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Calls for Va. road improvements, ‘promised in the 50s’, to go ahead

The Accotink Creek Bridge and travel lane shift is just one part of a bigger plan now in progress to widen Richmond Highway. (WTOP/Kristi King)

ALEXANDRIA — From Arlington and Fairfax to Loudoun and Prince William Counties the wish list is long for transportation improvements. But there isn’t enough money to pay for it all.

A crowd turned out in the Mount Vernon section of Alexandria Wednesday night to tell regional transportation planners it’s time they get what Tysons Corner, the Dulles Corridor and other Northern Virginia transportation hot spots are getting — money for road improvements.

“In eastern Fairfax County the number one priority is investing and widening Route 1 (Richmond Highway) and adding bus rapid transit, said Sen. Scott Surovell, (District 36).

“We also have the underpass on Route 1, right where you get off I-95 … it’s very dangerous … the road needs to be widened,” he said.

A representative of the Northern Virginia Transportation Authority told his audience that the regional body has a list of 60 proposed transportation projects ranging from bike trails to roadway improvements which would cost about $2.5 billion. However, the group estimates its available funding at just $1.285 billion.

“We’ve waited much too long for these improvements. My parents were promised these improvements back in the ’50s and ’60s,” said Peter Sitnik of the Mount Vernon Council of Citizens Association, arguing for the widening of Richmond Highway and road improvements at the underpass near Lorton.

“The underpass itself is too low, trucks get stuck there and when it rains it floods,” Sitnik added.

Other projects vying for regional dollars are Arlington County’s ART Operations and Maintenance Facility, widening the Route 15 Bypass in Loudoun County and improvements to the Route 28 Corridor in Prince William County.

The Northern Virginia Transportation Authority has scheduled an open house and a public hearing  at 7 p.m. Thursday night, May 10 where residents may offer their comments on the 60 proposed projects.

The regional transportation planners expect to decide in June which of the projects it will undertake over the next 6 years.


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