Eight months after two South County High School students died in a crash, a treacherous stretch of Lee Chapel Road in Fairfax County, Virginia, will soon be fixed.
“We received good news from [State] Sen. George Barker, that he acquired the final $4 million that we needed to complete this road,” said Pat Herrity, Springfield District supervisor, in a WTOP interview, referring to the stretch of Lee Chapel Road between Ox Road and Fairfax County Parkway.
In January, two 16-year-old girls were killed when the 2019 Lexus IS350 they were riding in left the road and rolled over. At the time, police said the vehicle had been traveling 100 miles per hour shortly before the car became airborne.
“It’s a very heavily traveled road. There are two hills, one of which is pretty significant. It is used by many of our young drivers to catch air,” said Herrity.
In July, the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors moved $5 million from a different project to make removing the hills a priority.
“Now that we have the community’s blessing and full funding, we will go into preliminary design, and we expect to have the preliminary design sometime in the next 12 months,” said Herrity.
Looking to the future, Herrity said there are several steps that need to be taken before work can begin, including deciding how to handle traffic in the area during construction.
“There’s two options — one is to build a temporary road and maintain traffic,” said Herrity. “The other option would be to close the road and have a detour around that section of Lee Chapel,” for approximately three years.
Herrity assured residents that they will have plenty of time to weigh in: “We’ve got a lot of work to do before we decide if we’re going to do that as an option.”
Among the specifics to be worked out, rerouting utilities during a lengthy construction period, said Herrity.
“It will involve the federal process because we’re taking park land,” he said.
Funding was secured shortly after the January tragedy, and Herrity said he’s hopeful construction will also move forward quickly, “but it’s going to take some time.”
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