“This project is 17 intersection improvements along a 3-mile stretch of road, so it’s complicated,” Braddock District Supervisor John Cook said.
The stretch is among the busiest secondary roads in all of Virginia, he says, with complications like the major additional traffic that pours onto Braddock Road from Burke Lake Road to reach the Capital Beltway.
Proposed changes include adding a number of turn lanes, limiting turns in or out at some intersections that do not have traffic lights so that there are fewer left turns, and changes to the Braddock Road and Capital Beltway interchange aimed to make it quicker and easier to exit onto Braddock Road from the regular lanes of both the Inner and Outer loops.
“This project will improve traffic flow on Braddock Road, add bicycle and pedestrian connectivity along the corridor, and increase access to transit and local destinations,” Fairfax County staff wrote to the board of supervisors.
The board unanimously approved the Braddock Road Multimodal Study for implementation. The county expects to put $10 million toward initial work, with the hope that an additional $45.5 million would be funded through the Northern Virginia Transportation Authority.
The study concluded that building a transit center or commuter parking facility in the area of the Kings Park Shopping Center would not be proposed at this time. The study also found that the significantly higher cost of widening Braddock Road — financial, environmental and on the community — made that suggestion not worth pursuing further.
“This has been the bane of my existence for three years, so I’m glad it’s finally getting here,” Cook joked. He lives just off Braddock Road.
“The specifics will be adjusted as need be, but the general outline of the plan is very sound; it has the community’s strong support,” Cook added.
Now that the general concepts have been approved, the individual intersection projects can move forward. During the environmental reviews and design process for each intersection, there will be more opportunities for neighborhood input.
“Folks need to understand nothing is etched in stone yet,” Mason District Supervisor Penny Gross said.
Gross praised tweaks to the plan that use land on the south side of Ravensworth Road for widening, but said she had a “grave concern” over potential increased cut-through traffic there, in addition to other neighborhood angst.
“The bulldozers are not coming down the street right now to do any kind of construction; there’s a lot more that needs to be done before we actually get to an endorsement by the board for any particular real, funded project,” Gross said.
She does believe the overall projects must move forward after years of effort that have culminated in this study.
Fairfax County Board of Supervisors Chairman Sharon Bulova added, “The action that we just took was to advance the study; this isn’t the end, but this moves things forward.”
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