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Clover Hill and Prince William Parkway area map.

Prince William County transportation planners are moving forward with their plan for a new “bowtie intersection” at Clover Hill Road and Prince William Parkway, entering into a $1.9 million agreement with the Northern Virginia Transportation Authority to cover design.

The county estimates that the final price tag for the interchange will ultimately be close to $23 million, which it recently asked for from the Commonwealth Transportation Board’s SMART Scale funding application. Right now, the funding to complete the project isn’t secured, but the county will be kicking off the interchange’s design phase in the next few months. That process will start with selecting an engineer for the design process, include several rounds of public comment and likely last about 18-24 months, County Planning Manager Paolo Belita told InsideNoVa.

By the end of design, the county hopes to have the money for construction secured, though it won’t need much for right-of-way, as the plan calls for much of the new intersection to be within the existing right-of-way. When all is said and done, the current intersection will be turned into a bowtie, in which left turns won’t be permitted at the main intersection and vehicles have to turn right to continue straight and “use downstream roundabouts to complete left turn movements,” according to a county staff report.

“Removing left turns from the main intersection will allow the intersection to operate under a two phase signal control, which increases green time on Prince William Parkway,” the report reads. “The roundabouts will be designed to accommodate large trucks and will be spaces to provide appropriate storage for queuing.”

Additionally, the project will include a 10-foot-wide shared use path along Clover Hill Road.

Belita said the intersection expansion will tie in with other projects along Route 234 like changes at the intersections of Brentsville Road, University Boulevard and Balls Ford Road. Officials broke ground on changes at the Brentsville Road interchange, another project with NVTA funding, earlier this year. The $55 million interchange there will eventually remove the two back-to-back-traffic lights and is expected to be completed in 2024.

“Route 234 is a corridor of statewide significance … We have a lot of other projects along the corridor, so this complements other projects we have there,” Belita said. “This is one of the last major intersections along the corridor that we’ll need improvements for.”

Jared Foretek covers the Manassas area and regional news across Northern Virginia. Reach him at jforetek@insidenova.com

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Jared Foretek covers Prince William County Public Schools, the city of Manassas and transportation news across Northern Virginia. Reach him at jforetek@insidenova.com

(8) comments

Allen Muchnick

That's a valid point. I presume, however, that VDOT and/or PWC DOT have already conducted a traffic study to predict the additional delays and the volumes of diverted traffic resulting from the bans on turning left onto Route 234. After crossing Route 234, the left-turning traffic could turn right-on-red without waiting through a full second traffic-light cycle.

Since this bowtie design is estimated to cost $23 million to build, I'd like to know the cost estimate to simply have Clover Hill Road cross Route 234 on an overpass, eliminating the traffic signals entirely.

Allen Muchnick

Although this project would cost $23 million to build, Prince William County staff is apparently too miserly to provide on-road bike lanes on this 25 MPH roadway (as well as the long-planned shared-use path, which they previously wanted to omit) to provide a safe crossing of busy Route 234 for adult bicyclists as well as to safely tie into the City of Manassas' EXISTING on-road bike lanes along both Clover Hill Road and Godwin Drive.

Bike lanes would not be needed within the two roundabouts themselves, because all roadway traffic is supposed to yield to traffic already in the roundabout and then merge into a single travel lane through each roundabout, and traffic-averse bike riders could readily use the sidewalk or shared-use path to negotiate the roundabouts. The roundabouts are where Clover Hill Road would have the widest footprint and where additional right-of-way would need to be acquired.

Paul Benedict

This sounds like a terrible idea. I always drive straight through on PWP so it won't affect me, the poor people that live in neighborhood near the intersection will be punished severely.

Allen Muchnick

There are no homes along this segment of Clover Hill Road. Half of it lies within Manassas Regional Airport and the other half is west of Godwin Drive.

Paul Benedict

On the map with an aerial image you can see homes just west of Godwin. I am sure that many of these residents use the intersection to go left on Prince William Parkway to go southeast. Now they will have to continue through to the otherside and then use the round about to turn around (if safe) using more energy and wasting time,. The same thing will happen with folks coming home from the northwest on Prince William Parkway.

Jimi Weaver

There are 1000’s of homes just to the east that utilize this intersection daily. I can’t imagine a more flubbed up design

Allen Muchnick

Any new traffic originating from the PW Pkwy would not travel beyond the roundabouts on Clover Hill Road.

John Sebastian

I think you're missing the point. There are hundreds of houses along Clover Hill that likely use this intersection to head south on 234. None of them will endure waiting to cross 234 to use a roundtable to wait again to make a right on 234 south.

What will likely happen is these residents will just head down both Godwin and Hastings to use the new Brentsville interchange to head south. Expect traffic on both of those roads to pick up. Maybe this was the intention of PWDOT all along, to discourage use of this intersection since they can't grade-separate it. Will keep 234 more free-flowing at least.

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