Bumper-to-Bumper Traffic Demands Route 28 Solution

Thu February 19, 2004 - Southeast Edition
Brenda Ruggiero

Rapid growth has led to a major road project that involves improvements to a busy corridor through Fairfax and Loudoun counties in Virginia. The area includes Dulles International Airport, AOL Time Warner headquarters and the Smithsonian’s new Air and Space Museum.

Spearheaded by the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT), the full contract amount is slightly under $200 million. An agreement was made with The Clark Construction Group Inc., Bethesda, MD, and its road and bridge construction subsidiary, Shirley Contracting Company, LLC, Lorton, VA, to develop, design and build six high-capacity interchanges on Route 28. Dewberry & Davis LLC, Fairfax, VA, is in charge of design.

In Loudoun County, upgrades will be made to Route 606, Route 625 and Sterling Boulevard. Fairfax County improvements will include Air and Space Museum Parkway (formerly Barnsfield Road), Westfields Boulevard and McLearen Road.

According to Clark Construction and VDOT, the most heavily traveled section of Route 28 is just north of Dulles Toll Road, with 70,000 vehicles per day. By 2010, the same section is expected to carry 135,000 vehicles per day.

The overall agreement calls for the construction of 10 interchanges and the widening of Route 28 from six lanes to eight between Route 7 and Interstate 66. The contract includes construction, utility relocations, right-of-way acquisition, permitting, design and quality control.

Funding for the project comes from VDOT allocations, NVTD bonds, Route 28 tax district bonds, secondary road funds and local EDA/IDA bonds.

A press release from Clark Construction noted, “The project is being built under Virginia’s Public-Private Transportation Act, which allows private entities to propose innovative solutions for designing, building, financing and operating transportation improvements.

“VDOT will contribute state highway funds, and revenue bonds backed by proceeds from The Route 28 Tax District will be utilized to finance the balance of the project. Landowners along Route 28 agreed to pay for improvements to the corridor in 1988 through a special tax district.”

VDOT will contribute more than $70 million for the project and provides support and guidance in accordance with the agreement to ensure the project’s success.

According to VDOT, the contract was executed on Sept. 25, 2002, and is scheduled to be substantially complete by Nov. 30, 2006. Final completion is scheduled for May 1, 2007.

VDOT reported that the project is currently on schedule, and the Air & Space Parkway Interchange opened for traffic on Dec. 5, 2003.

Jon F. Harman is the development manager.

“Being a design/build project,” he said, “the biggest challenge to the project is to seamlessly integrate the various phases so they occur concurrently.

“A typical project would be very linear in nature with design, right-of-way acquisition, permitting and utility relocation all completed before construction begins. With design/build, these activities overlap, with the objective being to increase the efficiency of the project while decreasing the overall duration.”

Design has not yet been initiated on several of the interchanges, so Harman noted that final quantities cannot be determined and will likely change as the process evolves.

According to Harman, the number of people on the job varies from time to time, but the number currently totals about 200.

The equipment used on the project includes a 70-ton (63.5 t) Grove crane, a Cat 345 track excavator, a Cat 963 track loader, a Samsung 210W rubber-tired backhoe, a 650 John Deere dozer, a Melroe Bobcat 836, a Volvo L70D rubber-tired loader, a Cat 12H motor grader, a John Deere 310 J rubber-tired backhoe, a Volvo 330, a Liebherr 941 trackhoe, a John Deere 450 dozer, a Cat 330 track excavator, a Cat 963 track loader, a Volvo off-road truck and an Ingersoll-Rand 84-in. (213.4 cm) S/F roller.