Four-Year Transportation Program Status Report


Fairfax County Office of Public Affairs
12000 Government Center Parkway, Suite 551
Fairfax, VA 22035-0065
Contact: Merni Fitzgerald, Director of Public Affairs
703-324-3187, TTY 711, Fax 703-324-2010
Media Pager: 703-324-NEWS (6397)
publicaffairs@fairfaxcounty.gov

April 9, 2007

Four-Year Transportation Program Status Report Presented to Board of Supervisors

The Fairfax County Department of Transportation (FCDOT) presented its quarterly status report on the Board of Supervisors’ Four-Year Transportation Program and other transportation projects within the county at the board’s regularly scheduled meeting today.

“Almost four years ago the Board of Supervisors committed to an aggressive, yet achievable, vision for making targeted transportation improvements across the county,” said Board of Supervisors Chairman Gerald E. Connolly. “Thanks to record citizen support for our $165 million bond referendum in 2004, we have completed more than half of the identified projects and are under way with the other half.”

The Four-Year Transportation Plan, which was adopted by the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors on Feb. 9, 2004, includes a $215 million commitment of capital funds to improve major highway and transit projects, spot capacity and safety intersection improvements and pedestrian improvements throughout the county. Funding for this significant transportation initiative is a combination of $50 million in federal Regional Surface Transportation Program and Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality funds, as well as $165 million in county general obligation bonds approved by voters on Nov. 2, 2004.

Since 2004, overall, construction has been completed on 46 transportation projects in Fairfax County. Nearly 40 additional projects designed to decrease congestion and improve safety are currently under construction or will begin construction in 2007.

Of the 25 projects in the county’s Four-Year Transportation Plan, 13 are completed, seven are under construction and two are slated to begin construction in 2007. Design is under way on the remaining three.

Status of Major Transportation Initiatives

Transit

Rail to and through Tysons Corner to Dulles Airport

  • The Dulles corridor Metrorail extension completed preliminary engineering for phase I of the project to Wiehle Avenue.
  • The project is in the process of finalizing negotiations with Dulles Transit Partners for a design/build contract to construct the Metrorail extension, including the aerial section through Tysons Corner.
  • An application to commence final design will be submitted to the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) in the spring of 2007, with FTA approval anticipated on or before Aug. 1, 2007. This approval will allow the project to begin utility relocation work and advanced land acquisition. This revised schedule of project activities anticipates a full funding grant agreement with the FTA in early 2008, with construction commencing in February 2008 and revenue service beginning in 2013.

Richmond Highway Public Transportation Initiative

  • The Richmond Highway Express (REX) express bus service that operates along Richmond Highway from Fort Belvoir to Huntington Metro Station and other Fairfax Connector bus routes was launched in 2004 to serve the Richmond Highway corridor as part of the South County Bus Plan. Through Fiscal Year 2006, daily weekday ridership on these corridor bus routes has increased by 36 percent.
  • Pedestrian safety improvements have been made to three intersections on Richmond Highway, with ultimate plans to improve crosswalks, pedestrian signals and other features that provide greater safety for pedestrians as well as greater access to bus stops.
  • In 2007, intersection improvements will be made on Richmond Highway at Frye Road and at Kings Highway. Three new bus stop shelters will be installed at these two intersections.
  • Approximately 3,000 linear feet of sidewalks have been installed in the vicinity of Belle Haven Towers, Dart Drive, Quander Road and Sherwood Hall Lane.
  • Two new prototype REX shelters have been installed at the South County Government Center and a third has been installed at Sacramento Drive; additional REX shelters are scheduled to be installed in 2007.     
  • Three Richmond Highway bus stops will be upgraded with solar lighting and new shelters, making them more convenient and comfortable for passengers to access transit.
  • Bus service along Richmond Highway now moves more efficiently by taking advantage of traffic signal technology that allows extended green lights for buses approaching an intersection to help keep the buses running on schedule.
  • FCDOT launched the South County Bus Plan in October 2004, which included major changes to all bus routes in South County, including Richmond Highway, with significant improvements in the level of service – more service later in the evening, during mid-day and on weekends with shorter intervals between trips.
  • Through Fiscal Year 2006, daily weekday ridership on the South County bus routes has increased by 40 percent.

High Occupancy Toll (HOT) Lanes and Maximizing Use of High Occupancy Vehicle (HOV) Capacity

  • I-495 – Final negotiation is under way with the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) regarding financial closure of the project, which should be completed by early 2008. Construction should start in mid-to- late 2008.  Information meetings for residents are anticipated in fall 2007.
  • I-95/I-395 – VDOT, in conjunction with local jurisdictions, is doing a transit demand study in the corridor to identify new service potential and funding costs. The capacity of the HOT lanes and an expected increase in demand due to BRAC are being reviewed by VDOT.

Maximizing Bus Use

  • A pilot project subscription bus service, called EZBus, with two routes was launched at the Burke Centre VRE in December 2003 to help relieve overparking at the station.
  • Two new EZBus shuttle routes were added to serve the Burke Centre VRE Station last fall while the new parking garage is being constructed. They operate between the VRE station and satellite parking facilities located at the new Burke Library site and St. Mary’s Church.
  • The county is planning to convert non-regional Metro routes to the Fairfax Connector system in 2008. Bus service from the Centreville and Chantilly areas to the Vienna/Fairfax-GMU Metro Station are expected to be operated by Fairfax Connector from a new transit facility under construction on West Ox Road.
  • A bus shelter advertising program was approved in February 2007 that will enable bus shelters to be built by allowing advertising on the shelters. The bus shelter advertising program will generate revenues that will be used to improve passenger amenities by providing safe staging areas for bus riders. 

Metro Funding

  • Increased funding for Metro is a key component of the Four-Year Transportation Plan. In addition to the $110 million in general obligation bond funds for Metro, approved by Fairfax County voters, the region has been working to secure a dedicated funding source for Metro. On April 4, 2007, the General Assembly accepted the governor’s substitute for HB 3202. This legislation, if fully implemented, will provide an average of more than $500 million per year in new transportation funding for Northern Virginia. Of this amount, $50 million annually will be dedicated to Metro capital expenses. The approval of this bill is the culmination of many years of hard work by Fairfax County, in conjunction with other Northern Virginia local governments and numerous other advocacy groups and partners.

Unlocking Gridlock

Major Transit and Highway Projects

  • Route 29/Gallows Road Intersection Improvements – Currently in design phase; construction is expected to start October 2011.
  • Burke Centre VRE Station Expansion – On schedule; the garage is scheduled to open March 2008 with project completion in July 2008.
  • Richmond Highway Public Transportation Initiative – On schedule; construction expected to be completed October 2007 on phase I improvements. Design and right-of-way is under way on phase II.
  • Stringfellow Road Improvements – Design phase ending July 2007 followed by right-of-way acquisition and utility relocation. Construction expected to begin July 2011.
  • Centreville Road Improvements – Construction is expected to be completed on Centreville Road from Metrotech to McLearen in October 2007. The construction phase will begin on Centreville Road from West Ox Road to Frying Pan Road in December 2008.
  • West Ox Road from Ox Trail to Lawyers Road – Completed July 2006.
  • Penderbrook to Ox Trail – Utility relocation in process; construction to begin May 2007. 

Spot Intersection Improvements

  • Richmond Highway at Engleside Post Office – Completed November 2006.
  • I-66 at Route 7 – Completed August 2006.
  • Braddock Road at Route 123 – Completed July 2006.
  • Old Keene Mill Road at Hillside Road – Completed November 2005.
  • Backlick Road at Franconia-Springfield Parkway – Completed August 2005.
  • I-95 ramp at South Van Dorn Street – Completed July 2006.
  • Little River Turnpike at Beauregard Street – Construction beginning June 2007.
  • Braddock Road at Little River Turnpike – Utility relocation started March 2007; construction completion anticipated January 2008.
  • Route 50 at Waples Mill Road – At-grade intersection improvements completed December 2006.

Pedestrian Improvements

  • Sydenstricker Road at Hooes Road – Completed August 2005.
  • Lee Highway under I-66 – Construction expected to be completed July 2007.
  • Ravensworth Road – Completed August 2005.
  • Little River Turnpike – Completed July 2006.
  • Government Center Parkway – Completed October 2004.
  • South Lakes Drive – Completed January 2006.
  • Chain Bridge Road – Completed October 2005.

Traffic Flow Improvements

  • VDOT completed optimization of signals along Dranesville Road from Route 7 to the Herndon town line and also the Route 7/Fairfax County Parkway-Holly Knolls Drive interchange.
  • A two-year pilot program to flash traffic signals at night has been implemented and is currently being evaluated.

Pedestrian Safety and Access

  • 110 intersections have been retrofitted with countdown pedestrian traffic signals.
  • FCDOT, Fairfax County Department of Public Works and Environmental Services (DPWES) and VDOT have completed scoping field reviews on the top 40 pedestrian intersections.
  • Preliminary design plans have been reviewed for various projects.

Context Engineering

  • Meetings are under way to discuss the framework of the context sensitive solutions guidelines.

Expedite Projects

  • As part of the Route 28 Public Private Transportation Act (PPTA) Project, full financing for the final four interchanges has been identified.
  • Work is proceeding on design of all four interchanges including Route 28/Willard Road and Route 28/Frying Pan Road.

Telework

  • Fairfax County Government’s telework program has met its goal to have 20 percent (or 1,000) of the eligible workforce teleworking an average of one day a month by 2005.
  • The Fairfax County Employer Services Program (ESP) continues to partner with major employers, developers and multi-family complexes in promoting and encouraging alternative commute options.
  • 270 Fairfax County employers have implemented a transportation benefits program.

Transportation Funding

  • The Board of Supervisors’ 2007 Bond Package includes $110 million in potential funding for county transportation projects. The bond package specifically designates $31 million for pedestrian and spot traffic improvements. This includes intersection improvements, bus stops – both new stops and improvements to existing stops – and a wide range of pedestrian and bike access improvements. It also includes $16 million for transit improvements and $63 million for roadway improvements. The transit improvements include additional capital support for Metro and related station improvements. More than 15 road projects, including projects associated with the recent BRAC action, have been included in the package as well. 

Additional Projects

  • Springfield Interchange – Five of seven construction phases are complete, and the project remains at the $676 million budget mark. One of the final three ramps (eastbound I-495 to northbound I-395) opened in March 2007.  Phases VI and VII are well under way and on schedule to be completed by July 2007.
  • Woodrow Wilson Bridge – The project is on schedule and under budget. Total project completion (including four interchanges at Telegraph Road, Route 1, Route 210 and I-295) is anticipated by 2011.
  • Route 123 Occoquan River Bridge – Construction of a new six-lane bridge is well under way, with completion scheduled for July 2007.
  • Huntington Metro Parking Expansion – Construction is under way on a 1,425-space garage to replace 925 surface spaces lost to joint development, plus a 500-space expansion. Construction began in fall 2006 and is scheduled for completion in December 2007.

The projects included in this report are compiled by Fairfax County Department of Transportation staff in consultation with their implementation partners in the Department of Public Works and Environmental Services and the Virginia Department of Transportation Northern Virginia District. These projects are funded through several different mechanisms, including the Fairfax County Four-Year Transportation Plan, the VDOT Six-Year Improvement Program, the VDOT Six-Year Secondary Construction Program for Fairfax County, the governor’s Congestion Relief Program and federal funding programs, such as the Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality and Regional Surface Transportation Programs.

The status report is available at www.fairfaxcounty.gov/fcdot/.

For media inquiries about the Four-Year Transportation Plan, contact Mary Mulrenan, Fairfax County Department of Transportation, at 703-324-1176, TTY 703-324-1102. 

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