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The Route 28 Bypass will stretch northeastward from Godwin Drive and Sudley Road to connect with existing Route 28 north of Manassas.

Prince William County transportation planners laid out the plan for the design phase of the Route 28 Bypass on Tuesday afternoon, telling nearby homeowners to look out for notices about survey and soil testing work.

However, a specific proposed alignment for the new road – and information on what property will need to be acquired – may not be finalized for another two years, they said.

At a virtual presentation, representatives from Prince William County’s Department of Transportation and engineering firm WSP said they’re working through the project’s design and engineering phase, which includes full traffic and environmental engineering, as well as roadway and intersection alignment.

In the next six months, the plan is to reach 30% design for the project. But a more complete picture of the bypass alignment won’t come until it reaches 60%, which planners said could take 18 to 24 months.

In the meantime, nearby residents will continue to receive letters requesting property access for survey and soil analysis work, and traffic data collection is underway that will ultimately influence intersection and roadway design.

“You may have seen tubes placed across certain roads, there’s even some other types of queue measurements and eventually they’ll be doing travel time runs, which is when a vehicle actually will drive through portions of the corridor,” said Robert Morris, WSP vice president.

“This is all about gathering data that we can then use to take another detailed look at the traffic through this corridor … because it starts to inform the design of intersections and other finer details of the project.”

In 2020, the Prince William Board of County Supervisors reversed support for a different proposal and backed the bypass in a 5-3 vote, hoping the new road would relieve congestion along Route 28.

Although all the details of where exactly the road will be built won’t be finalized for some time, the approved preliminary design is for a four-lane road extending Godwin Drive from Sudley Road just outside the Manassas city limits to Route 28 just south of Compton Road near the Fairfax County line.

The board had previously supported a plan to widen Route 28 instead, but that plan would have displaced almost 80 businesses, according to county staff.

With $95 million from the Northern Virginia Transportation Authority and $200 million from a county bond referendum for the project, the last big hurdle the bypass will need to clear is permitting approval from the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the Virginia Marine Resources Commission.

Those applications will include reports covering everything from stormwater management to floodplain, wetlands and historic property impacts, as well as noise from the new road.

On Tuesday, the design team said it expected bridges would be constructed to carry traffic over Flat Branch and Bull Run rather than more disruptive culverts. Stormwater ponds will also be constructed to collect and treat some stormwater before it flows into the area’s tributaries, but the locations of those facilities will be decided further along in the design phase. The design is also supposed to impact about 34 acres of existing floodplains.

“We want to try to minimize that impact so we can avoid increasing any flood level. We recognize … that flooding is a significant issue out here so we certainly don’t want to increase flooding from implementing this project,” said Stuart Tyler of Parsons, the environmental engineering contractor for the project.

The applications will also include reports on what effects the road will have on nearby historic and parkland resources such as nearby Civil War battlefields and Bull Run Regional Park. Once the applications are submitted, environmental review from the Virginia DEQ – which will include public input – could take as long as 18 months, county planners said Tuesday.

After those permits are approved, the likely contentious work on right-of-way acquisition will begin, in which officials will submit offers and negotiate with affected property owners and tenants. If negotiations fail, the county could resort to using eminent domain to make way for the road.

In 2020, county staff said that the bypass could affect as many as 72 homes, with half or more of them needing to be bought completely, and it would also likely require the removal of up to eight mobile homes in the Bull Run Mobile Home community. In a timeline presented Tuesday, county staff said right-of-way acquisition wouldn’t begin until 2024 and that construction wouldn’t begin until 2025, but they added that those are just tentative projections.

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

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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

(1) comment

Allen Muchnick

"... the last big hurdle the bypass will need to clear is permitting approval from the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the Virginia Marine Resources Commission."

Those three bodies are required by statute to only approve the "Least Environmentally Damaging Practicable Alternative" (LEDPA), which is a key reason why PWC County staff quietly abandoned its uncompleted NEPA environmental assessment and alternatives analysis study in early 2020.

However, the fact that PWC is presently seeking more funding from NVTA to widen Old Centreville Rd south of the Bull Run crossing (presumably as an alternative to the Flat Branch alignment) and is also seeking SMART SCALE funding for this project further demonstrates that the Flat Branch alignment is not the LEDPA.

It would be nice to see Inside NOVA do some critical investigative reporting beyond summarizing project staff reports at a video-recorded virtual public meeting (aka dog-and-pony show).

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