A plan for a $300 million bypass to relieve congestion on Va. 28 is back on track after a 5-3 decision by the Prince William Board of County Supervisors on Tuesday to move ahead with the years-long project.

The move reverses the unanimous decision last month to instead back a partially-funded $400 million alternative to widen the existing road.

“I’m voting for people who actually want congestion relief,” Chair Ann Wheeler said during the meeting Tuesday. Wheeler had co-authored an op-ed last week backing the bypass with Manassas Mayor Hal Parrish and Manassas Park Mayor Jeanette Rishell.

The three votes against the bypass Tuesday were supervisors Jeanine Lawson, R-Brentsville; Pete Candland, R-Gainesville; and Yesli Vega, R-Coles.

The board also approved a project agreement with the Northern Virginia Transportation Authority to use $89 million in NVTA funding for the bypass. Voters in the county also backed a bond referendum last November that included $200 million for the project.

When completed, the bypass will add a four-lane road extending Godwin Drive from Liberia Avenue near Manassas to a point on Va. 28 near Fairfax County. 

In their op/ed, Wheeler, Parrish and Rishell wrote that moving forward with widening existing Route 28 would be more expensive, add only two new lanes instead of four and require the county to reapply to the transportation authority for funding. "Or in other words, with a price tag 25% higher for 50% less road, this does not display the best fiscal management, nor does it depict the best stewardship of taxpayer funds," they said. 

The bypass is estimated to impact 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. The bypass route would likely involve the removal of up to 8 mobile homes from the Bull Run Mobile Home Community. 

Widening Route 28 would have displaced 79 businesses, according to county staff.

Before the board voted to reconsider its Route 28 endorsement, NVTA Chair Phyllis Randall told the board the $89 million was set to be removed from the county’s if the board didn’t reverse its vote from August. Because of the Prince William supervisors’ move, the authority will consider the $89 million Thursday with the board’s latest endorsement for the bypass project. 

Regional transportation planners and Prince William area business leaders celebrated the decision by the board Tuesday.

“Infrastructure is the one of the keys to a strong economy, and ensuring that our citizens and businesses can have an effortless commute is vital to that,” said Katherine Johnson, chair of the Prince William Chamber of Commerce. “Over the past several years we have seen significant investments that address our region’s transportation needs and this project is a critical piece in completing the puzzle.”

Although the county is moving ahead with the bypass project, Va. 28 widening is not off the table. 

The board also voted to begin an amendment process to include Route 28 widening project to the county’s comprehensive plan. 

Rick Canizales, the county’s transportation director, told the board the county will continue to move forward with its federal environmental study. 

“We can start working on the bypass and at the same time we can do a comprehensive amendment to look at widening 28 as an option in case the Army Corps of Engineers doesn’t give us our permits and we have to make a U-turn,” Canizales told the board.

 

Emily Sides covers Prince William County for InsideNoVa. Reach her at esides@insidenova.com.

(9) comments

JimiWeaver4

Thank goodness that the PWCBOS finally listened to the experts on this issue at VDOT and County staff and reversed their fiscally irresponsible original decision.

Allen Muchnick

Where's your evidence that *anyone* at VDOT has expressed support for building the Bypass?

Since 2017, this has been strictly a PW County project, and County staff quietly abandoned the federal environmental study for the Bypass in 2019, making this project ineligible for state or federal highway money.

Prince William County taxpayers are now on track to pay $200 million to build this boondoggle, which would mostly serve motorists who live outside the County.

genxorcist

It simply cannot be a coincidence that this bypass not only completely fails to address the traffic problems on 28, but also just happens to go right up to Micron's front door on Godwin Drive. For years PWC has been touting the amount of money Micron will bring to the county and now they're trying to steal people's homes for a bypass that would pretty much benefit Micron and no one else. Publicly they say it's about public need but in truth it's all about the revenue from Micron. That's just the way it is. Guess my family needs to start packing as our home is one of those that will be destroyed and PWC could care less. Great county. Just great.

Bigfoot

You do know Micron is in Manassas City?

Stoptheinsanity

We voted out the stupid Republicans and got stupid Democrats that are worse. What a show....did anyone take civics in school?

Allen Muchnick

Due at least partly to the HORRENDOUS public engagement for both the 2017 Route 28 Feasibility Study and the more recent environmental study, the County has already wasted at least four years pursuing ineffective "solutions" to Route 28 traffic congestion.

The May 2019 Traffic Technical Report for the Route 28 Corridor Study--which County staff HID from public review until July 2020--clearly shows that the Godwin Drive Extension Bypasses (Alternatives 2A and 2B) as well as the two-lane widening of Centreville Rd through Yorkshire (Alternative 4) would ALL just waste taxpayer money by NOT reducing traffic congestion and just making congestion WORSE overall.

Table 3.1.1 on Page 23 of the above-referenced Traffic Technical Report displays the below-listed average daily traffic volumes for Centreville Rd north of Compton Rd (for the segment between Green Trails/Old Mill Rd and New Braddock Rd).

Although this location is in Fairfax County, it includes the Route 28 traffic coming from and going to Prince William County across Bull Run via all three routes; namely. Centreville Rd, Old Centreville Rd, and the proposed Godwin Dr Extension.

Existing: 58,580

2040 No Build: 114,909

2040 Alternative 2B: 138,511

2040 Alternative 4: 117,042

Thus, the regional traffic model used in the Route 28 environmental study suggests that under the baseline ("No Build") conditions, traffic along the Rte 28 corridor south of I-66 will almost DOUBLE over the next 20 years and that building the Bypass would increase that traffic by 23,602 daily trips, another 21% increase, further congesting Rte 28 in Fairfax County.

It is simply not possible to effectively accommodate this predicted growth of vehicle travel without either: 1) adding A LOT MORE highway capacity than would be realistically feasible or 2) finally getting smart and accommodating most of this travel demand with effective bus and HOV facilities, aggressive transportation demand management (i.e., more robust promotion of travel alternatives and telework), and/or far better focused future land development..

The failure of BOTH Alternatives 2B and 4 was further demonstrated in Table 3.3.2 on Page 42 of the Traffic Technical Report, which summarizes the performance at key intersections in 2040 under the No Build Alternative and the 3 Build Alternatives.

In this table, the numbers of failing (LOS E/F) intersections for the AM plus PM peak periods were reported as follows:

Existing: 1 (PM only along Rte 28)

2040 No Build: 14 (5 in the AM, 9 in the PM, 11 are on Rte 28)

2040 Alternative 2B: 21 (5 in the AM, 16 in the PM; 11 are on Rte 28 plus 8 on Godwin Dr)

2040 Alternative 4: 13 (4 in the AM, 9 in the PM; 10 are on Rte 28)

From this table, Alternative 4 is very slightly better than the No Build, while Alternative 2B does not improve Rte 28 and adds 8 failing (AM + PM) peak intersections along Godwin Dr.

Widening roads in urbanized areas over and over again for toll-free travel by solo motorists and expecting a different result is the definition of insanity. Sadly, Prince William County will likely be devastated with more senseless, destructive, and ugly highways and sprawl before our elected leaders finally know better,

Mark S

If the Route 28 Bypass project is completed, Route 28 will revert back to significant congestion in Fairfax County in the AM Peak that will funnel back into PWC as it does now (before COVID) https://www.facebook.com/FixRoute28/posts/1336315806572812

Bigfoot

PWC. Once a great place to live. Now? Managed by buffoons.

covid2021

Some great quotes from people who recently voted against it. Maybe they can cram some of that low income housing along the way.

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