Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Cross County Trail closed at Dulles Toll Rd

Due to construction of the Silver line, the Cross County Trail (CCT) is closed at the Dulles Toll Rd and Difficult Run. At this point the trail passes under the Toll Rd and is adjacent to Difficult Run. There is very little room to maneuver construction equipment under the existing Toll Rd bridge. The equipment is being used to build a new bridge for the Silver line track.

There were plans to close the trail earlier this year. At that time we were told it would be closed until November. Since then there has been plenty of time for the county and the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority (MWAA), which operates the Toll Rd and is constructing the Silver Line, to develop a detour. This is a heavily used trail that should never be closed without a detour. Would we close a major road with no options for motorists who travel on that road?

As we noted in the earlier post about the closure, there is a possible detour that requires riding on the Beulah Rd bridge across the Toll Rd. As a commenter noted earlier, Beulah Rd is a heavily traveled road, and the bridge over the Toll Road is narrow with no trail or sidewalk. Only experienced cyclists should use this route.

If you're headed north there is a dirt path leading from the CCT to Squaw Valley Dr. Take Squaw Valley Dr to L on Lozano Dr to L on Beulah Rd. Continue on Beulah Rd across the Toll Rd to L on Days Farm Dr just after the bridge. There are tennis courts located at the bottom of Days Farm Dr where a trail connects to the CCT. Map of possible detour.

To comment on the lack of a detour at this location contact the Park Authority trails coordinator. You can also complain to MWAA.

Update: MORE has a thread in their forum on riding the detour.

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I was just through there a few weeks ago. That section of trail in general was never paved, and didn't even have crushed stone or gravel. It is just a dirt trail which is frankly in awful shape. There are deep ruts along the way - each filled with mud and many bicycle tire tracks in them. Really only suitable for mountain bikes - forget it if you have a road bike.

As you get further away from the DIAAH, the trail conditions improve somewhat - I wonder whether during heavy rains that Difficult Run would flood the trail (which would also degrade conditions of course).

I don't know the extent to which a bicycle commuter would use this route - you would use whatever you have available I guess. I agree with your assessment of Beulah Rd as being far from ideal for bicycle commuters.
While not many commuters use this trail, it is heavily used by mountain bikers. Completely closing a major bike trail with no detour shouldn't be acceptable.
I could understand that it may be unsafe to run underneath the bridge while they are lifting beams into place, but when I rode through there yesterday at 5:00pm the construction site was closed. There is no reason they could not construction their fence to allow people to use the trail when there is no working being done.
Good point. Cyclists will want to ride there if there is no activity and there will probably be a constant struggle to keep them out. I would think the heavy equipment could be parked to allow for a gap for trail users when work is completed for the day. This will be a very long closure and it seems like the Park Authority could do more to accommodate users.

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