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Fairfax County leaders on Feb. 4 cut the ribbon for the new Scotts Run Trail, which with serpentine curves connects the Pimmit Hills neighborhood with the McLean Metro station on the eastern edge of Tysons.
Bracing against cold weather and high winds, four county supervisors cut the red ribbon for the trail near Westgate Elementary School.
The 2,500-foot-long asphalt trail runs between Chain Bridge and Magarity roads and traverses Westgate and Scotts Run Stream Valley parks. It has a curvy design intended to discourage use by bicyclists, officials said.
The $4.5 million project resulted from a partnership between the Virginia Department of Transportation and several Fairfax County agencies. The Fairfax County Department of Transportation did scoping work and found funding for the initiative, the county’s Park Authority donated land and managed the project’s design and permitting, and the Department of Public Works and Environmental Services managed the trail’s construction.
Work crews began building the trail in July 2019 and finished in December 2020. Whitman, Requardt and Associates LLP provided the project’s design engineering, Sagres Construction Corp. was the contractor and RK&K Civil Engineering and DMY Engineering Consultants Inc. provided on-site testing and inspection services.
“You all did an amazing job,” Supervisor John Foust (D-Dranesville) told the project team. “You should be very, very proud of what you have accomplished.”
The trail, which complies with the Americans with Disabilities Act, is 8 feet wide in most places, but 10 feet wide in its curved sections. It has lighting, signage, handrails and a pair of 12-foot-wide, steel-frame bridges – one 90 feet long, the other 50 – that respectively cross Scotts Run and one of its tributaries.
The trail’s safety features will encourage use by families, said Supervisor Dalia Palchik (D-Providence).
“More than ever . . . getting outdoors is critical and we know that the community is asking for more safe trails, more safe places to walk and bike,” she said.
The project is another part of the county’s “amazing plan” for trails in Tysons and enhances the community and improves its quality of life, Foust said.
“I look across the street and see Pimmit Hills and know that there are thousands of residents who will take advantage of this trail to get to the Metro and to get into Tysons, and that is so wonderful.”
The Mid-Atlantic Chapter of the Public Works Association has selected the initiative as its Project of the Year in the category of transportation projects costing less than $5 million, Foust said. He also thanked community members Merrily Pierce and Jenifer Joy Madden for their efforts on the project.
Board of Supervisors Chairman Jeff McKay (D) said people often do not realize how hard it is to bring seemingly small projects to fruition.
“This project is a great project, not only for Tysons but for the people who live in the communities around here, connecting them to transit, connecting them through beautiful park property, connecting them with nature,” he said. “Giving people an opportunity to get around in ways other than their cars is an important part of our long-term sustainability of Fairfax County [and] an important part of our personal health, as well.”
Infrastructure is a major contributor to people’s quality of life, McKay said. The environmentally sensitive project has amenities will benefit residents and help Tysons become a sustainable, quality community, he said.
“This has really been a team effort to make sure this critical pedestrian connection happened,” McKay said. “Know that we have a lot more to do in Tysons Corner, but milestones like this are important to stop and celebrate as we transform Tysons.”
The county has made many trail-system upgrades during the last decade including the Vesper Trail on the opposite side of Tysons, added Supervisor Walter Alcorn (D-Hunter Mill).
“These are all integrated in a way that you can actually get to transit,” Alcorn said. “During a pandemic, they’re really the lifeline for so many of us to get outside, to get exercise and to do so safely.”