Campus Drive expected to open next semester

The Campus Drive project that will offer an alternate route into campus from Braddock Road is expected to open on Jan. 7.

Currently, the intersection of Ox Road and Braddock Road is congested in the mornings and evenings as commuter students enter and leave campus.  The Campus Drive construction project aims to reduce this congestion by putting in an underpass connecting east and west campus.

“This connector will facilitate pedestrian, vehicular and bike movement of Mason students, faculty, staff and visitors between east and west campus areas without the need to use the regional roadway system,” states the Mason Facilities website. Another goal of this project is to reduce the amount of traffic that relies on the Roanoke River Road entrance to campus.

Christine Hogan, a project engineer with George Mason University’s Office of Facilities Project Management & Construction, said that the construction would be finished by the time students return to campus in January.

This project, which began in December 2012 with the goal of creating a safer commute for students and the community, was a joint effort between Mason and state and local leaders.  The project, costing $15 million dollars, was covered entirely by the Virginia Department of Transportation.

“The new roadway and entrance onto the campus west of the intersection of state Route 123 and Braddock Road includes elevating 123 to create an underpass that will feature open space, a shared-use path and Campus Drive, a two-lane road,” Hogan said.

According to Hogan, the Campus Drive entrance to is expected to lower the amount of traffic on Ox Road and Braddock Road every day by at least 30%.

“In addition to decreasing traffic congestion, the project includes several new facilities on the west campus including new bathrooms, a picnic spot, and new tennis court facilities. Plus, Mason sports and recreation fields easily can be seen from the road,” Hogan said. The construction will also replace the walking and biking path along state Route 123 that has been detoured through campus, making it wider than it was previously, and “connecting the path to campus and into the community.”

While the entrance is currently closed, a new sign with the Mason logo has appeared on Braddock Road, along with a sign describing the entrance as “Campus Drive.”  Hogan described it as a “safer, better and more open connection between the Fairfax East and West Campuses.”

There will be a ribbon cutting ceremony on Jan. 7 to officially open Campus Drive.

Featured Photo Credit: Amy Rose