A $130 million widening project to reshape U.S. 1 through Dumfries received key funding Thursday night from the Northern Virginia Transportation Authority.
When completed, the two existing northbound lanes will accommodate three lanes heading in each direction. The current southbound lanes through Dumfries will become a local Main Street, providing an opportunity to reimagine the town’s commercial district.
The Northern Virginia Transportation Authority voted unanimously Thursday night to dedicate $78 million to Dumfries, the remaining funding the project needed.
Mayor Derrick Wood, who is an authority member, told InsideNoVa before the meeting Thursday this project will provide traffic relief for town residents. Main Street in Dumfries that currently has the two southbound lanes of U.S. 1 will be converted to a two-way local traffic, according to the Virginia Department of Transportation.
“It changes the face of Dumfries as you know it,” Wood said.
Converting Main Street to for local traffic means an opportunity for the town.
“We can manage our own Main Street and can develop downtown to give it an identity,” Wood said.
Since officials have completed the project’s design, the next step will be buying right of way property and relocating utilities, which could take up to three years, Wood said.
The authority awarded a total of $522.1 million in funding for transportation projects in the Northern Virginia region Thursday.
The group that makes decisions on regional transportation spending vetted and ranked 41 project requests worth a combined $1.4 billion.
The U.S. 1 widening project in Dumfries ranked fifth, according to a memo from the authority’s Executive Director Monica Backmon.
“This was a collaborative, consensus building process,” Backmon said after the authority voted.
There are more than 100 properties likely impacted in some way by the U.S. 1 widening, according to VDOT’s preliminary right of way data from September 2018.
Property owners have been notified that the project’s design includes purchasing all or some of their property as right of way for the project, Wood said. One business that could be impacted is Harold & Cathy’s Cafe on Fraley Boulevard. Wood said they are looking at if the design can be updated to save the cafe.
“We help businesses to relocate within the town,” he said. “Nobody wants to take someone’s business away.”
The project will run from Brady’s Hill Road to Dumfries Road. Main Street will be realigned with Possum Point Road at the north end. At the southern end of Main Street, VDOT is planning a cul-de-sac near Quantico Gateway Drive.
The widening project also includes the construction of a 10-foot hike-and-bike path along the southbound side of the new U.S. 1 and a 5-foot sidewalk along the northbound side.
The widening project is expected to increase capacity along the stretch of U.S. 1 between Dumfries and Bradys Hill roads. Currently, 28,000 vehicles per day travel through the area, but when the project is complete the stretch will be able to accommodate 68,000 vehicles per day, according to VDOT.
The project is aimed at reducing traffic congestion and improving capacity, according to VDOT, noting that U.S. 1 has been widened or is in the process of being widened north and south of Dumfries.
For more on the NVTA funding, visit the website.