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Posted at 9:30 AM ET, 01/ 5/2011

Delays ahead at Fairfax Parkway/Route 50

By Robert Thomson

Avoid the area around the interchange at Route 50 and the Fairfax County Parkway this weekend, or get stuck in what's likely to be a big traffic delay. The Virginia Department of Transportation is rebuilding an older portion of the parkway in Fair Lakes, and these weekend lane closings are part of that $69.5 million project, partially funded by the federal stimulus.

VDOT's contractor plans to drive piles that will add a pier so the parkway bridge can be widened to three lanes over Route 50. The pile driving will be done between 7 a.m. and 9 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday.

The overall project will widen the parkway to six lanes for about three miles from south of Interstate 66 to north of Rugby Road. Signals will be eliminated and ramps built to and from the Fairfax County Parkway, Fair Lakes Parkway and Monument Drive. Walking and biking paths and sidewalks should improve access and safety at the interchange and link to the Rocky Run Stream Valley Park trail system. See more about upcoming transportation work in the D.C. region.

The weekend work
From 11 p.m. Friday through 11 p.m. Sunday, weather permitting, many lanes will be closed to accommodate the pile driving schedule.

VDOT says it typically allows its contractors to close lanes only at night or on weekdays between rush hours, but this work requires at least 10 hours of uninterrupted construction, which would be possible on a weekday without affecting rush hour traffic. And the work can't be done at night, because Fairfax County's noise ordinance prohibits pile driving during certain hours. The work was postponed till after the Christmas holidays to minimize the impact on nearby shopping traffic, VDOT says.

Here's a list of the lane and ramp closings planned:
* On westbound Route 50, three lanes will narrow to one lane from West Ox Road to just west of the parkway. Lanes will shift to the right through the work zone under the Fairfax County Parkway bridge.
* On eastbound Route 50, three lanes will narrow to two lanes and traffic will shift to the right about 300 feet before the Fairfax County Parkway. All three lanes will be open east of the bridge.
* Two ramps will be closed: northbound Parkway to westbound Route 50, and southbound Fairfax County Parkway to eastbound 50. Traffic headed north on the parkway will turn left on Rugby Road to Route 50. Traffic headed south on the parkway will be detoured left on the Fair Lakes Parkway, and left on West Ox Road to Route 50.
* On the Fairfax County Parkway over Route 50, one of two lanes in each direction will be closed.

Alternative routes
Avoiding eastbound Route 50:
* Take Route 50 East to Route 28 South to I-66 East or to Route 29 North.
* Take Route 50 East, turn right on Stringfellow Road, left on Route 29 North.
* Shoppers heading to Fair Oaks Mall should use I-66 rather than Route 50 and Stringfellow Road rather than the Fairfax County Parkway.

Avoiding westbound Route 50:
* From I-66, continue west past Route 50 and exit at Route 28 North.
* Coming from the City of Fairfax, use Route 29 as an alternate route.
* Leaving Fair Oaks Mall, take Fair Lakes Parkway, turn right on Stringfellow Road, left on Route 50.

This map shows the project area.

View Larger Map

By Robert Thomson  | January 5, 2011; 9:30 AM ET
Categories:  Congestion, Construction, Driving, Virginia, Weekend Work  | Tags:  Dr. Gridlock, Fairfax County Parkway  
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