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Latest from VDOT on Route 7 Improvements & Traffic Updates

Beginning the week of Nov. 16, drivers on Route 7 and adjacent side streets between Utterback Store Road and Colvin Forest Drive will experience lane shifts, traffic pattern changes and detours. All residences, businesses and other public facilities will remain accessible.

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Springvale Road Bridge Options Studied

GFCA Working Group Considers Traffic Impact
Associated With VDOT Proposal: Survey Launched

A Working Group of residents chartered by  the Great  Falls Citizens Association (GFCA)to replace a single lane bridge on Springvale  Road over Piney Run. The bridge, believed to have been re-constructed in 1965, is one  of several single lane bridges serving the Great Falls community. VDOT has prepared  two options. Both increase bridge capacity by building a larger two lane bridge. 

A survey has been developed to evaluate the opinions of the communities located along  Springvale Road between Rte. 7 and Georgetown Pike. It’s believed that these  residents will be directly impacted by the proposed bridge replacement. The survey will  explore views on potential increases in traffic volume on Springvale and consequently,  other local roads. In-creased speeding, and the impact of raising the bridge weight  capacity that would permit larger trucks not currently allowed on the existing bridge, and  diminished safety are among other topics to be addressed.

Great Falls resident, John Halacy, coordinator of the GFCA Working Group, is  concerned VDOT is not taking into account that the current single lane bridge performs  a critical function as an essential traffic calming measure by restricting heavy through  trucks and commuters who would use Springvale Road to circumvent traffic congestion  associated with ongoing construction along the Route 7 corridor. 

Halacy observed that: “The VDOT proposals do not reflect the foreseeable adverse  traffic impact of expanded bridge capacity on Springvale. Plus, look at the timing of  their plans—VDOT is proposing to be-gin construction on three, single lane, bridges in  our area in the next year—Springvale Road, Walker Road, and Hunter Mill Road.  Walker Road has already been approved by VDOT for replacement as a two lane  bridge. The Hunter Mill Bridge is scheduled for widening to two lanes in Spring of 2021.  Additionally, VDOT is proposing to begin work on the 495 HOT Lanes from the  American Legion Bridge through Tysons while construction continues on the Route 7  corridor until 2024. This is a recipe for gridlock for our region, and a traffic nightmare for  Great Falls roads, as commuters seek relief from jammed highways.” 

Many long-time Great Falls residents feel that the single lane bridges not only limit  traffic and speeding, but also represent the disappearing rural nature of Great Falls. 

GFCA sought an extension of the comment period on the Springvale Road project until  May and re-quested VDOT Regional Engineer, Helen Cuervo, suspend the bridge  project until completion of the Route 7 construction. 

VDOT declined the GFCA request to postpone, but extended the comment period only  to the end of November. Halacy noted “That’s not enough time to get the word out on this process. It is being rushed. VDOT spent three years working with the community  on the Hunter Mill Road Bridge. Now, we are talking about a period of less than seven  months that VDOT wants to push this Great Falls bridge replacement process forward.  That doesn’t give the community sufficient time to determine what is going on, and  explore other options VDOT has not offered. We are also dramatically constrained by  the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, doing everything online and virtually.”

GFCA recognizes that COVID-19 has made public meetings difficult. Door to door  outreach and other means of canvassing public opinion can’t be done safely, so it is  seeking more ways to collect public input prior to making any decisions about this major  project. 

The Working Group Survey will be distributed to nearby Homeowners Associations and  affected neighborhoods first, and then expanded to capture as much of the community  of Great Falls as can be reached digitally. 

GFCA will be inviting representatives of the VDOT to address the community in  forthcoming virtual meetings where project details can be described and the public can  comment. 

For further information, emails may be directed to communications@GFCA.org.

Public Comment Deadline on Springvale Bridge Extended

Following its formal request for an extension of the public comment period, GFCA has been advised by VDOT that comments may continue to be submitted concerning the Springvale Rd. Bridge Project through Nov. 21.  Although additional time has been granted, GFCA's Bridge Working Group is seeking more time to conduct public outreach, gather input, and survey the community as well as to hold information sessions to provide public information on impact of the project.  To date, only one session was conducted by VDOT.

  • Provide comments via the VDOT online survey or by email to meetingcomments@vdot.virginia.gov.
  • Mail comments to Ms. Dipali Patel, P.E., Virginia Department of Transportation, 4975 Alliance Drive, Fairfax, VA 22030.
Comments and questions may also be submitted to GFCA at communications@gfca.org

  Link to the VDOT Page to see Project Plans and designs: 

https://www.virginiadot.org/projects/northern-virginia/springvale-over-piney-run.asp

GFCA Executive Board Votes to Revise its Comments on the I-495 Hot Lanes Project: Committee to Notify VDOT

The GFCA Board at its November 17th meeting voted to amend its previous comments submitted in connection with the VDOT proposal to expand HOT Lanes (Toll Lanes) on the stretch of Beltway just south of the American Legion Bridge through Tysons.  While the Board endorses the capacity improvements, it voted to to express its position that the project should be coordinated with expansion of the American Legion Bridge and the Maryland side of the Beltway.  The Board heard discussion form members that without appropriate coordination of the construction project with Maryland, it would not cure the gridlock on the Beltway and might create additional bottlenecks on local roads like Georgetown Pike. 

Springvale Road Bridge Working Group
Conducts Site Visit

 GFCA President, Bill Canis (foreground) looks on as
several members of the Bridge Working Group
examine the condition of the Springvale Rd. Bridge.



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