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Sign removal program now under way

If you were considering buying a puppy or weight-loss supplements from people advertising on roadside signs, you had better jot those numbers down fast.

This week, Fairfax County began its new program to clean up illegal signs from some major public roads across the county.

The Sheriff’s Community Labor Force will collect signs placed in the public right of way every week from Tuesday to Thursday. More than 60 roads will be scheduled for a once-a-month cleanup; mostly two-lane, divided highways like the Fairfax County Parkway, U.S. 50 and Va. 28.

The county will not remove signs from neighborhood streets or roads that aren’t included in the program, nor will crews pick up trash on designated roads.

Earlier this year, Fairfax County signed a legal agreement with VDOT to get the authority to remove signs. Under this agreement, the county is acting as an agent of the Virginia Commissioner of Highways, and the county is only authorized to pick up illegal signs. VDOT remains responsible for road maintenance.

Residents also can play a role in keeping the streets clean by volunteering with a VDOT-sponsored Adopt-a-Highway group. These groups may pick up trash and signs along roads, and they can operate seven days a week.

The county’s new program is estimated to cost $150,000 per year.

County awards contract for Huntington levee

Fairfax County has awarded the contract for the first phase of the Huntington levee design to ARCADIS.

In the fall, voters approved $30 million in bond financing for the levee project, which will help protect 180 homes in the Huntington neighborhood from flooding. Homes and cars there have sustained damage following three major floods since 2002, and residents have had to be rescued by county emergency personnel.

The first phase of the project will include a site study and development of a conceptual design for the levee. This is expected to be complete by January.

Survey crews from the county’s consulting firm William H. Gordon Associates will begin gathering essential survey data from the Huntington neighborhood after July 1. Crews will be performing minimally disruptive tasks such as marking utilities with flags and paint and setting large nails in specific locations for measuring horizontal and vertical geometry. These measurements are necessary to develop the project design for the levee.

Based on the initial concept provided by the US Army Corps of Engineers, this project is anticipated to take three to five years to design, with an additional two years for construction, according to county staff.

For more project details and status updates, go to www.fairfaxcounty.gov/dpwes/huntingtonlevee.

Report ranks Virginia roads at 15th in the nation

An annual report by the Reason Foundation, a libertarian organization, ranks Virginia at No. 15 in the nation in terms of road conditions and efficiency of its highway programs. The state moved up three spots from last year’s report.

The rating looks at highway expenditures, interstate and primary road pavement condition, bridge condition, urban interstate congestion, fatality rates and narrow rural lanes and is based on data through 2009.

Virginia was ranked the best in the country for the condition of its rural lanes and No. 2 on its levels of spending on repairing bridges, according to the report, but was in the middle of the pack for the condition and congestion level of the state’s urban roads.