If a $300 million project creating a bypass to busy Virginia Route 28 moves forward this week, it’ll be without the support of the area’s representative on the Prince William Board of County Supervisors.
Supervisor Yesli Vega, R-Coles, announced Monday she doesn’t support the proposed bypass due to its impacts on residents and the environment, among other reasons.
“This option will not alleviate traffic congestion on 28 from where it is today,” Vega said in an email to InsideNoVa. “Due to the negligible traffic impact, combined with the environmental, fiscal and human impact my constituents will face by being forcefully removed from their homes, I cannot support this proposal.”
County staff say the bypass will reduce congestion in the busy commuter corridor between Manassas and Centreville, improve access to transit, and provide pedestrian and bicycle facilities.
The project has been in development for years as a key project for transportation officials in the Manassas area, including former Coles District Supervisor Marty Nohe. Voters countywide also approved a bond referendum in November that included $200 million for the project.
In recent months, some of the residents who might have to move or see some of their property taken for the road have spoken out against the project.
The Prince William Board of County Supervisors is set to consider moving forward with the bypass plan at its meeting Tuesday afternoon.
The board is being asked to endorse the bypass route and authorize county staff to complete a project agreement with the Northern Virginia Transportation Authority to use $89 million in NVTA funding.
The bypass option could affect 70 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.
Rick Canizales said in an email July 29 that staff’s recommended bypass route could mean removing up to eight mobile homes from the Bull Run Mobile Home Community.
Widening Route 28 would affect 90 properties that include 154 businesses, Canizales said. The cost to buy rights-of-way from those businesses make the widening option too expensive, he said.
If the project moves forward, the county won’t know exactly which homes will be purchased until 2023, after design work is completed, according to county staff. Construction is estimated to take two to three years, meaning the road won’t open until at least 2027.
Transportation officials have long sought ways to improve the busy commuter route between Manassas and Centreville. More than 57,000 vehicles travel daily on Va. 28, according to the Route 28 Corridor Feasibility Study released in December 2017.
Emily Sides covers Prince William County for InsideNoVa. Reach her at email@example.com.