Prince William Co. pulls plug, for now, on controversial parkway route

WASHINGTON — The Bi-County Parkway that would directly connect Interstate 95 to Interstate 66 and the area near Dulles Airport is no longer part of Prince William County’s long-range plans after a Board of Supervisors vote this week.

Although the board had said it would not act Tuesday since Chairman Corey Stewart was out of town, the board voted 4-3 to remove the Bi-County Parkway route from the county’s comprehensive plan.

The route on the west side of Manassas National Battlefield had been chosen by the state more than a decade ago, but opposition from some neighbors eventually led to it being put on hold.

While Board Vice-Chair Pete Candland agrees with Virginia Department of Transportation plans that eventually call for some type of north-south connection through the county, he says removing the exact route from the comprehensive plan will allow for more negotiations in the future, rather than “getting slapped across the face, saying ‘this is in your comprehensive plan.'”

“There’s going to be a north-south corridor. There’s going to be. This is delaying the process of that happening, but we need to develop a routing plan based on what is beneficial to the people of Prince William County,” Candland says.

County staff, and a Loudoun County planning representative, advised against removing the project from long-term plans since travel forecasts without the road show traffic would instead use other roads like Route 15.

Business and development groups also advocated at Tuesday’s public hearing for keeping the road in county plans.

A number of residents along the proposed Route 234 extension asked the board to remove it.

Supervisor Frank Pincipi sees potential problems with the planned route, but believes further study of the countywide plan should have been completed before any changes were made.

“This road could induce additional residential development, could result in sprawl and crawl, and that is not something that I want to see in the rural crescent,” he says.

But his motion to put off action until the county looks further into the impacts was defeated.

The action that was eventually approved removed the Bi-County Parkway route from plans, but acknowledges that a north-south link is significant for the state and the region. It also directs the county to work with Prince William county residents and businesses to identify alternative routes that could be constructed in the future.

This article was written by WTOP’s news partners at Maryland Matters and republished with permission. Sign up for Maryland Matters’ free email subscription today.

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