Driving Through the Braddock District

Lessons Learned from Snow Summit to be Applied to Future Events

On March 16, the Board of Supervisors, along with with VDOT, the Public Schools and Fairfax representatives to the General Assembly, hosted a Snow Summit at the Government Center to assess what worked well and what did not during this winter’s historic snowfall. The general consensus was that the exchange of information would be valuable, not only for the next snow storm, but for any emergency. Detailed presentations can be reviewed at the following site: http://www.fairfaxcounty.gov/news/snowsummit

More than 45 inches of snow fell in Northern Virginia between January 29 and February 11, 2010. Over 2,200 pieces of equipment were mobilized by VDOT to clear 17,000 lane miles; (including 8,000 lane miles in Fairfax) equal to 6 trips across the continental U.S. Ninety percent of these plows were contracted, and included crews from New York, Pennsylvania and Maryland. Twenty million tons of snow were removed from area roads and had to be hauled away from many interstates. Crews worked 12-hour shifts, and most slept in hotels or in their trucks. Widespread power outages and hundreds of downed trees also complicated snow removal efforts.

Most participants agreed that the Command Center at the Fairfax County Public Safety Technical Operations Center enhanced the ability of all first responders to interact with each other and respond to trouble spots. Over 34,000 calls were logged from residents, which stands in stark contrast to the 300 calls received during an average 6 inch storm.

Positives included the sharing of precipitation and mobilization information; VDOT’s targeted response to specific concerns raised by public officials and its active coordination with public safety agencies and utility companies. Community volunteers who assisted with snow removal from neighborhood sidewalks and bus stops also made a significant difference in reopening schools.

Participants agreed that more training, oversight and accountability of contractors was crucial. Improving communication with those drivers through the use of Automatic Vehicle Locator (AVL) devices and exploring contracts for additional heavy equipment to respond to larger storms was emphasized.
A major concern was what appeared to be inconsistency in clearing subdivisions despite assurances that roads were checked by monitors after plowing. VDOT agreed to explore assistance from other agencies and to consider using equipment, drivers/monitors from local governments.
However, the overarching comment was the need to communicate better with residents so that they know what to expect and when to expect it.The many cleared sidewalks which were subsequently covered by the plows was mentioned by multiple attendees.

All suggestions received from Braddock residents were made a part of the record and Supervisor Cook thanks everyone in the community for their patience, cooperation and sense of volunteer spirit during those difficult weeks.


HOT Lanes Project to Accelerate Construction, Will Shave Months off Bridge Construction Time

Staff from VDOT Megaprojects and Fluor Lane met with citizens at Annandale High School on March 30, to announce acceleration in the construction schedule for the Little River Turnpike bridge over the Beltway.

Phase 1 of the bridge construction is almost complete, and traffic will shift for both east and westbound traffic to the new bridge as early as next week, weather permitting. However, demolition of the current westbound bridge will now be compressed, taking place at night between April and August, 2010.
Construction of the new westbound bridge will immediately follow demolition and will be completed in October, 2011. A full seven months sooner than planned. This traffic shift will necessitate the creation of a new Yield for traffic heading from I-495 northbound onto westbound Little River Turnpike and may result in sporadic backups. There will be two westbound lanes and three eastbound lanes on the newly opened span.

Bridge work on Braddock Road is also progressing, and the new deck is currently being laid. Plans are to open the new bridge in early May, after which night time demolition of the current bridge will also begin. This work will require saw cutting of the bridge sections, although VDOT regulations require that the concrete be “pounded off” the metal infrastructure. Part of this demolition will include the removal of the existing bridge piers abutments, and will result in the permanent re-opening of 4 travel lanes between Braddock Road and Gallows Road for through traffic on the Beltway in December, 2010 an improvement over the current schedule of 14 months.

Sound wall construction and required utility relocation is also moving quickly now that the weather has improved. The contractor hopes to complete the North Springfield segment parallel to Jervis Street within three months. A link to the full presentation on these modifications can be found at: http://www.vamegaprojects.com/faqsdocuments/i495-hot-lanes-documents/#Presentations A Project Fact Sheet is available at: http://www.vamegaprojects.com/about-megaprojects/i495-hot-lanes/i495-fact-sheet-page/


Traffic Calming Measures may be Coming to Wakefield Chapel Road

All interested community members are invited to attend a meeting - hosted by Supervisor Cook - that will examine possible traffic slowing measures along Wakefield Chapel Road. The meeting will take place on Thursday, April 29, 2010, 7:30 PM at Wakefield Forest Elementary School. Representatives from VDOT and FCDOT will be joined by Supervisor Cook and Delegate Watts, to talk about traffic flow along Wakefield Chapel Road since the HOT Lanes construction has begun. They will discuss what options might be feasible to deal with increasing traffic and speeding along what has become an important north-south route in the Braddock District.

This is an important opportunity for you as residents to take a look at the options and to share any concerns you may have. Please mark your calendars!


Long Range Transportation Planning - May 5 at Braddock/Fairfax/Mason Forum

On May 5, at 7:30 P.M., the Braddock/Fairfax/Mason Forum will be meeting at the City of Fairfax City Hall Council Chambers. Information will be presented on the Long Range Transportation and Traffic Management Planning Group’s study. This group is a combination of Supervisor Cook’s prior Braddock/GMU Forum and a similar group formed by Fairfax City and GMU.

The presentation will inform community members of future plans and goals regarding transportation in and around the George Mason University campus. All who are interested in the ideas being discussed for future traffic and transportation management in this busy area of the Braddock District are most welcome to attend.

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