I-495 Express Lanes Northern Extension Study
Latest update on May 28, 2019.
The I-495 Express Lanes Northern Extension Study is preparatory work for one of the Virginia Department of Transportation’s latest mega-projects. As the name implies, VDOT is in the early stages of examining options to add two Express Lanes in each direction, reconstruct overpasses, and improve access in the approximately three-mile section between the Dulles Toll Road to the American Legion Bridge.
The plans currently include bicycle and pedestrian facilities as part of the project, which could begin initial construction by late 2020.
The project’s goal is to reduce the terrible congestion at one of the worst bottleneck in the region and the serious impact cut-through traffic is having on local neighborhoods around Georgetown Pike, Balls Hill Road, and Lewinsville Road. The study and future plans will be coordinated and compatible with plans for I-495 in Maryland and the eventual expansion of the American Legion Bridge (which also will hopefully include shared-used paths to link the two states).
On Monday, May 20, 2019, VDOT held a public information meeting on the study. During the meeting, VDOT provided information that the current plans have two types of proposed share-use paths for bicyclists and pedestrians, one of which is described as “to be determined” (TBD), suggesting that its final position or inclusion is tentative.
A new bike/ped facility would start as a TBD path just south of Lewinsville Road and would go north along the western side of I-495 until it reached Old Dominion Drive.
Old Dominion Drive would gain paths on either side of the bridge crossing I-495 to allow cyclists and walkers to reach the proposed path.The proposed path would continue north along the western side of I-495 until it connected with Georgetown Pike.
At Georgetown Pike, a short proposed path would cross the bridge over I-495 on its southern side and then connect to Balls Hill Road. A crosswalk will lead to a continuation of the path along Balls Hill Road to Live Oak Drive.
At Live Oak Drive, a TBD path will continue along the east side of I-495 going underneath the ramps to and from the George Washington Parkway before ending on the south side of the American Legion Bridge.
If constructed, this shared use path will provide a links from the Tysons area to communities to the north and perhaps one day into Maryland. Unfortunately, there are no direct connections with Tysons, and few bicyclist or pedestrian facilities around the Georgetown Pike-Balls Hill Road intersection to provide easy access into McLean.
Check out our blog for a discussion of how the proposed path could link to bike lanes on Lewinsville Road to reach Tysons and other points in northern Fairfax County.
How you can help
- Contact VDOT and express your support for the shared use paths by submitting comments here or by Email at [email protected] by June 10, 2019. Use suggestions from our blog to make requests for safety, access, and wayfinding improvements to the existing tentative path plans.
- You also can express your support to your Fairfax County Supervisor. Who’s my Supervisor?
- Stay tuned for the latest updates by signing up for FABB newsletter and alerts.