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October 29, 2019

Warrenton interchange work about 2 months ahead

The project team’s doing a great job planning the project on both sides (of Route 29). They’re really working together to get the job tasks completed.
— VDOT Communications Coordinator Will Merritt
New Interchange
• Where: Warrenton Eastern Bypass at Business Routes 15/17/29 and Lord Fairfax Drive, just south of town.

• Agency: Virginia Department of Transportation.

• Features: Interchange with single-lane roundabouts at exit ramps, eliminating traffic signals and at-grade intersection; pedestrian path and commuter lot.

• Estimated cost: $26.9 million, approved by the Commonwealth Transportation Board last June 2018.

• Contractors: $19.6-million construction contract awarded to Shirley Contracting Co. and engineering firm Dewberry Inc.

• Construction: Started March 4; about one to two months ahead of schedule, the project could be completed between fall and winter 2020, according to VDOT.

• Project details: Click here
By .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)
Staff Journalist
Mostly because of dry weather, the Warrenton interchange near Lord Fairfax Community College could be completed sooner than expected.

“It’s about one to two months ahead of schedule,” said Virginia Department of Transportation Communications Coordinator Will Merritt said last week. “We’re about at the halfway mark right now.”

Work on the $26.9-million project at James Madison Highway (Routes 15/17/29) near Lord Fairfax Community College started March 2.

The contract calls for the project’s completion by Nov. 25, 2020. For every day it exceeds that deadline, Lorton-based Shirley Contracting Co. LLC must pay VDOT $3,100, according to Mr. Merritt.

The contract doesn’t call for any financial incentive for early completion because work will not interfere with traffic use of Route 29, he said.

If the weather continues to cooperate, the project “likely” would be finished next year “between the fall and winter,” Mr. Merritt said.

But, “we’re still showing winter 2020 as the completion date because there’s still so much to get done,” he said.

That checklist includes final pavement, work on the Route 29 bridge and two traffic circles and construction of a 20-space parking lot off Lord Fairfax Road, Mr. Merritt said.

He also credited the project team — Shirley Contracting Co., Dewberry Inc. and VDOT staff — for the potentially earlier-than-scheduled completion date.

“The project team’s doing a great job planning the project on both sides” of Route 29, Mr. Merritt said. “They’re really working together to get the job tasks completed.”

The project will replace the busy intersection just south of town with a grade-separated interchange.

A bridge will carry traffic over James Madison Highway to and from Lord Fairfax Community College, the county landfill and homes on the east side. Traffic circles just east and west of the overpass will distribute vehicles entering and exiting the highway via a network of ramps.

Both circles can handle tractor-trailers up to 69 feet long, according to the contractor.

The new interchange will stand slightly north of the existing intersection, lowering the impact on drivers during construction. Traffic will begin to use the new interchange next summer.

The project will increase safety and improve traffic flow at the busy intersection, which handles an average 44,000 vehicles a day, according to VDOT.

The only planned detour will take place next summer, when crews remove the intersection’s traffic signal.

At that time, vehicles leaving Lord Fairfax Drive will be unable to directly access the highway’s southbound lanes. Instead, those drivers will go north on the bypass and turn around at Meetze Road to travel south.

Crews will complete the southbound ramp during that two- or three-month detour.

The project also features an 8-foot-wide, 2,000-foot long pedestrian path across the bridge from Travelers Way to Alwington Farm property adjacent to The Home Depot.

A massive undertaking, the project typically has 20 to 30 workers onsite per day, according to Shirley Contracting Co. At peak, the number climbs to 50 per day.

Based on the contracting company’s calculations, workers using to date have:

• Moved 118,000 cubic yards of earth, with about 44,000 cubic yards trucked to the county landfill.

• Installed about 117,000 tons of rebar.

• Laid about 6,000 tons of asphalt.

• Poured about 563 cubic yards of concrete.

In February 2018, Virginia’s Commonwealth Transportation Board, awarded the $19.6-million construction contract to Shirley Contracting Co. and Fairfax engineering firm Dewberry Inc.

For more information about the project, click here.

Contact Don Del Rosso at Don@FauquierNow.com or 540-270-0300. 


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