Vesper Trail Plan Unveiled

Originally published 11/24/14

The power line marching through the backyards of Westbriar is the extension cord that powers Tysons. Three hundred meters span the forest that was recently spared from the woodman’s ax.

Under the line is a path, well-worn, but fit only for the most agile. It crosses the Spring Branch Creek for the sure-footed, but only during low water. Even then your choice is fording a gravelly area up to your ankles, or clambering over sharp rocks. When rains come, the “Asphalt Triangle” comprised of Routes 7, 123, Old Courthouse, and Gosnell Roads, two shopping centers, and the huge car dealships disgorge the runoff that quickly makes the stream an impassible torrent.

The master plan for the Tyson makeover has put a premium on walk-ability and bike-ability. A network of trails is a vital part of that goal. The Vesper Trail has been looked at for many years as an important link.

Last night, Fairfax County unveiled their plan for making the route safe year ’round for pedestrians and bicyclists. The project is Federally funded, and already approved. It is estimated to cost about $1.5 million, and will be finished in 2016. Detailed descriptions and artist renderings were displayed on tripods and walls of the Westbriar Elementary School cafeteria.

The audience of about 50, mostly residents of Greater Tysons Green, were generally pleased with the plan. No one expressed any serious objections, but some concerns were raised during a Question-Answer session.

One concern was whether the bridge span was wide enough to carry the storm water. It seemed a bit small for the realities of a large storm. Another was the lighting, and whether it would be an annoyance to residents along Higdon Drive. Currently proposed lighting is on 18 foot poles spaced 85 feet apart.