Residents living near George Mason University had the opportunity to meet with city officials last week to discuss a potential overpass connecting Braddock Road to Mason via Prestwick Road.

The informational meeting, held at Fairfax Villa Elementary School, brought a large turnout of residents interested in the project. Preliminary construction plans were outlined at the meeting, and members of VDOT, FCDOT, Fairfax City councilmembers and even Mason’s own VP of Facilities were present to address any concerns the public might have with the proposed project.

The concept is that an overpass (or possible underpass) be constructed to help alleviate the traffic congestion surrounding Braddock Road and other roads leading onto campus. Safety was a main concern at a lot of intersections where a left hand turn is present.

Mason officials proposed the bypass to allow traffic to cut around Braddock and Rte. 123, allowing traffic to flow more smoothly.

Braddock District Supervisor John C. Cook was in charge of the meeting, and he said there is currently about $10 million available in the Governor’s Transportation Plan that can be used toward the $15 million project. Mason will be responsible for the other $5 million to help fund the work.

“There are so many entities involved in this project that will have to work together,” Cook said.
Some of the ideas to help alleviate problems in the near future will be to lengthen the turn bay near University Mall on Braddock Road. Also under consideration is a traffic light at Braddock and Prestwick (right before the intersection at Rte. 123).

Chris Conklin, from Vanasse Hangen Brustlin Inc. represented his company’s interest in the transportation planning aspect of the project. VHB is working with Mason officials to map out the exact placement of the overpass and how it will affect the surrounding community.

“There should be significant improvements at all of the intersections once this plan goes into effect,” Conklin said.

Mason Vice President of Facilities Thomas Calhoun said there has been mention of a West Campus Connector for years. By connecting the west and east campuses, more students would be able to park farther away and still make it onto the main campus without issue.

“This project is still in the idea stage,” Calhoun said. “It’s not going to happen overnight.”

A University and Community Forum to further discuss the project is set for Fairfax City Hall on May 4 at 7:30 p.m.