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Fairfax County supervisors on Feb. 11 unanimously agreed to support a request by the National Park Service (NPS) to seek federal-grant funding for repairs and upgrades to the George Washington Memorial Parkway.

NPS officials are pursuing funding from the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Infrastructure for Rebuilding America grant program to support the parkway’s North Section Rehabilitation Program.

That program will rebuild a 7.6-mile section of the parkway from Spout Run Parkway to Interstate 495 address serious deterioration of the roadway and implement significant safety improvements, said Supervisor John Foust (D-Dranesville) at the meeting.

The work will include repaving the roadway; repairing stormwater-management systems to prevent erosion at drainage outfalls; rehabilitating two historic, scenic overlooks; replacing guardrails; repairing walls; constructing new curbs; and building emergency turnarounds along the parkway’s north end, he said.

“The roadway has experienced critical infrastructure failures in the last year, including a sinkhole resulting in $1.6 million in emergency work and travel restrictions exceeding 100 days,” Foust said.

The project will address a major part of the National Capital Region’s $1.7 billion maintenance backlog, including $395 million for the parkway, improve a critical link in the region’s transportation network and preserve the parkway’s historical and cultural characteristics, he said.

“These proposed improvements will increase the safety of visitors  while significantly extending the life of the parkway,” Foust said.

In a Feb. 11 letter to U.S. Secretary of Transportation Elaine Chao, Board of Supervisors Chairman Jeff McKay (D) noted NPS had built the parkway’s northern section in 1962 and that the roadway now handles more than 33 million vehicles annually.

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