VDOT, Lawson Address Community Concerns Over Gainesville Interchange Project

| April 11, 2015 | 1 Comment | News
Steve Kuntz, design consultant with Dewberry, the firm who designed the Gainesville improvement project, explains details of the detour to a longtime Gainesville resident on Thursday, April 9 during a town hall meeting on the project.  Jamie Rogers, Bristow Beat

Steve Kuntz, design consultant with Dewberry, the firm who designed the Gainesville improvement project, explains details of the detour to a longtime Gainesville resident on Thursday, April 9 during a town hall meeting on the project. Jamie Rogers, Bristow Beat

Brentsville District Supervisor Jeanine Lawson and VDOT staff hosted a meeting Thursday night at Gainesville Middle School to update residents on the Linton Hall Road-Route 29 Interchange project and the resulting changes in traffic patterns.

“We’ve all been enduring this project … for four years we’ve been maneuvering around this project; the exciting news is we can see the light at the end of the tunnel. I would say we are in the fourth quarter,” Lawson told an audience of more than 100 people at Thursday’s meeting.

Many residents expressed concerned about the detours that will be in place during the four-week project.

Beginning in mid-May, several road detours will be in place as the Virginia Department of Transportation opens the new bridge on Linton Hall Road that spans Route 29. The move eliminates the traffic lights at the busy intersection of the two roadways in Gainesville that have long been a thorn in the side of many residents.

VDOT will also:

Reopen the Interstate 66 Eastbound to Route 29 Southbound ramp
Eliminate the temporary signal at Route 29 and I-66 ramp detour
Lay asphalt and change traffic signal operations at the Wellington Road-Linton Hall Road intersection

Residents heading west on Linton Hall Road from Bristow will not be able to turn south on to Route 29 toward Warrenton. They will instead have to take a detour using Wellington Road to University Drive to Route 29 south.

One of the reasons the University Drive extension connecting Route 29 to Wellington Road was completed first was so it could be used as a detour when crews reached this point in the Gainesville Improvement Project, VDOT staff explained.

Movement from northbound Route 29 to eastbound Linton Hall Road toward Bristow and westbound Route 55 toward Haymarket will be diverted onto temporary slip ramps as crews finish up work near the new bridge.

This map details the detour residents will need to take if they want to get to Warrenton from Linton Hall in Gainesville.

This map details the detour residents will need to take if they want to get to Warrenton from Linton Hall in Gainesville.

On Thursday, residents of the Virginia Oaks community expressed concerns about more motorists using their neighborhood as a shortcut once the detours go into effect.

Neighbors said they have noticed motorists speeding down Glenkirk Road and Sterling Point Drive in Virginia Oaks, so there is a need for more police presence.

Lawson told neighbors she has already been in touch with a Western District commander of the Prince William County Police Department, who said officers will begin targeting speeders in the area.

Others expressed concerns about people getting lost because their GPS systems may not be updated to reflect the road pattern changes.

“The best thing you can do is to read those roadway signs instead of staring at that phone,” VDOT construction manager Paul Matt Shaw said on Thursday.

A lot of time has been spent designing and placing more than 40 signs along the detour routes, VDOT staff told the audience.

Those who attended the meeting can help by spreading the word about the new traffic patterns to their neighbors and friends who were not present Thursday, VDOT officials added.

State transportation officials said they will also do a media blitz in May, to make people aware of the changes.

Still others asked would the area be bicycle and pedestrian friendly once all work is complete.
Walking trails and bike paths will follow the paths of the temporary slip ramps, once work is complete, Shaw says.

When finished, the Gainesville interchange will look a lot like Route 28 at Willard Road in the Chantilly area of Fairfax County and Route 50 at Gallows Road near Falls Church, VDOT staff said.

The $230 million project, which begin in 2011, is expected to be completed by the summer.

In all, the Gainesville Improvement Project, also known as the Route 29/Linton Hall Road Interchange, features four new bridges, two of which span the Norfolk Southern Railroad.  VDOT staff said the two troublesome at-grade railroad crossing are what prompted the entire project.

See VDOT’s computerized rendering of the completed project here.

© 2015, Bristow Beat. All rights reserved.

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  1. mlamljords says:

    I would like to see the computerized rendering of the completed project, but the link is broken.

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