VDOT Eyeing Parkway Widening

More lanes, reconfigured interchanges on Fairfax County Parkway under consideration.

— Anyone who has sat in the long line of traffic on the Fairfax County Parkway waiting for the light at the Popes Head Road intersection can tell there needs to

be something done for this major thoroughfare. The Virginia Department of Transportation has a solution, and revealed several options at the recent public meetings that addresses a five-mile stretch of the parkway between Route 29 (Lee Highway) and Route 123 (Ox Road).

According to VDOT, the $194 million project, which includes the Popes Head Road intersection, the future Shirley Gate Road Extension, and other intersections along the route “aims to relieve congestion and improve safety.”

Larry Hoss, who lives off Popes Head Road, has seen one of the VDOT plans which incorporates three or four roundabouts and thinks it is too much. “The way this is designed is like a concrete jungle,” he said, and refers to a drawing he’s made that takes away the roundabout to Shirley Gate that would help a new park that’s planned for that area. His map is labeled the “Preferred Interchange Design Option based on priorities/input of surrounding communities.” He also wants to shelve any idea for the future park: “Let this be another project,” he said.

Susie Ellis lives in Fairfax Station and was concerned about the traffic on Ox Road, and what it would be like after the two lanes turning onto Burke Centre Parkway were closed, which is one of the options.

“We already have problems getting in and out of our neighborhood,” she said.

Another lane on both sides of the parkway will mean more traffic and more noise, which others are concerned about, but at least the traffic would be moving and not stopped for several traffic light signal cycles, like it is now. Nick Roper, VDOT engineer, has heard the noise concerns. “There will be some new noise walls but there won’t be noise walls everywhere,” he said.

The homeowners along this stretch of the parkway have a few things to ponder, and the comment period is open but the project is a ways off yet, and the

widening date “has not yet been established,” said Roper. The Popes Head Road interchange is part of Phase I, and will be built first with some of the funding already in place for this part. Roper put the completion date for this interchange in 2022.

The project is being financed with federal, state and local funds, including Smart Scale and Northern Virginia Transportation Authority funding.

For those interested in submitting official comments, the comment period will be continued until Oct. 15.

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