Joan Morris 703-259-1799
Aug. 28, 2013
ROUTE 50 WIDENING PASSES HALF-WAY MARK
VDOT on schedule to complete in June 2015
VDOT is widening Route 50 to six lanes in Loudoun and Fairfax counties
CHANTILLY— Why is it taking so long to widen Route 50 to six lanes in Fairfax and Loudoun counties? The Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) wants motorists to know that its $95 million project to reconstruct and widen nearly four miles between Poland Road in Loudoun County and Route 28 in Fairfax County is more than 50 percent complete, and remains on schedule to open three eastbound lanes in November 2014 and the three westbound lanes by spring 2015.
“We know that three and a half years of construction on one of the busiest commuter corridors in northern Virginia is extremely frustrating for motorists but we are working to accelerate the project wherever possible,” said VDOT’s design-build engineer Susan Shaw. “The fact is we are not simply widening the roadway; this project calls for miles of utility relocation and a complete reconstruction of the roadway.”
To ease traffic flow onto eastbound Route 50 crews are adding a second right turn lane at Pleasant Valley Road in Loudoun County. That work will be complete before the Labor Day weekend. VDOT is also monitoring and tweaking signal timings to keep traffic moving.
Since construction began in October, 2011 motorists have put up with daily lane closures, narrowed lanes, shorter turn lanes and miles of concrete barriers on Route 50.
A major component of the project is relocating about a dozen utilities including approximately:
• 10 miles of fiber optic cable
• 4.5 miles of phone lines
• 4.5 miles of overhead electric
• 3.5 miles of cable TV
• A 2,000-foot gas line, and
• Installation of a 3.5-mile water line.
“The utility work alone is $10 million,” said Shaw.
Crews have completed the new eastbound bridge east of Pleasant Valley Road in Fairfax County and are working to relocate a gas line before shifting traffic onto the bridge in late September. Westbound traffic will move to the new bridge in late October. Crews will then demolish the temporary bridge and begin construction of the new westbound bridge which will be completed in spring 2014. The bridges will carry three lanes of traffic in each direction with a 10-foot wide trail on each side.
The Route 50 project will relieve current and anticipated congestion, provide pedestrian and cyclist accommodations, and improve safety along the corridor. The road will also be more level and provide wider buffers between travel lanes and roadside hazards.
When completed motorists will have an additional travel lane in each direction; new pavement designed to handle projected traffic loads; widened and upgraded bridges; bike/pedestrian trail on both sides of road; crosswalks with curb ramp and pedestrian signals, and improved turn lanes.
Project costs include $10 million for preliminary engineering; $19 million for right of way acquisition; $10.5 million for utility relocation, and $55.4 million for construction.
Route 50 carries 62,000 vehicles a day.
Watch a brief video on the widening at http://youtu.be/QLNi9tGAoQs.
Follow VDOT in northern Virginia on Twitter @VaDOTNOVA.
Information in VDOT news releases was accurate at the time the release was published. For the most current information about projects or programs, please visit the project or program Web pages. You may find those by searching by keyword in the search Virginia DOT box above.