495 Express Lanes Survey
May 22, 2017, Survey of erosion control and replanting issues still lingering four years after "completion" of construction:
The Friends of Accotink Creek joined State Senator Dave Marsden along with representatives of VDOT, Stormwater Planning Division, the Sierra Club, and others for a one-year-later follow-up tour of problem sites along 495 that had been reported by FACC. This was subsequent to our May 2016 survey of significant issues associated with the implementation of the native landscaping plan and problem erosion and sediment control areas.
Of all the problems documented last May, results are a mixed bag. Changes we observed:
In general, we observed disappointingly common areas of bare ground although this may improve as the belated VDOT remedial replanting efforts proceed. It was also too common to observe thriving stands of invasive alien species such as Chinese lespedesa and Weeping love grass deliberately planted as part of the original replanting program and which will plague the right of way and beyond in perpetuity. Again, we urge that any future seed mix should be native grasses and wildflowers and zero non-native invasives.
VDOT will report back to the other parties with updated status.
Subsequent anaysis of aerial photos by DPWES brought to light another issue that had previously not registered - The equipment staging area was never restored to its existing condition. A gravel parking lot exists where there had been full vegetative cover before. This will require new discussions.
See the full DPWES survey report and analysis
The Friends Accotink Creek appreciate the continuing efforts of Senator Marsden and the Fairfax County Restoration Project to bring attention to our concerns.
Read the sad history of the 495 Express lanes project:
Here we go all over again? Construction is expected to begin on the I-66 Express Lanes in late 2017. Although we were unable to hold the asphalt at bay or even to have current stormwater controls applied to this project, let's all keep our eyes on it and hold VDOT and contractors to standards the citizens and environment of Virginia are entitled to expect.
Good gully Miss Molly!