One of Fairfax County's top-priority road projects, an overpass to carry Gallows Road traffic over Rte. 50 near the Capital Beltway, should begin next year as scheduled.

Virginia highway officials told local residents and county officials recently that the project is expected to proceed if the state has enough money. r

The $12 million project, designed to ease traffic jams when 1,500 Mobil employes move here later this year, was one of six county road projects "that were going to be delayed because the state had no highway money for them," said Del. Martin H. Perper (R-Fairfax).

Mobil's 130-acre national headquarters will front on Gallows Road opposite Fairfax Hospital.

The 2-cents-a-gallon gasoline tax approved recently by the Virginia General Assembly ago is expected to permit many highway projects, including the six local projects, to proceed. However, Gov. John N. Dalton has warned that the tax "will not solve" the shortage of funds for state highway projects.

Even with the new tax, "the money may not be there . . . it's not there now" for the Gallows Road overpass and hundreds of other highway projects around the state, said resident highway engineer Don Keith.

"We expect the tax will actually bring in less money than we got last year . . . because motorists are driving less and buying more fuel-efficient cars. And the $12 million cost (of the overpass project) may go up to $13 million or more because of inflation."

Fairfax residents had been upset over the threatened postponement of the Gallows Road project.

"There was a joint federal, state, county and citizen agreement that we would get road improvements if Mobil came in," said Michael Kowalsky, president of the Holmes Run Woods and Crossing Civic Association.

"The feds are doing their part, putting in a full beltway interchange at Rte. 50 . . . and the state was to build an overpass for Gallows Road. . . ."