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Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Temporary fire station planned for Annandale Road at South Street

The future site of the temporary fire station.
Construction should start in about a year on a temporary fire station on the wooded lot at the corner of Annandale Road and South Street in Falls Church. That facility will house Fire Station 18, also known as the Jefferson Fire Station, while it will be torn down and replaced with a larger building.


A rendering of the new permanent Jefferson Fire Station. [Hughes Group Architects]

County officials and planners described the project at a community meeting hosted by Mason Supervisor Penny Gross May 9.

The Jefferson station, at Woodley Lane and Hodge Place next to Route 50, was built in 1953 and is outdated, Gross said. The new, larger fire vehicles can barely fit into the bays, and they can’t easily turn around. The new station will be much larger, at 17,694 square feet, compared to 14,500 square feet for the existing building, but the footprint won’t be much bigger.

The new station will have five bays and an upper level with bunks. There will be two poles for firefighters to slide down to reduce response times, said Capt. Sean Evans, the station commander. The staff is mostly career firefighters, so it won’t have a large social hall like many of the volunteer fire departments.

Demolition of the existing fire station should start in spring or summer of 2017. Construction should take about 18 to 24 months, and the new fire station should be finished by the end of 2019.

“When you  have to redo a fire station, you can’t close it down, so we have to have a temporary location,” Gross said. The transition to the temporary facility “should be absolutely seamless. Service to the community will not be disrupted.”

The entire project, including the new building and temporary facility, will cost just over $7.5 million. Funding comes from a 2012 bond referendum.

The temporary station will consist of trailers and a fabric-covered tent-like apparatus bay, said Mark Crosnicker of Hughes Group Architects. It will be up and running before the old station is demolished. When the new building is completed, the temporary facility will be removed, and the site will be restored to its former condition.

Primary access will be from South Street, due to the median on Annandale Road. Vehicles will exist the site onto South Street. Vehicles could enter from Annandale Road or South Street, depending on which direction they’re coming from.

The site plan for the temporary fire station. Annandale Road is at the left, and South Street is on top.
Local residents at the meeting raised concerns about traffic, access, response times, and noise. If the traffic is backed up, the fire trucks could go on the opposite side of the road if necessary, Evans said. The trees that will remain on the site should buffer the noise. Also, sirens won’t need to be turned on in the middle of the night when there’s no traffic; flashing lights will be enough.

No traffic improvements are needed for that site, and an analysis shows there would be no adverse impact on existing traffic. The station is expected to handle 12.5 calls a day on average, which equates to 19 vehicles entering and exiting the facility. There would be an additional 10 trips by fire department personnel every day.

Gross acknowledged the Annandale Road site isn’t perfect but it was the best location available that is close enough to the existing station and to main roads. When the Bailey’s Crossroads Fire Station was rebuilt, there were concerns about locating the temporary facility on Moncure Avenue, which doesn’t have a traffic signal. After it became operational, “we didn’t hear of a single problem,” she said. 

4 comments:

  1. given the regular traffic jams that occur at Annandale and Rte 50 and South Street during morning and even- ing rush hours, I cannot believe this location was chosen. Anyone who lives in the area knows that gridlock often results here.

    ReplyDelete
  2. The "gridlock" at annandale and rt 50 is far, far less than the gridlock at graham rd and rt 50 (where the current station is); ever since they practically eliminated the left turn lane in the worlds stupidest construction project ever

    ReplyDelete
  3. The "gridlock" at annandale and rt 50 is far, far less than the gridlock at graham rd and rt 50 (where the current station is); ever since they practically eliminated the left turn lane in the worlds stupidest construction project ever

    ReplyDelete
  4. The "gridlock" at annandale and rt 50 is far, far less than the gridlock at graham rd and rt 50 (where the current station is); ever since they practically eliminated the left turn lane in the worlds stupidest construction project ever

    ReplyDelete