Moving Through the Braddock District: A Look at Transportation Issues Impacting our Community

Summer paving Projects on Guinea, Olley, Steamboat Landing

   Every summer the Fairfax Maintenance Section of the Virginia Department of Transportation begins its annual process of repaving part of the 9,500 “lane miles” of roads throughout Fairfax County for which it is responsible. Of those roads, about 6,000 lane miles are on residential streets. 
   A lane mile is measured by taking the length of the road and multiplying it by the number of lanes.  Thus, a segment of Braddock Road that was one mile long, but had four lanes would yield four “lane miles” of paving.  Most roads require one of five categories of maintenance work: ordinary maintenance (pothole and ditch repair, mowing); resurfacing; restoration; rehabilitation; or reconstruction.
   In selecting roads for resurfacing, VDOT assumes a 10 year maintenance life cycle.  Budget reductions allow VDOT to repave only about 200 of the 950 miles of repaving it should undertake to keep current.  As a result VDOT must prioritize which roads to resurface. 
   This year, VDOT will pave three roads in the Braddock District:
   Guinea Road, from Braddock Road to Twinbrook Road (July 23-August 24) and Olley Lane, from Braddock Road to Little River Turnpike (September 16-October 15)
   Both of these roads have received noise waivers from Fairfax County to allow night time paving only.  This is to ensure that daytime traffic congestion is minimized.  No use of a jackhammer is permitted.  In addition, daytime paving will occur on Steamboat Landing Lane from Fred Oaks Road to Eagle Landing Road (October 15-23).
   If you have roads that should be submitted for consideration for next year, please let me know.


HOT Lanes Project Temporarily Halted, Now Reopened

   On June 19, my office became aware that a complaint had been lodged with the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) against the Capital Beltway HOT Lanes Project.  This complaint identified continuing failures of the Sediment and Erosion Controls protecting Accotink Creek between Little River Turnpike and Braddock Road. I was also advised that both DCR and VDOT had inspected the controls in other areas of the project and found three sites to be deficient.  On June 19, work at three of four HOT Lane’s construction sites, including the area around Accotink, were suspended by VDOT.
   VDOT intends to implement new stormwater management tools to upgrade protection during rain events, including use of super silt fences, deeper sediment traps, additional check dams and drains, installation of additional riprap along the edge of impacted streams and use of temporary diversion dikes.  VDOT also plans to launch a new “Field Environmental Action Team (FEAT)” to oversee compliance and protection.  All three sites have now been re-inspected and reopened. The letters from VDOT are posted on my website at  
   I hope that any citizen who becomes aware of a stormwater problem caused by the HOT Lanes project will let me know.  We have set up lines of communication with the Megaproject Team and will notify them immediately of any problem.


State Money for Construction and Maintenance Lacking

   Transportation infrastructure in Fairfax County is primarily provided by the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) which owns, constructs, maintains and operates nearly all county roads.  In recent months, the Board has received increasingly grim news about cuts to the Six Year Improvement Program for Primary and Interstate Roads.  On June 1, the Board was also advised that funding allocations between 2010 and 2015 for secondary roads would drop from $28 million to $225,000 annually. We later learned that all funding would be eliminated.
   Fairfax County will continue to provide local funds for some projects, which come from three major sources:  1) General obligation road bonds approved by voters in November 2004 and 2007 in the amount of $110 million. 2) County Funds 304 and 124, which are used for land acquisition, design and construction.
   For FY 2010, the Board approved $32.1 million for road and transit projects supported by a Commercial and Industrial (C&I) real estate tax of 11 cents.  These Funds also provide for Spot Improvements to relieve bottlenecks, extend turn lanes, and build sidewalks and trails; 3) a FY2010 Revenue Bond of $50 million to be issued through the Economic Development Authority for which debt service will come through the C&I tax.  Other transportation projects such as Dulles Rail are funded through Special Tax Districts, and paid for by landowners.
   Like my Board colleagues, I am gravely concerned about the loss of state construction funding and the severe reductions in state money available for maintenance of existing roads and rights-of-way.  In the coming months I hope to have a dialogue with you about whether the county should consider taking over local roads, and what the cost implications would be. 


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