Tuesday, April 20, 2010
 

Cross County Trail closed at Dulles Toll Rd

Thanks to The Wash Cycle we learned that the Cross County Trail is closed (or will soon be, I haven't checked it) at the Dulles Toll Rd. until November 2010. Large equipment used for construction of the Dulles Corridor Metrorail Project will block the trail at the Difficult Run bridge. Unlike similar construction at the W&OD Trail and the Dulles Toll Rd, there will be no detour provided. Read the County Park Authority news release Temporary Construction Closure Set For Northern CCT.

Whenever a major trail is closed a detour should be provided. In this case it would be difficult to provide a detour under the Toll Rd bridge due to limited space and the presence of the river adjacent to the trail. However, if this were the W&OD Trail, we're confident that the N. Va. Regional Park Authority would find a way to create a detour.

One option if you're headed north is to head east to Squaw Valley Dr. We've heard there is a dirt path leading from the CCT to Squaw Valley but we've never checked it. Take Squaw Valley Dr to L on Lozano Dr to L on Beulah Rd, cross the Dulles Toll Rd, continue on Beulah to L on Days Farm Dr just after the bridge. There are tennis courts located at the bottom of Days Farm Dr with a trail that connects to the CCT. We'll try to check out this rate as soon as we can. See Google map of the area. Map.

Update: According to the map Cross County Trail - Dulles Highways to W&OD Trail on the Reston Paths website, there are connections to Squaw Valley Dr and Days Farm Dr.

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Comments:
There is a trail that connects the CCT to Squaw Valley Dr on the south side of the Dulles Toll Road; however, the suggestion to use the Beulah Rd bridge as a detour should come with a HUGE caution! This bridge is at a slant to Lazono Dr and the safety fencing on the bridge makes it difficult for vehicles to pull out onto Beulah Rd. The bridge also does not have pedestrian access or enough shoulder for a bike lane. Combining all this with the fact that drivers are NOT slowing down to the posted cautionary speed of 25mph on the north side of the bridge makes this a questionable bike route detour.
 
There is a trail connecting the CCT to Squaw Valley Dr on the south side of the Dulles Toll Road; however, the suggestion to use the Beulah Rd bridge as a CCT detour should come with a HUGE caution! The Beulah Rd bridge is at a slant to Lozano Dr and the safety fencing on the bridge makes it difficult for vehicles to pull out onto Beulah Rd from Lozano Dr. There is NO pedestrian access on the bridge and there is NO shoulder for a bike lane on the bridge. Combining this with the fact that drivers are NOT slowing down to the posted 25mph cautionary speed limit on the north side of the bridge makes this a questionable bike trail detour, especially for young riders.
 
I agree, the Beulah bridge is narrow and not recommended as a pedestrian detour. It would be a long walk anyway from the CCT. However, I've ridden on the bridge a few times and while it is narrow, a cyclist using proper technique would take the lane and proceed across the bridge and shouldn't have a problem. Besides, it's a very short distance between Lozano Dr and Days Farm Dr.

If we didn't ride on roads without shoulders we wouldn't do much riding.
 
There is a big difference between experienced road cyclists and our young off-road cyclists. Most parents won't take their kids out onto the busy streets along with the traffic; however, they do allow them to venture into our great off-road trail system. I have picked trash along the south side of the Beulah Rd bridge at Lazono Dr and I found lots of vehicle collision debri to include an entire car bumper. My point is that our young inexperienced cyclists should use EXTREME caution when using this detour!
 

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