The Washington Post

Interchange near Dulles still a work in progress

When Timothy M. Kaine was governor of Virginia, he traveled north from Richmond to announce a proposal to overhaul the way Virginia paid for transportation projects. The venue for his announcement was the Center for Innovative Technology on Innovation Drive, just off Route 28.

When I wrote about the governor’s big announcement, readers responded this way: You were on Innovation Avenue? What about that traffic light at Route 28?

I got as many letters about what should be done with that one traffic light as I did about the governor’s big plan to change transportation financing. It was an early lesson that all transportation is local — very, very local.

The Route 28/Innovation Avenue junction was rebuilt, and the traffic signal was taken down, but the result was a partial interchange. The ramps link only with the northbound lanes of Route 28. The Virginia Department of Transportation said back in 2007 that there wasn’t enough traffic volume to justify the cost of a full interchange.

Because travelers on Route 28 could see that more work had been done at the site, the obsession continued, and it’s come up several times recently during my online chats with readers: “Is there any updated on the VA 28 interchange at Innovation [Avenue]? a commenter asked Monday. “There hasn’t been any noticeable work being done on it in the last few years, but it looks like it’s close to being done.”

Susan Shaw, VDOT’s director of mega-projects, gave this update in an e-mail:

The interchange bridge and ramps to and from Route 28’s southbound side were built with money provided by the owner of the large tract of land northeast of the Route 28/Dulles Toll Road interchange, very near Route 28/Innovation Avenue.

The road work was done in advance of the property’s development and in advance of the traffic that requires the interchange, Shaw said. Completion of the interchange ramps and overpass will include a final paving and lane-striping. That phase of the work, also paid for by the land developer, will take about three months. But that’s the easy part.

Innovation Avenue will be relocated in conjunction with the new development and with the new Silver Line station just to the east. (That station will be part of the line’s second phase, not the segment scheduled to open this year.)

The Innovation Avenue realignment will include a change in the roadway’s grade. The grade change just east of the Route 28 interchange will be about 30 feet, so the work must be done without allowing any traffic on the avenue.

“This realignment potential has been what has held up moving forward to open the interchange,” Shaw said.

The developer is making final plans that will allow the realignment to move forward later in 2014, she said, but the realignment itself will take about a year to complete. Once that’s done, the full interchange will be opened, Shaw said.

And I know readers will remind me to ask about it.

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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