In late January VDOT and Fairfax County broke ground on one of the most critical intra-connection links in Tysons, the Jones Branch Connector. We’ve had praise and critique of this project in the past, but it is undeniable that this project is the most important current link for both vehicles and non-vehicle users alike.
The overpass of 495 will connect North Tysons to East Tysons directly, providing new access to many along Jones Branch to the McLean metro station. It also solves a huge traffic jam that occurs every day at the intersection of Tysons Boulevard and Westpark Drive, where the current solution is 3 stacked turn lanes that routinely gridlock. The gridlock is due to the awkward left – left turn movement and the backups on 495. While the Jones Branch Connector doesn’t solve that intersections failings, it does draw away significant demand for drivers who can now gain access to non-HOT lanes of 495 by taking the bridge to 123 or to the Dulles Toll Road. It also alleviates the substantial number of drivers who are not getting on 495 including local residents and those in directly adjacent neighborhoods of Tysons.
The project is still in its early stages, with traffic being redirected, initial earth moving beginning, and preparation for demolition of the existing elements along the alignment. The initial bridge, much like its neighbor, the Westpark Bridge, will be phased and begin with a one-lane each way span. This will be complete in late 2018, with follow on expansion through 2019. You can expect to see the first spans across 495 being built out early next spring, and column/abutment construction work by the end of this year.