow Road and Autumn Willow Drive, it’s a partnership of entities including the Fairfax County Redevelopment Housing Authority (FCRHA), Michaels Development Co. and Virginia Housing. Groundbreaking was July 20, and construction is expected to take some eight months.
Michaels Development will manage the property, and the FCRHA will hold the lease for 99 years – guaranteeing the preservation of affordable housing at The Lodge at Autumn Willow for nearly the next century. FCRHA also awarded eight, project-based vouchers, helping ensure that the property will support households with a range of incomes.
Apartments will be one- and two-bedroom units, and the outdoor amenity spaces will include a serenity studio, firepit and recreation area. Onsite walkways on this wooded, 20.5-acre site will connect residents to county trails and the Little Rocky Run stream bed. In addition, new, widened sidewalks will run along Autumn Willow near the entrance. The property will have 135 parking spaces and is located near two fire stations, a hospital and shopping areas.
A basement-level gathering spot is planned at the end of each residential wing, and an accessible ramp leading to the front entrance will be reached via a turn-around loop off Autumn Willow Drive. A canopy in front of the two-story, brick-and-siding building will provide a covered walkway for drop-offs and pickups in the arrival plaza.
The outdoor courtyard between the building’s two wings will contain a reading cove and recreation zone for both active and passive recreation and relaxation. And an existing trail running west to east will be maintained in place, enabling residents to walk to nearby stores.