Copy of Page 9 VRE file 2.jpg

A Virginia Railway Express commuter train enters Woodbridge station in this file photo.

Prince William County is looking to take advantage of new federal infrastructure funding to help build its pedestrian bridge over U.S. 1 in Woodbridge.

The proposed bridge – a component of the North Woodbridge Small Area Plan adopted by the Board of County Supervisors – would cross U.S. 1 and the CSX railroad tracks, connecting the future North Woodbridge Town Center with the Woodbridge Virginia Railway Express station.

The county is seeking $5 million from the U.S. Department of Transportation’s new Reconnecting Communities Pilot Program, which was created as a part of the $1.2 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill Congress passed last year.

The federal grant requires a 50% match from localities, and the county expects the bridge to cost about $12.5 million in total. The county already has a commitment of $4.5 million for the bridge from the approved Riverside Station development as a proffer and would ask the Virginia House of Delegates Appropriations Committee for the final $3 million needed in earmarked funds. According to the application, if that $3 million doesn’t materialize, the county would turn to Northern Virginia Transportation funds.

Funded with $1 billion over the next five years, the new pilot grant program was created as a part of the 2021 bipartisan infrastructure bill and “dedicated to reconnecting communities that were previously cut off from economic opportunities by transportation infrastructure.”

According to the county’s application, the bridge would facilitate “walkable, transit-oriented development” and serve areas “designated federally as Historically Disadvantaged Communities.”

Help sought with railroad crossings

On the other side of the county, Prince William’s Department of Transportation is looking to improve five different railroad crossings with more help from the feds.

The county is seeking another $5.25 million from the federal Department of Transportation’s Railroad Crossing Elimination program for safety enhancements at crossings along Jefferson Street, U.S. 15, Thoroughfare Road, Route 55 and Turner Road.

“To improve vehicle and pedestrian safety at these locations, PWC DOT staff is coordinating with Norfolk Southern Corporation,” the county’s staff report on the grant request reads. “Norfolk Southern will perform a diagnostic review of each crossing with various impacted state and local agencies to develop enhancements to the current facilities for pedestrian and vehicle safety.”

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

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Reporter

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

(5) comments

Allen Muchnick

>> " The county...would ask the Virginia House of Delegates Appropriations Committee for the final $3 million needed in earmarked funds."

Transportation projects should be funded based on some objective evaluation of merit and cost effectiveness. It's not the brightest idea to have part-time state legislators earmark funds for transportation projects.

Harry Morant

Another waste of taxpayer money! There is plenty of room on the existing Route 1 bridge over the Occoquan River for pedestrians to cross, north and south. To make it "safer", you only need to add some jersey wall barriers.

Paul Benedict

I think this pedestrian crossing is a good idea, even though the price seems excessive. But everything is costly in Biden's America.

But this bridge will do little to solve the problem of minority pedestrians getting killed on Highway 1 from the Occoquan River to Triangle. Unless a person is within a few hundred feet of this bridge they are not going to take the time to walk to the bridge to cross the highway. That's just the way people are, and with Democrats refusing to enforce jaywalking laws, we will continue to see numerous fatalities each year and they will all be people of color, the people that Democrats once claimed to support.

Because bridges are so expensive, Prince William County should concentrate on putting in more well-marked crosswalks at all major intersections (all four corners) and make sure there is good lighting. And people who jaywalk on Highway 1 should get tickets and pay fines. It is not racist to enforce jaywalking laws.

Allen Muchnick

You are correct about the importance of marked crosswalks and street lighting.

The primary purpose of this bridge it to help future residents who will live on the west side of Rte 1 walk directly to the VRE station, not to reduce jaywalking.

People jaywalk because the existing pedestrian infrastructure is unsafe and inefficient. Reduce the design speed and the number and widths of travel and turn lanes on Route 1 and add more signalized crossings. Convert one travel lane in each direction on Route 1 into a dedicated bus lane.

Rod McSmith

Oh I forgot Old Joe controlled the global prices in every market to cause these prices "Biden's America" lol

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