WASHINGTON – Military base closures have led to major changes for thousands of area commuters. But the growing congestion near Fort Belvoir is presenting a unique challenge for traffic enforcement.
It took decades for the last section of the Fairfax County Parkway to open in September 2010. Yet there is still the question of who hands out tickets on the road and who sends emergency responders if there’s an accident.
The stretch of road, which runs through military owned land, is barely 2 miles long and connects Interstate 95 to Route 1. And with the Base Realignment and Closure program having moved some 20,000 new workers to Fort Belvoir, the road is heavily used.
Don Dees, a spokesman for Fort Belvoir, says an agreement has been in the works between the county and the military base that will spell out jurisdiction. But the Fairfax Times reports that county supervisor Gerry Hyland is concerned the process isn’t moving fast enough.
Dees says the process is in the hands of the Army Corps of Engineers because they deal with real estate or property issues.
“The terms of the agreement are right now in the process of negotiation and settlement,” he says. “And the Baltimore District of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has the responsibility for completing that.”
The county and the base have a solid relationship, according to Dees. Belvoir officials are looking forward to signing the agreement once it is completed, he says. But right now there’s no word on when it will be finished.
Hyland told the Fairfax Times that he feels the army base doesn’t have the resources to handle the roadway. But Dees disagrees.
“We have resources allocated based on the size of our installation as dictated by Army policy,” he says. “We are capable of providing the service we are responsible for.”
Dees is hopeful that everyone will get what they need to provide services to motorists. He says right now Fort Belvoir is taking care of issues that come up on the roadway.
But, Capt. W.R. Joyce, with the Fairfax Police Department, says because the portion of the road over Fort Belvoir is a highway, the police department can legally enforce laws and assist motorists.