After securing $300 million and spending years developing a bypass for busy Va. Route 28, the Prince William Board of County Supervisors rejected the proposal Tuesday night, leaving any fix for Manassas-area commuters in limbo.
The Prince William Board of County Supervisors voted 8-0 at its meeting to deny staff’s recommendation to move to the design phase of the project.
In a subsequent vote, the board voted 8-0 to endorse widening Route 28. County staff estimate that widening the road from four to six lanes would require an additional $100 million.
Supervisor Yesli Vega, who represents the Coles District that is home to the road, announced Monday she doesn’t support the proposed bypass due to its impacts on residents and the environment, among other reasons.
“This option will not alleviate traffic congestion on 28 from where it is today,” Vega said in an email to InsideNoVa. “Due to the negligible traffic impact, combined with the environmental, fiscal and human impact my constituents will face by being forcefully removed from their homes, I cannot support this proposal.”
County staff had backed the bypass, saying it would reduce congestion in the busy commuter corridor between Manassas and Centreville, improve access to transit and provide pedestrian and bicycle facilities.
Bypass vs. Widening Impacts
|Property Impacts||Bypass Route||Widening|
|Total Cost||$300 million||$400 million|
The project has been in development for years and a key project for transportation officials in the Manassas area, including former Coles District Supervisor Marty Nohe. Voters countywide approved a bond referendum in November that included $200 million for the Route 28 project to either widen the road or build a bypass.
The board was asked Tuesday to endorse the bypass route and authorize county staff to complete a project agreement with the Northern Virginia Transportation Authority to use $89 million in NVTA funding.
But some of the residents who might have to move or see some of their property taken for the road had spoken out against the project.
The bypass would have affected 72 homes, according to county staff. Half or more of those houses would need to be purchased completely, while the other homeowners would see partial impacts. Canizales said the bypass route would have meant removing up to 8 mobile homes from the Bull Run Mobile Home Community.
Chris Griffin was among the several residents of the the community who spoke against the bypass extension proposal.
“These are houses that we’ve turned into homes,” Griffin told InsideNoVa after the meeting.
Griffin said he thinks some supervisors were swayed after talking to community members who could lose their residences. “I'm glad it turned unanimous,” Griffin said. “That’s a big deal for the underdogs and a very low income neighborhood.”
Carol Blaser said she’s relieved to hear the board endorse the widening project. Blaser owns a house with her two brothers that could have been impacted by the bypass. Blaser showed some supervisors around the neighborhood that would have been impacted by the extension.
“You just don’t realize the amount of stress we’ve been going through for two years,” Blaser told InsideNoVa on the phone after the meeting. “I just couldn’t be happier. They should’ve widened it all along, because Fairfax county is widening it.”
Widening Route 28 would affect 185 parcels and displace 79 businesses, Transportation Director Rick Canizales said.
County staff estimate Va. Route 28 will see an increase from the 50,500 daily traffic count in 2018. Without any project build, Route 28 from Liberia Avenue to Orchard Bridge Dr. will see an estimated 75,000 daily traffic count. Staff estimated traffic count on that stretch of Route 28 with the proposed extension project would see about 62,500 daily traffic count in 2040, while widening the road is estimated to increase daily traffic count to 85,000, according to the county.