King-Callahan-Russell Intersection Improvement Project

Page updated on Apr 24, 2020 at 4:49 PM

What's New?


The signalized intersection at King, Callahan, & Russell has reached the end of its useful life and needs to be rebuilt.  Funding was provided in Fiscal Year 2018 to rebuild the intersection, however, the City delayed reconstruction of the intersection in an attempt to combine the traffic signal rebuild with a planned, grant funded project at the intersection.  

The City is currently rebuilding the mast arms and vehicle signal indications portion of the traffic signal only.  No changes are currently being made to roadway geometry, existing pedestrian signals, or pavement markings as a result of the traffic signal rebuild.  However, the current traffic signal rebuild will occur in such a way as to not preclude pedestrian improvements, roadway geometry changes, or lane configuration improvements that may be envisioned and included as part of the upcoming project at the intersection. Reconstruction of the vehicular signals and mast arms currently underway is expected to be complete in late Spring 2020. Traffic impacts are expected to be minor, but may include temporary lane closures so that crews may efficiently complete the work needed.

The King, Callahan, and Russell grant-funded project will have a public meeting to re-familiarize the neighborhood with the design and the benefits projected for traffic as well as pedestrians and bicyclists as the timing and opportunity exists, targeted for Summer 2020. 


King-Callahan-Russell concept plan

Link to concept plan shown above

The City of Alexandria is working to finalize designs for revising the intersection of King Street, Callahan Drive, and Russell Road. This revision will:

  • Create safer, more direct pedestrian crossings across King Street and Callahan Drive.
  • Install new King Street crossings on the west side of Russell Road, and near Sunset Drive.
  • Provide separate lanes for King Street bicycle traffic through the intersection.
  • Reduce rush-hour backups in all directions, and pedestrian crossing delay, by changing how the traffic signals operate. A full evaluation of the predicted traffic impacts and benefits of the revised intersection under various traffic signal operation plans, is posted here.
  • Upgrade traffic signal hardware.

Project Background

The City of Alexandria was awarded a grant from the Federal Transit Authority (FTA) to make pedestrian and bicycle safety improvements to improve access to transit.  The intersection of King Street, Callahan Drive and Russell Road was identified as a priority location for these improvements.  As part of the City's Complete Streets Program, the City kicked off this project at a public meeting on January 15, 2015.   At this meeting, staff presented the scope of work identified in the grant and solicited feedback from residents as to their main concerns and issues as pedestrians and cyclists at this location.  A second public meeting was held on June 23, 2015 to review and discuss different options for the intersection.   

Questions and Answers

What are the benefits to people walking through the intersection?

  • A new crossing of King Street on the west side of the intersection.
  • Safer, more direct crossings of both King Street and Callahan Drive.
  • Enhancing pedestrian safety by removing high-speed “slip ramp” vehicle right turns.
  • A leading pedestrian interval (or LPI) for all crossings, a safety measure that provides a few seconds of head-start for crossing pedestrians.
  • Sidewalks upgraded to provide more space, accessible ramps, and connection to the Masonic Temple steps.

How will this address traffic backups?

While this project was not intended to address traffic backups, the design will reduce congestion at this intersection. Changes that will reduce congestion:

On southbound Russell Road and northbound Callahan Drive? A new left turn lane from Callahan Drive to westbound King Street will help relieve overall delays for northbound traffic. This new left turn lane also allows northbound Callahan Drive and southbound Russell Road through traffic to run safely at the same time, which will further reduce delays and backups for both streets.

On eastbound and westbound King Street?  With Callahan Drive and Russell Road traffic moving concurrently, more green time can be given to King Street traffic as well, which will cut down on backups. Converting the Masonic Temple driveway entrance from King Street to one-way operation improves safety on King Street.

Did you consider allowing both southbound lanes to go straight through on Russell Road?

We considered this lane configuration, but found that it could not be implemented for safety reasons. Designers concluded that a truck could not continue through from the left lane without overlapping into the right lane through the intersection, creating a high risk of sideswipe crashes. However, we expect to achieve similar reductions in traffic backups on Russell Road by allowing traffic to move concurrently with northbound Callahan Drive.

What are the benefits to people bicycling through the intersection?

  • A westbound bike lane where riders can safely position themselves on the approach to the intersection.
  • An eastbound bike lane, including a section that is fully separated from the roadway, that gives riders a designated space through the intersection.

Will existing King Street bike lanes be extended to connect with new bike lanes provided through this intersection?

A left-turn lane from eastbound King Street to northbound Russell Road is needed at the intersection for overall traffic operations. The space required for a left-turn lane prevents us from extending the bike lanes eastward to directly connect to the intersection. However, after implementation of these intersection changes, we will evaluate changes in eastbound King Street traffic to see if the existing left turn lane can be shortened, in order to allow the bike lanes to be extended from their current start/end at W Rosemont Avenue, down to W Cedar Street. 

How is this related to Alexandria’s Vision Zero transportation safety program?

Alexandria’s Vision Zero Action Plan calls for eliminating all deaths and serious injuries by 2028. Using a data-driven approach to identifying opportunities to make the system safer, the Action Plan identified a number of corridors and intersections where future changes could help reduce crash risks. The intersection of King Street, Callahan Drive, and Russell Road was identified as a high-crash intersection, with a history of serious injury crashes for pedestrians, bicyclists, and automobile occupants.

Why has this project taken so long?

The City encountered delays creating a full design that was responsive to community concerns about traffic congestion. After a conceptual design was created, the City conducted a thorough analysis of traffic signal operations scenarios, to see how the community’s traffic concerns could be addressed alongside the pedestrian safety objectives of the project. The resulting analysis helped to validate the proposed design, and shows how it will improve safety and mobility for all modes.

When will this project be built?

The exact schedule is not yet known. The City is working to finalize design, and will then advertise for a construction contract. Construction timing will need to be coordinated with other major projects being planned for the immediate area (such as the King Street Metro dropoff area changes) to minimize disruptions

What community outreach was conducted for this project?

Three community meetings were held to discuss design ideas and community concerns. Presentations and comment summaries from those meetings are posted at the bottom of this webpage. 

  King.Callahan.Russell Location map 

City Right of Way

KCR Volumes4

Public Outreach

Public Meeting #1 - January 15, 2015 - Presentation - Community Comments

Public Meeting #2 - June 23, 2015 - Presentation - Community Feedback

Public Meeting #2 - December 8, 2015 - Presentation

For more information please contact Christine Mayeur, Complete Streets Program Manager.