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Major infrastructure project in Fairfax County to remove longest traffic light in Virginia

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Reporter’s Notebook: Infamous Popes Head Road at the Fairfax County Parkway is, according to county officials, the longest light in all of Virginia at nearly five and a half minutes during rush hour. After decades of complaints – that’s going to change. Crews are presently reconfiguring the intersection so commuters can get home earlier.

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If you’ve spent any time driving in Fairfax County, you’re well aware of the poor souls stuck at the Popes Head Road light where it crosses the Fairfax County Parkway.

“We never could figure out why the light was so long. But it would really back things up especially in the morning and in the evenings,” said driver Lorenzo Bishop.

That’s because the light lasts, during peak traffic time, for some five and a half minutes. And if you don’t make it through in time you’re stuck for much longer as Lorenzo Bishop knows all too well.

Bishop added, “It’s a long time coming. That’s for sure. Get to this light and we could spend all night here. Have a lunch before you can turn.

Bishop is delighted because construction equipment is on the move at this location. Crews will be working here over the next couple of years replacing traffic signals with two fly-over bridges and three roundabouts as seen in a Virginia Department of Transportation graphic.

“This is one of the most dangerous intersections. It’s got the longest light in Virginia,” said Fairfax County Supervisor Pat Herrity.

Fairfax County Supervisor Pat Herrity has been working on fixing this intersection for years. He said, when completed, this $83 million project will significantly improve traffic flow and safety while ensuring cyclists and pedestrians can safely travel in and around this busy corridor.

“It will be open late 2025 but they’ll finish up in 2026. So, the important part is when the light goes away and that’s the end of 2025,” added Supervisor Herrity.

This project not only widens the Parkway to three lanes, it also connects to nearby Shirley Gate Road thereby easing traffic along Braddock Road and 123.

For more information on this project click here.

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