Delegate-elect Kathy Tran (D-42) made the trip from Richmond to catch the last part of the meeting.
Springfield The Rolling Road widening project has been on the books since 1988 but it took one step closer to being underway, as Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) officials met with area residents
and public officials on Nov. 30 to iron out details that are not settled.
One big detail that is being looked at is the utilities — above ground or underground?
Utility relocation is priced at $9 million if they remain above ground and $18 million if they are put underground, and both ways have their pros and cons. Virginia Senator George Barker (D-39) is working a deal with Dominion Power, Fairfax County and the Commonwealth of Virginia to put them underground, but it’s still not final. “We will pursue this the best we can,” he said.
ANOTHER ELEMENT of the project that’s being looked at is the stormwater management ponds, and
the decision there is above ground vs underground also. With the above ground ponds, four houses will be taken, said John Maddox, an engineer contracted with VDOT for the project.
And then there’s the shared use path that will run alongside the roadway. Under normal VDOT protocol, road projects include paths on both sides of the road, but with the tight corridor of Rolling Road between the Fairfax County Parkway and Old Keene Mill Road, the path might be limited to one side of the road.
That’s okay with Jen Brown, a member of the Fairfax Advocates for Better Bicycling (FABB) that was at the meeting to monitor the situation. “[FABB] would like to have a shared use path on both sides, but one is good,” she said. Allison Richter, the VDOT Transportation and Land Use Director, was happy with the compromise since 70 percent of the residents at a past meeting said the path was important.
And so goes the planning stages for this stretch of road that butts up to homeowners backyards
through most of the $51.6 million project, and impacts not only the Springfield residents in that area but also the residents to the south that go through this corridor when heading to Fairfax or the Capital Beltway.
David and Jillian King’s backyard butts up to the project limits, and they’ve been to several meetings, including one “five or six years ago they had it, but then lost the funding,” David King said.
“Certainly there’s issues with the road,” added Jillian, pointing out the danger of the Rolling Road-Greeley Boulevard intersection where there are accidents frequently.
PHASE I OF THE PROJECT is due to start in 2019 at the Old Keene Mill Road intersection, but the actual guts of the project on Rolling Road won’t start until 2023.
The cross section in the brochure included a parking lane since there are some houses that face the road. In the package that was handed out was a comment sheet, with questions about preferred width of the shared use path, and space for suggestions. These comment sheets must be postmarked by Dec. 11.
It was announced that Delegate-elect Kathy Tran (D-42) would not make it to the meeting because she was at a delegate introduction class in Richmond, but she showed up towards the end with baby Elise in tow. Tran lives off Rolling Road but not in the project zone. She was in elementary school when the project was first discussed and now has four children. “That’s how long the project’s been going,” she said.
The next meeting is a Public Information Hearing that is scheduled in late January 2018.