Friday, July 23, 2010

W&OD Trail closures at Dulles Toll Rd bridge

Construction of the Silver line at the W&OD Trail and the Dulles Toll Road has been underway for around a year. The work required replacement of the original trail, paving of the parallel unpaved trail, and a slight detour for cyclists. In my experience, and I pass through this location several times a week, construction crews working at the site have been very considerate of trail users. Fortunately the trail has remained open the entire time. That will soon change.

Beginning in August, there will be intermittent closures of the trail at this location during construction of the rail bridge. According to the press release below, the trail will be closed for "approximately 15 minutes or less" for placement of steel girders. Work will also be done this Fall that will entail trail closures at night. We'll try to find out more details; this is a critical commuting route used by many cyclists at night. Yes, we know technically the trail is closed after dark but it's still used by many people to get back and forth to work.

We're hopeful the August closures are less than 15 minutes. There is an easy detour shown in orange on the map. The construction site is at the blue marker. To bypass this site, you can use Sunrise Valley Dr to Wiehle Ave back to the trail (or the reverse if traveling west to east). There are sidepaths on these roads if you choose not to ride in the road. Here's the press release from the Dulles Corridor Metrorail Project:

Intermittent Closures of W&OD Trail Expected Early August as Rail Bridge Construction Accelerates—The section of the Washington and Old Dominion (W&OD) Trail beneath the Dulles International Airport Access Highway and the Dulles Toll Road near Reston will be closed for short periods during several weeks in August.

The closings are necessary because Dulles Corridor Metrorail Project construction crews will be ramping up work on the new bridge that will carry the rail tracks, which will run in the median of the airport and toll roads, over the trail. Crews have been working on the bridge for several months and trail users have encountered some detours.

During the first week of August, crews will start site preparations for hanging and placing large steel girders on the ridge over the trail. The girder placements are currently scheduled to begin on or about Tuesday, Aug. 10. The steel girder erection work will be done during daytime hours because there are overhead power lines at this work site that would be difficult for workers to see at night.

The trail will only close temporarily when the steel girders are lifted and installed. Closures are executed to last approximately 15 minutes or less for each girder.

The affected section is located between Wiehle Avenue and Hunter Mill Road, where it crosses under the Dulles International Airport Access Highway (DIAAH) near the trail's mile marker 16. Because the future Metrorail line will run down the median of the DIAAH, this bridge is being built to support the tracks over the W&OD Trail.

Drivers in this area may also experience lane closures along the airport highway when large equipment and materials are moved to that work area prior to the steel erections.

All motorists and trail users should stay alert and use extreme caution while traveling through this area.

After the erection work is completed, crews will be building the bridge itself. Most of that work will be done at night and will require full closures of the trail. A schedule will be released later this fall and the work is expected to be completed before Thanksgiving.

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