Tysons Beltway Plan Stirs “Mixing Bowl” Fears

Will beauty be sacrificed for safety?

Fairfax County supervisors demanded answers from VDOT officials Monday on a new plan to add three flyover ramps in the Tysons Corner area.

The goal from VDOT is to make driving between the Beltway and the Dulles Toll Road safer and faster for drivers.
Anyone who’s ever crossed five lanes of traffic to get to a Beltway ramp knows the challenge.
County supervisors are angry that they were not included in the planning process.


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"It's totally inappropriate,” said John Foust. “They’ve apparently been designing this for over six months. They have informed us of the process at the end and told us they needed an immediate response.”
The Washington Metropolitan Airports Authority, which now controls the toll road, would pick up half of the $100 million cost.
Fairfax leaders complained that other road projects should be funded first, including work to widen Route 7.
They also worry that adding concrete flyovers and bigger sound walls in McLean would disfigure neighborhoods, making the area less desirable for future homebuyers.
“We’ve done some very big projects in Fairfax County,” said County Supervisor Cathy Hudgins. “The large pavement and spaghetti piece does not bring a welcoming sight to an area that will be, I think, a great downtown for us in Tysons and for our communities nearby.”
The president of the McLean Citizens Association also worries about how flyovers might change the landscape. Rob Jackson said another issue is aesthetics.
“What will this look like? VDOT did not have drawings sufficient to show what they would look like. I'd say we'd probably have mixed feelings," said Jackson.
VDOT officials insist residents won’t even know the flyovers are there. Twenty-foot high barriers would keep the ramps from being seen from yards.
The design for flyovers in McLean is not nearly as high as those in the Springfield Mixing Bowl, according to Nic Nicholson.
"Because of the current topography at the Dulles Toll Road Capital Beltway Interchange, we do not need to go up as high as the Springfield Interchange,” Nicholson said. “We see these as both safety enhancements and capacity enhancements given what we’re doing with hot lanes and we don’t want to exasperate the current movements that we have on the Dulles Access Toll Road.”
Fairfax County Supervisors plan to meet with VDOT officials again on Dec. 8.
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