Route 28 Bypass route

The Route 28 bypass (pink line) would run northeastward from the intersection of Godwin Drive and Sudley Road in Prince William County and connect with existing Route 28 just inside Fairfax County.  

The Prince William area's top three elected officials are calling for the Board of County Supervisors to reconsider its decision to abandon plans for a Route 28 bypass northwest of Manassas. 

In an op/ed published Friday on InsideNoVa, Prince William Board Chair Ann Wheeler, Manassas Mayor Hal Parrish, and Manassas Park Mayor Jeanette Rishell said the Aug. 4 decision disregarded five years of preparation, public support for a bond referendum to build the road and an $89 million financial contribution from the Northern Virginia Transportation Authority. The bypass would extend northeastward from the intersection of Godwin Drive and Sudley Road to Route 28 just south of the Fairfax County line.

Wheeler was among the board members who voted unanimously at the August meeting to instead ask county staff to begin planning for a widening of existing Route 28, a project that could cost $100 million more and also dislocate a number of businesses along the road. 

The widening plan, as well as an appearance by Loudoun County Board of Supervisors Chair Phyllis Randall in her role as chairman of the transportation authority, is on the agenda for the Prince William board's meeting Tuesday. 

Wheeler told InsideNoVa she expects a motion to reconsider the Aug. 4 vote to be made during the meeting Tuesday. "What will come from that is unknown," she added. 

In their op/ed, Wheeler, Parrish and Rishell wrote that moving forward with widening existing Route 28 would be more expensive, add only two new lanes instead of four and require the county to reapply to the transportation authority for funding. "Or in other words, with a price tag 25% higher for 50% less road, this does not display the best fiscal management, nor does it depict the best stewardship of taxpayer funds," they said. 

Construction of the bypass would affect 72 homes, according to Prince William county transportation staff. Half or more of those houses would need to be purchased completely, while the other homeowners would see partial impacts. Up to eight mobile homes would also have to be removed from the Bull Run Mobile Home Community.

Many of those residents spoke out against the bypass proposal at public hearings before the August vote. 

"Making the decision to potentially displace an area resident, let alone multiple ones, is never an easy decision as it disrupts lives and eliminates norms such as a sense of community," the leaders wrote in the op/ed. "But in chaos, there is opportunity. Potentially impacted residents of the Godwin Road extension will have the chance to relocate away from a wetland area that regularly floods, resulting in unsafe living conditions and public health concerns."

The leaders also cited Manassas' work to improve its road network between Godwin Drive and the southern entrance to the city, as well as the expansion of the Micron plant along Godwin. 

"At a time when we are working to rebuild our local economy and remain attractive to business, we cannot stand in the way of opportunities that improve quality of life, such as spending less time on the road and more time with our families and steady well-paying jobs which mitigate travel outside the area," they wrote. 

They also noted that moving forward with plans to widening existing Route 28 would leave scores of small businesses in limbo.  Prince William Transportation Director Rick Canizales told the board in August that a widening would affect 185 parcels and displace 79 businesses.

Finally, the leaders noted that improvements to the Route 28 corridor have moved forward in both Fairfax and Loudoun counties. 

"It is essential that Prince William County views this transportation decision on both a local and regional perspective," they wrote. "The recent decision on Route 28 did not do that and is worthy of reconsideration."

See more headlines at InsideNoVa.com. Email tips to info@insidenova.com.

(12) comments

Stoptheinsanity

What terrible democratic leadership. You tell them you will evict them and turn their lives upside down. Then say never mind. Wait a couple months and then go hey wait a minute. These poor families are living in a trailer park while these idiots play spin the wheel with their homes and futures. A absolutely disgusting way to treat the citizens they were elected to represent. Where is Guzman and CASA? Another corrupt group using people for money.

cgrymes

The "countless transportation studies" never engaged the community that would be affected; they were just sales pitches for a pre-determined solution. The Environmental Assessment to evaluate alternatives was never completed. Our region does deserve better - start with better transparency and public involvement.

PWCLiberty

Anne Wheeler continues to be a disappointment, and - sadly for Democrats - just a continuation of developer-funded "pavement over people" policy. She's also proving to be an ineffectual leader. Despite being a Democrat, she's a bad mix of Corey Stewart's procedural dysfunction and Marty Nohe's coin-operating policymaking. Despite being the leader of the BOCS, she's freelancing and ignoring the fact none of her colleagues support this. None of this is a surprise to those who remember her support for citizens as a member of the NOVEC Board (hint: none). More people are learning the (sad) reality.

Allen Muchnick

The May 2019 Traffic Technical Report for the proposed Godwin Drive Extension showed that this road would WORSEN traffic congestion overall and require additional road widening projects at both ends to "fix" the new problems this Bypass would create. Thus, its true cost of construction would be considerably higher than claimed by PWC staff.

This traffic study revealed (see the tables on pp. 23-24 and p. 40 in the report) that this Bypass would worsen traffic congestion and create failing intersection delays on Godwin Dr between Nokesville Rd and Sudley Rd, on Centreville Rd in Fairfax County north of Compton Rd south of I-66 , and at all four new intersections that the Bypass would create with Lomond Dr, Old Centreville Rd, and Rte 28 in Fairfax County).

Rather than provide effective bus and/or carpool lanes that could move many more commuters, the Bypass would largely induce new traffic and sprawl development from west of Manassas and divert existing I-66-bound motorists from Rtes 234 and Sudley Rd to the new Bypass.

Sadly, this Traffic Technical Report and all the other reports that had already been completed for the Rte 28 Environmental Assessment were not disclosed to the public at the October 2019 Public Information Meeting and were only quietly posted on the Rte 28 Study website in July 2020, about one week before the July 14 BOCS public hearing to advance the Bypass.

genxorcist

I'm glad someone finally mentioned Micron because they could very well be at the center of this. It simply cannot be a coincidence that the bypass local officials so strongly advocate not only completely fails to address the traffic problems on 28, but also just happens to go right up to Micron's front door. For years PWC has been touting the amount of money Micron will bring to the county and now they're trying to steal people's homes for a bypass that would pretty much benefit Micron and no one else. That simply cannot be coincidental.

godgoldnguns

Adding more roads that lead to the same choke point in Centreville will do little if any good to help traffic. What is needed is the extension of the orange line to Centreville/Gainesville. An HOV lane on 28 from Manassas to Dulles would also help. The only road that might help Prince William commuters is the extension of the 234 bypass to Dulles, but then we'd just get 95 bailout traffic.

Stoptheinsanity

How much pollution is Micron putting into our neighborhoods. There is no way they are making semiconductors without huge amounts of toxic waste. Does anyone notice how much smoke is coming out of the smoke stacks around 5 in the morning. Seems strange its before the sun comes up like they don't want people to see. IBM already turned the entire are into a EPA Superfund site in the 90s. It was declared a toxic PCB site. Kany monitoring wells are still present through out the surrounding neighborhoods. If they were not on city water all of the ground water is still contaminated.

alanm9

Its far more likely that the owners of the crappy, broken down "businesses" along 28 are pressuring the council and threatening expensive lawsuits if they are given the "opportunity" to relocate. Too bad; its long past time to clean up that eyesore. Shut them down and widen the existing corridor, add Delegate Roehm's features, and create Omniride links to the Fairfax Connector.

Brutus

The development arguments have left the station. Build the bypass already.

Mark S

Their continues to be a lack of community engagement in this project. PWC needs to integrate land use, economic development and transportation into this project and improvements to the existing Route 28 corridor in Yorkshire provide the best opportunities though a new multi-modal street one block west of Route 28 similar to the Mathis Ave alignment in the City of Manassas. https://sites.google.com/view/novatransportationsolutions/rethinking-route-28-yorkshire

Mark S

It should be noted that for some "unknown" reason Alternative 4 includes impacting many businesses along Route 28 between Manassas Dr. and Liberia Ave even though it is already six lanes. This artificially makes Alternative 4 look worse than Alternative 2B in regards to cost.

Arlingtonian2

A bypass would be the worst thing that could happen to the businesses along the present route and to area's economy. Much of the existing traffic would bypass the existing route, leaving the businesses without customers. The businesses would close. Property values would sink. New businesses and housing would rise near the bypass. The resulting sprawl would increase property values and taxes, thus displacing those residents who presently live there. The bypass would be a lose-lose for the entire community, except for those who will receive a windfall when they sell their properties and for real estate agents.

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