Route 28 Interchange Underway
Work starts today on an important bit of congestion relief in Virginia: Construction of an interchange to replace the intersection of Route 28 and Frying Pan Road near Dulles Airport in Fairfax County.
This is the last of 10 interchanges to be built along Route 28, a major north south commuter route with links that include Route 7, the Dulles Toll Road and Interstate 66. Seven of the 10 new interchanges are done. Along with Frying Pan Road, the other two remaining to be completed are at Nokes Boulevard and Willard Road. The latter two got underway this summer. All three are scheduled to be done in fall 2009, and not a moment too soon, according to commuters.
On Tuesday, I checked out the recently opened partial interchange at Innovation Avenue. It's partial because the ramps link only with the northbound lanes of Route 28. There's not enough demand yet to justify the cost of a full interchange. Coming off the Dulles Toll Road and heading north, I had a straight shot onto Innovation Avenue by using the new ramp without having to merge into the through traffic on Route 28. The entrance ramp from Innovation onto Route 28 worked fine, too, although I wish it could have been extended north to link with the exit ramp to Old Ox Road, which by my rough estimate is about 2,000 feet away.
Many commuters were greatly pleased when the traffic light that had controlled the Innovation Avenue intersection was taken down toward the start of this project. (The detour route that had taken Innovation-bound traffic north to Old Ox is now gone, of course.)
I know some drivers have concerns about various aspects of the completed work, but overall I think this project -- the product of a public-private partnership begun in 2002 -- must be rated as real progress for Virginia transportation. This area around Dulles Airport, bounded by Routes 28, 50 and 606, is experiencing dramatic growth and the transportation network is struggling to keep up with it. If Virginia doesn't succeed in this, the traffic backups behind that now-gone light at Innovation Avenue will seem quaint.
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