News and notes from Reston (tm).

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

A Bridge Not Quite Too Far: Soapstone Bridge Alignment Proposed, $2.5 Million Down, Only $89.25 Million to Go

Our BFFs at Reston2020 point out that Fairfax County's transportation staff has made a recommendation for the location of the long-discussed Soapstone bridge that will swoop gracefully across the Toll Road, bringing South Restonians from Soapstone to a fancy new intersection just east of Plaza America on Sunset Hills, potentially increasing average speeds on the emergency runs to Michaels for additional scrapbooking supplies to near Mach 2. The maps on the county's Powerpoint presentation were almost impossible to read, so at considerable personal expense we hired a cartographer to create this lovely annotated rendering:

Soapstone Bridge
You're welcome.

In their proposal, county planners also changed the initial proposal for a four-lane bridge to a two-lane bridge, with additional bike lanes going in each direction and a "shared use trail," which just sounds like a great way to ensure lots of collisions between spandex-clad cyclists, power walkers, and overcaffeinated wage slaves trudging to the Metro. But that's why we're filthy "web loggers" and not civil engineers.

Also, buried deep in the powerpoint is some v. v. exciting news: A "four-legged unsignalized intersection or roundabout" would be created between Sunrise Valley and the Toll Road. Could Reston be getting its very first traffic circle? Will it look like this?

We can only hope.

The proposal would impact three properties on the north side of the Toll Road -- Solus LLC, Musica LLC and ISTAR CTL LLC. On the south side of the Toll Road, the road would run through the National Association of Secondary School Principals, BDC Sunrise Valley LLC, and KM Stonecroft LLC. The extension is also envisioned as connecting to an extended Reston Station Boulevard and additional bike paths, assuming those are eventually funded.

The proposal goes next to the board of supervisors for approval, then moves on to preliminary engineering. Assuming all goes well, it will then be added to the "Financially Constrained Long Range Transportation Plan," a bureaucratic jumble that more than hints at the likelihood of its speedy construction.

And there's the rub: While $2.5 million has been approved for the next phases of work, the complete project is estimated to cost $91.75 million. It is one of three new Toll Road crossings placed on a $4 billion high-priority list by county supervisors. (The other two are an underpass near Town Center Parkway and an overpass at South Lake Drive.) Of that $4 billion, $1.4 billion is anticipated through 2020 to "get the work going," according to our BFFs at Reston Now.

Now that the county supervisors have approved the master plan changes that will create the bollardy goodness that will require all this additional infrastructure, it's on them to make sure that the funding to pay for it is secured. And it's on us to make sure that they make sure that happens.


  1. Another crossing is definitely needed. Wiehle is overloaded at rush hour, and it will only get worse when the station opens.

    1. I'm A Road Runner, HoneyFebruary 19, 2014 at 10:31 PM

      ...Then we can have TWO overloaded, traffic-crushed roads over the toll road! Don't kid yourself, extra roads may produce MORE congestion, not less, particularly with the expected increase in Reston's future population, and folks trying to access the metro.

  2. As a professional cartographer I must say your rendering is quite lovely. Kudos on choosing a font color that contrasts so well with Google's satellite imagery.

    1. Are you kidding?! The "hired cartographer" didn't choose the color, it had to be one of the DRB-approved earth tones, so it became DarkSalmon (E9967A).

      Wait a minute... That is not an "earth" tone!!! :)

  3. They can spend $100m on a new bridge but can't pony up that much money for a new Rec Center. It only goes to show that the BoS is more interested in getting you to work so that they can collect your tax dollars than they are in making sure you're healthy by giving you another workout facility.

    Fairfax County Board of Supervisors: taking the "Play" out of "Live. Work. Play".

    1. Um... one can explain the discrepancy in treatment thusly:

      Bridge -- needed
      Rec center -- not needed

      They are totally justified in prioritizing "getting to work". It is NOT their job to "make sure you are healthy". That is your job, and there are plenty of existing options without taxing us to build some crazy gold plated rec center.

  4. Just like there are plenty of existing options of getting across the Great Reston Canyon also known as the DTR/Access highway. Of course, that would mean that more people would have to use more non-SOV methods of transportation. And many of those same nicely compliment a new Rec Center.

    1. Peasant From Less Sought After South RestonFebruary 19, 2014 at 3:04 PM

      Convict, unless there's some POW committee I'm unaware of that's tunneling under the DTR a la "The Great Escape", the only ways across the Toll Road in Reston are the FFX County Parkway, Reston Parkway, Wiehle, and Hunter Mill (and the first and last are a bit of a stretch, being located on the western and eastern fringe of Reston). And I guess there's the W&OD trail crossing.

      Maybe Rod Koozmin was a prophet without honor when he wanted to build canals to link up all the lakes in south and north Reston. We could have been known as the Venice of the West. And then Andrew Wren -- he of the legendary escape by canoe after his burglary of the South Lakes ABC store -- could have had an honest career as a gondolier ferrying the masses between North and South Reston while singing "O, RA Mio".

    2. Um, sorry genius, the options for crossing the Toll Road are few, and the need for more obvious to anyone with a grain of common sense, i.e. not you.


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