Civic groups and residents along a three-mile segment of Gallows Road in Vienna and Dunn Loring gave cautious approval to a proposed highway improvement last week but disagreed with some of the specifics of the plans.
Plans for a four-lane, divided highway with two 12-foot lanes in each direction were presented at a hearing conducted by the Fairfax office of the Department of Highways and Transportation. Sixteen citizens, many representing civic groups and business, presented views on the proposed projects, which would cost $2.9 million.
The road would be widened form a point just north of U.S. 29/211 to the intersection of stat Rte. 7. It would follow the existing roadway to a point south of Courthouse Road the veer to the west to join secondary 3905.
One part of the plan that brought objections from business and community proposal to raise a 16-foot median along all but the residential areas of Gallows Road.
According to Lee Fifer of Browning-Ferris Industries, the concrete strip would make turning difficult for trucks, would encourage U-turns and focus traffic back into intersections. He asked for a painted median.
According to T. F. Butler Jr. of the local highway department, left hand turn lanes were put in the median at spots that might indicate a street of intersection. "The trouble is that there are long sections where there are no blocks as such," he said. "Obviously not everyone is going to be happy with our choices."
Richard T. Hendricks of the Dunn Loring Fire Department also objected to the median strip. He said, "It's a matter of time. Any obstacles that prevent our getting in and out of a place easily adds time to our getting to someone in need."
Another problem cited by many speakers was the proposal drainage into the Dunn Loring Park. Gaston Weakley of the Dunn Loring Improvement Association said his group was against the improvement unless the residential character of the area would not affected and the drainage plans for the highway would be reviewed.
Robert Summers of Dunn Loring and Loanne Wagner, representing the Wolftrap Citizens Association, also objected to frainage into the park and wooded area and suggested alternative frainage possibilities.
Wagner said her group would also like to have the proposal speed limit of 40 m.p.h. lowered and consideration given to noise and air pollution. She also recommended that decisions on right-of-way be made within an equitable period of time.
According to R. A. Baker of the Department of Highways, two families involving eight persons and one private school will be displaced by the project. People who have to be relocated are entitled to a replacement dwelling, information on new housing or substitute housing, and moving costs within a 50-mile radius.
He estimated that if all goes well in the right-or-way acquisitions, construction could begin within 12 to 18 months after the Virginia Highway Commission gives final approval of the plans.
P. D. Girbok of the resident office of the Highway Department told the 103 persons at the hearing held at Joyce Kilmer Intermediate School that construction could begin in 1978 with a completion date possibly by 1980.
The Highway Department report distributed at the hearing said that the average number of vehicles using Gallows Road everyday was 13,600 in 1975,a figure expected to increase to 28,000 by 1984.
Contributing to that increase will be the completion of hte Metro station on Gallows Road in 1981. W. Earl Long of the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority said that 16,000 metro riders are expected from the Gallows station. He estimates 45 per cent will be driven and dropped off and another 30 per cent will drive and park at the station.
The comments from the hearing will be considered by the local staff, according to Butler, and those judged to be feasible and to have merit will be forwarded to the district office in Culpeper, Va. From there the plans will be forwarded to Richmond and a final decision on plans and suggestions will be made by the Highway Commission.
The highway department will include the comments and resolutions of the Fairfax Board of Supervisors in the material forwarded to Culpeper.