Fairfax Unveils Plans for OCHR Problem Spot

Originally published 1/15/16

Wednesday, Hunter Mill Supervisor Cathy Hudgins and FCDOT hosted a community meeting to address a problematic stretch of Old Courthouse Road a quarter mile west of us. This is the point where OCHR intersects with Besley Road, and the Wolftrap Creek passes under on its way to the Potomac.

There are two issues. The first is that the culvert taking the creek under the road is undersized for the job. It is an oval, only 4 feet wide by 3 feet high. This is usually no problem, but when the storms come up, the creek rises fast. Occasionally a log will float out of the woods and get lodged in the culvert. Other dead fall branches soon join. Then come vines and leaves, and in a very short time, the culvert is completely corked. Then the creek has no place to go except up and over the road, creating a massive problem for commuters, as well as real danger to anyone caught in the resulting fast-moving flood.

The second issue is that the combination of hills, curves, and poor sight lines makes this a dangerous place to try to navigate by foot or bicycle. It is an obstacle in a natural series of trails including the Novi Trail, the W&OD, and others, bringing parks and other points of interest into a comprehensive integration advocated by cyclers and trail and nature enthusiasts.

The proposed plan addresses both of these issues with a bridge large enough to be immune to clogging, along with separate pedestrian and mixed use pathways along 1000 feet of the road. A trail connection from Wolf Trails Park to Creek Crossing Road will require one crossing of OCHR, which could be either to the east or the west side of the bridge.