Roads Report: what’s happening around Route 1 and the George Washington Memorial Parkway
Richmond Highway Corridor
With the recent restriping and repaving of Lockheed Boulevard, Fordson Road and nearby neighborhoods now complete — and resurfacing work just wrapping up in the Wellington community — the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) has turned its attention to repaving part of Richmond Highway.
While the particular stretch of the corridor that’s currently undergoing milling (pavement removal) is the same segment that will be widened under VDOT’s Richmond Highway Corridor Improvements project beginning in 2027 — from Jeff Todd Way to Sherwood Hall Lane — the two projects are completely unrelated, according to VDOT.
“It is just a coincidence,” said VDOT spokesperson Mike Murphy.
Later this month, a VDOT paving project is expected to get underway along Lorton Road between Richmond Highway and Silverbrook Road. Paving activities along Mount Vernon Highway, Collingwood Road and Parkers Lane are slated for August.
As far as the Corridor Improvements project is concerned, Murphy said that VDOT has wrapped up its acquisition of 21 whole parcels, with 11 of them being settled via negotiation and the remaining 10 requiring an eminent domain filing with the courts. Partial acquisitions for phase one of the project from Jeff Todd Way to just north of Frye Road are slated to begin later this summer, he said.
Meanwhile, along the northern end of the corridor between Sherwood Hall Lane and Huntington Metro, Fairfax County is currently in the process of acquiring around 42 whole parcels in preparation for the Richmond Highway Bus Rapid Transit project, said Fairfax County Department of Transportation spokesperson Robin Geiger. Those acquisitions include residential properties, vacant land and commercial businesses, she said.
George Washington Memorial Parkway
The National Park Service’s (NPS) plans to improve safety at the intersection of the George Washington Memorial Parkway and Belle Haven Road have been approved by the Federal Highway Administration, according to Congressman Don Beyer’s office; however, the timeline for doing the roadwork is presently up in the air.
According to Beyer’s district chief of staff Noah Simon, NPS reportedly plans to create a dedicated merge lane along the northbound Parkway between Belle View Boulevard and Belle Haven Road, which will serve both as a left-turn-only lane onto Belle Haven, as well as a dedicated acceleration/merge lane for drivers turning left (northbound) from Belle Haven onto the Parkway. The solution will involve installing pylons and restriping parts of the roadway, said Simon, but will not require the pavement to be torn up. It is unclear if existing road signage will be changed.
Because NPS reportedly plans to fund these safety improvements under the same contract that will be used for the replacement of Bridge 23 on the adjacent Mount Vernon Trail at Dyke Marsh, both projects need to be performed around the same time. However, the Park Service’s original plans to start the Bridge 23 work this month may not pan out due to the presence under the bridge of a barn swallow’s nest containing several eggs. The nesting birds and eggs are protected under the federal Migratory Bird Treaty Act, and, according to a July 3 Facebook post, the Friends of Dyke Marsh group has asked NPS to delay bridge demolition and construction activities until the fledglings have left the nest — potentially around September.
An NPS spokesperson told On the MoVe he didn’t have updates on the Belle Haven safety improvement project but noted that preparatory work for the Bridge 23 project will take place in coming weeks — specifically the staging of equipment and creation of a protected trail detour along the northbound section of the Parkway — though workers will “keep their distance from the barn swallow nest.” The Park Service’s natural resource managers will continue to monitor the situation, he added.
NPS’s ongoing work to replace a smaller bridge, Bridge 24 near Belle Haven Park, is scheduled to wrap up this week, added the spokesperson.
Joan Darrah, president of the New Alexandria Citizens Association — who last year penned a letter to George Washington Memorial Parkway Superintendent Charles Cuvelier about the accident-prone Belle Haven intersection — said the only recent updates the community has received have been from Simon in Beyer’s office. Noting that another bad collision took place at the Belle Haven intersection this past week, she said the neighborhood is “frustrated beyond belief” and would like the safety improvements implemented “as soon as possible.”
For his part, Simon agrees — “the sooner, the better” with fixing the Belle Haven intersection. The hardest part of the process, getting the deal done, has been accomplished, he noted. Now, local residents can look forward to the implementation of a solution that was “largely based on community feedback.”