A bridge over Interstate 66 will close for nearly a year as part of toll lane construction, and a ramp to the interstate will close permanently, complicating traffic near the Vienna Metro in Virginia.
Vaden Drive will completely close for up to 10 months starting around late October. The bridge just west of the Vienna Metro station connects the garages on either side of the station and provides local drivers with an alternative to Nutley Street, a sometimes easier access to I-66 and a route to and from Oakton High School.
Both Vienna Metro garages and entrances are scheduled to remain open during the construction.
During the bridge closure, Fairfax County school buses, transit buses and first responders will face detours, and Metro could have reduced use of its “tail tracks” beyond the Vienna Station.
The tracks are typically used to keep extra trains ready to go. Metro could place some of those trains at West Falls Church instead.
“There’s a commitment to have the Vaden Bridge work completed — at least one lane in each direction — prior to Metro’s planned closure of the Orange Line next summer. So it’s kind of a tight window,” VDOT Megaprojects Director Susan Shaw said.
Metro has told VDOT to expect a 24/7 Orange Line shutdown for platform repairs and related work to run from July 5 through Sept. 7, 2020, Shaw said.
Additional Metro closures are expected to be scheduled due to I-66 construction work, but those closures are currently expected to be on selected weekends only over the next year, which would not affect rush-hour commutes.
Ramp closure in September is first Vaden Drive construction impact
Before the Vaden Drive Bridge closure begins, a ramp from Saintsbury Drive to I-66 eastbound that is next to the bridge will close on or around Sept. 5, Shaw said. That ramp is expected to remain closed permanently.
Due to the extra expected traffic from the ramp and the bridge closures, VDOT has a plan for some changes to traffic-light timing and left-turn markings from Saintsbury Drive to Nutley Street for the length of the detour. This involves drivers who typically head west out of the south side of the Vienna Metro to leave through the east side instead.
The major additional construction along Nutley Street for a new interchange being built as part of the toll lane project will wait until after this work is done.
“The Nutley construction work is going to be fairly limited until the Vaden [bridge] is back open again,” Shaw said.
Some additional tweaks to the “dog bone” interchange design for I-66 and Nutley Street include improvements for people walking and biking through the interchange and clarifications of connections to the south toward U.S. 29.
VDOT has scheduled construction update meeting from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. on Sept. 4 at Providence Community Center.
The closures around the Vienna Metro are just part of the ongoing work along the more than 22-mile project to build two toll lanes each way between the Beltway and Gainesville that is next to three regular lanes and a shoulder.
Overall construction is scheduled to be finished by the end of 2022, but the private group designing, building and eventually operating the lanes is required to finish some pieces sooner.
Shaw is still optimistic that the first part of the University Boulevard Park and Ride lot with 960 spaces will open in Prince William County by its contractual completion date of Oct. 5. A lane closure there is scheduled next week to install curbs and gutters and pave the entrance. The lot is scheduled to expand to more than 2,000 spaces by the end of 2022.
Major work continues at Route 28, where intersections are due to be completed over the next year.
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