Tuesday, March 09, 2010

Dulles Rail construction marks year of progress

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Since the Federal Transit Administration's approval of $900 million in "new starts" funds to complete the financial package for construction of Phase 1 of the Dulles Corridor Metrorail Project in northern Virginia in March 2009, construction has started all along the 11-mile alignment from East Falls Church to Reston. More than 95 percent of the construction of manholes and duct banks necessary for relocating the 21 utilities in the Route 7 alignment area has been completed. Some overhead power lines have been permanently removed and utility crews are now working in those manholes underground to connect the new lines.

In spite of the record winter storms:

•Construction of the Wiehle Avenue Station on the eastern edge of Reston is underway.

• Crews this month will begin work on the Tysons East Station, the first of four stations that will serve Tysons Corner.

• Many of the piers are now in place for the guideway that will carry the trains from the existing Orange Line to the middle of the Dulles Connector Road and from the Dulles Connector Road to the northwest side of Route 123 near Capital One.

• Preparations for guideway work are starting at Route 7 and the Dulles Toll Road.

• And, the mining of the two tunnels that will carry trains from Route 7 to Route 123 are proceeding on schedule. The outbound tunnel now extends completely below International Drive and mining is about 150 feet into the inbound tunnel.

Currently, more than 1,100 are now working on Dulles Rail. 214 caissons, underground supports for the aerial structures, have been built. More than 207 concrete sections of the aerial guideway that will support the rail track have been built at a staging area at Dulles Airport. Bridges are under construction to carry the rail tracks over Pimmit Run, the WO&D Trail in Reston, and Magarity Road. Pier guideway construction is under way at the I-66 and Dulles Connector Road (Route 267) interchange.

Heavy snow delayed plans for major changes to Route 7 in Tysons Corner until April. Here is what to expect: Elimination of all mid-block left turns; shifting of traffic lanes on eastbound Route 7 between Route 123 and Gosnell Road to make room for construction of the Tysons Central 7 Station; continuing construction of retaining walls along some sections of eastbound Route 7 where crews are elevating the existing service roads to the same grade as Route 7. This is taking place near Pike 7 Plaza and Best Buy; and construction of retaining walls on Route 7, necessary to build up the service roads to the same grade as Route 7 for lane shifting.

Construction will cause the closing of Old Chain Bridge Road between Great Falls Street and Anderson Road in the McLean area in April for approximately four weeks, pending development of detailed plans. A large truss will be assembled at the Dulles Connector Road bridge over Old Chain Bridge Road, a very large, rigid structure that will be used to build the elevated track. It will start at the abutment and piers that are under construction where the Dulles Connector Road runs over Old Chain Bridge Road.

Construction of the Tysons East Metrorail Station, the first station to be built in Tysons Corner, has started, bringing with it traffic pattern changes and detours.

Travelers on the Dulles international Airport Access Highway will continue to see narrowed lanes between Wiehle Avenue and Reston Parkway because of Wiehle Avenue Metrorail Station construction.

Some lanes will close on the Dulles Toll Road where foundations will be built for piers that will support pedestrian bridges connecting the station to both sides of the Airport Highway/Toll Road.

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