|A burlap-lined ditch on Auburn Street recently put in by VDOT.|
It’s not clear where the money will come from or how the responsibilities for implementing the plan would be divided between VDOT and the county. And at this point, it’s far from certain whether it would ever be implemented.
|A ditch along Auburn Street comes to a dead end at a driveway.|
In May, Amy Whetzel, a resident of Auburn Street, persuaded her representative in the Virginia Senate, Majority Leader Dick Saslaw, to convene a meeting in the neighborhood to discuss the need for a long-term solution to the flooding problem. Mason Supervisor Penny Gross, aides from Del. Kaye Kory’s office, and several Fairfax County and VDOT officials attended.
VDOT promised to come up with a comprehensive plan to improve drainage within a month. As an interim measure, VDOT has dug a few foot-deep ditches along Auburn Street.
Some of the ditches are lined with burlap and others are just dirt. There are no pipes underneath driveways, however, and there aren’t any pipes directing water anywhere. If there is heavy rain, the ditches will simply overflow, so “it’s not a holistic solution,” Whetzel says.
VDOT’s long-term plan, outlined in a letter to Saslaw from Lauren Mollerup, VDOT’s transportation and land use director for Arlington and Fairfax counties, calls for a system of driveway culverts about 30 feet long and 18 inches in diameter, roadway ditches about 18 inches deep on both sides of roads, and one or more water-quality swales.
The costs would cover hydraulic and hydrologic analysis, engineering, construction, stormwater management requirements, low-impact development swales, roadside ditches, utility relocation, and right-of-way estimates. Paving of the roadway would not be included in the cost estimate.
All Annandale Acres residents would have to be on board if the project is to proceed. And that means people are going to have to give up some right-of-way on their property, as VDOT isn’t expected to pay condemnation costs. It would only take one person who opposes it for the whole project to be killed.