Some Silver Line road work waiting on warmer weather


The same snow that fell on the Silver Line tracks along Route 7 also fell on the roadway below, slowing the road work. (Chuck Samuelson/Dulles Metrorail Project)

Some Virginia commuters are concerned about delays in opening the Silver Line not because they plan to ride the rails but rather because they drive along roads disrupted by the line’s construction.

“Is the available adjacent traffic lane in Tysons on Route 7 (between Spring Hill Road and Tyco Road) also delayed?” asked Dave Sullivan, one of those commuters.

The road work on Route 7 in Tysons Corner is an essential part of the Silver Line project, but completion schedule has more to do with winter weather than with the status of automatic train controls.

Here’s a report for Sullivan and other drivers.

Winter storms and below-freezing temperatures have had a chilling effect on the completion of the road work in Tysons Corner associated with construction of the Silver Line, said Marcia McAllister, spokeswoman for the Dulles Corridor Metrorail Project. “It’s simply been too cold to finish some critical paving along Route 123 near Tysons Corner Center and along Route 7,” she said in an e-mail Friday.

“We look for breaks in the weather, monitor the National Weather Service and Weather Channel long range forecasts, so we can squeeze in paving. It looks like it will be April before this paving can all be finished.”

Temperatures must be above 40 degrees several hours before paving starts and after it ends, she said. Paving is often scheduled for overnights, when it would be least disruptive, as long as Mother Nature cooperated on the temperature.

Most of the work on the eastbound lanes of Route 7 from the Dulles Toll Road interchange to Route 123 has been completed, McAllister said, but some lane closings still are needed for the finishing touches.

The far right lane is now open, completing the four-lane eastbound side. Dual left-turn lanes take drivers from eastbound Route 7 to Tyco Road. This winter, the access point on Route 7 with the Marshalls shopping center was repaved. Drivers leaving the center now have two left-turn lanes. Before construction of the elevated rail line and the Greensboro Metrorail station, traffic could enter the shopping center from both the eastbound and westbound sides of Route 7, McAllister noted, but now the entrance is accessible only from Route 7′s eastbound lanes.

[Added this from McAllister on March 5] All traffic exiting Marshalls Drive wanting to go from the shopping center to westbound Route 7 must turn right onto eastbound Route 7 then find a spot to do a U-turn, or turn right onto southbound 123 and go right on Old Courthouse Road/Gosnell Road to get back to the intersection of Route 7 and Gosnell, where left turns are permitted onto Route 7.

Drivers coming from the eastbound Dulles Toll Road onto eastbound Route 7 can’t get to the left-turn lanes at Tyco Road under the new configuration. They must continue to Spring Hill Road to make left turns or U-turns.
The far right lane approaching the ramp to southbound Route 123 is a right-turn only lane.

Work continues along the westbound side Route 7, McAllister said. This is the phase of any nearly complete project when drivers see fresh pavement and ache for access. Instead, they see a barrier of construction barrels.

“While the far right lane appears to be ready for traffic,” McAllister said, “it is not finished and not safe for drivers between West Park Drive and Route 123.”

There’s still a lot of paving to be done near the Route 7/Gosnell Road intersection.

On Route 123 at the Tysons Boulevard intersection near the Tysons Corner Metrorail station, much paving still needs to be done on both sides of the road.

Nearby, travelers can see that Macerich, owner of Tysons Corner Center, is installing a pier to support a bridge that will connect an entrance pavilion to the new rail station with the new hotel and office complex.

See full Post coverage of the Silver Line project.

Robert Thomson is The Washington Post’s “Dr. Gridlock.” He answers travelers’ questions, listens to their complaints and shares their pain on the roads, trains and buses in the Washington region.
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Robert Thomson | February 28