Manassas Park is looking for some state help to free up traffic on its stretch of Route 28.
The city is asking for over $18 million in Smart Scale funding from the Commonwealth Transportation Board for intersection changes from Manassas Drive to Spruce Street along Route 28.
The plan is to build new “thru-cut” intersections at Brown Lane and Maplewood Drive, and new “median U-turn” intersections at Birch and Spruce Streets. Those changes would constitute “phase one” of what the city hopes is a three-phase project modifying even more of Route 28’s intersections, as recommended in the Virginia Department of Transportation’s 2020 STARS Study on the corridor.
That study made several recommendations for the corridor, including traffic signal optimization, new medians to improve safety, continuous sidewalks with signalized pedestrian crosswalks at select intersections, and several intersection improvements like the ones in the current application.
The city submitted STARS funding requests back in 2020 for the full intersection project, but it scored too low to qualify for any. Now, Manassas Park transportation officials, working closely with Prince William County, are hoping a piecemeal approach works better.
The second phase, not included in this year’s Smart Scale application, would reconfigure intersections from Spruce Street to Orchard Bridge, and the final phase would do the same from there to the Fairfax County line.
“In addition to being the most logical starting point for Manassas Park, Phase 1 also demonstrates the highest levels of congestion and travel time delay,” the city staff report on the project reads.
The new intersections would also feature refuge islands for those crossing on foot or wheelchair. They also serve to restrict certain left-turns from side streets onto Route 28.
“These innovative intersections are key to the access management principal of the project, providing better signal efficiency at existing intersections by restricting movements from side roads onto the principal to right turn only,” the city’s application reads.
Del. Danica Roem (D-13th), who first ran for office on pledges to fix Route 28 and will be running to represent the area in the state Senate next year, has also supported the new approach.
“Once we get that application submitted, CTB will then re-evaluate themselves, they’ll score it and then it’ll be up for debate and competition with the other projects from the nine Northern Virginia localities that are competing for Smart Scale funds in the next year,” she told InsideNoVa.
The city has also secured over $330,000 in federal Regional Surface Transportation Program funds, and U.S. Sens. Tim Kaine (D-Va.) and Mark Warner (D-Va.) have offered support for the city’s $3.3 million federal earmark request. “The project remains a priority for both the City and Prince William County,” the report states.
In addition to the intersection changes, the funding would also go to filling in gaps in Route 28’s sidewalks, with a new 5-foot path along the southbound side of Route 28 and the northbound side between Blooms Quarry Road and Brown Lane. Additionally, the plan is to improve or construct about 30 ADA ramps along the corridor.