A major widening of Route 1 just north of Fort Belvoir, Virginia, is moving forward following a formal endorsement this week from the Fairfax County board of supervisors.
The board backed Virginia Department of Transportation plans to widen 3.1 miles of Richmond Highway between Jeff Todd Way/Mr. Vernon Memorial Highway and Sherwood Hall Lane near Costco. The stretch of road will increase from four lanes to six lanes.
In addition to the added lanes and intersection widenings, the project is set to leave room for lanes for a new bus rapid transit line scheduled to be built by Fairfax County in the coming years.
Supervisors also requested two-way protected bike lanes on each side of the highway — to complement new separate sidewalk — and that bridges for the bus line be fully constructed now to avoid the need for disruptions later.
They also supported two proposed underpasses so people do not need to cross the road and risk collisions with cars.
Plans for the expansion, and the increased development planned around the bus rapid transit stops, date back 25 years.
When a public hearing on the design was held in March, 230 people showed up. 324 people or groups submitted comments at or following the meeting.
With the county approval Tuesday, VDOT plans to move forward with final design work and the significant purchases of land needed for the widening project.
Supervisor Dan Storck remains hopeful the county will find a way to finance power line undergrounding as part of the project, but acknowledged a deal would have to be worked out very soon.
Construction on utility relocation could begin late next year, with actual construction on the road running from 2023 to 2026. The widening work is estimated to cost $372 million.
Fairfax County is still working on designs for the bus rapid transit line just north of this area leading toward the Huntington Metro station.
Supervisor Jeff McKay asked county staff to look at narrower traffic lanes or other changes to reduce the amount of land required for widening, and to keep people safer on the roads.
“This is a[n] emerging multimodal area, not an interstate bypass,” McKay said.