WASHINGTON — Congestion relief on U.S. 1 in Prince William County, Virginia is now a big step closer to reality.
On Wednesday, the Commonwealth Transportation Board awarded $43.2 million to D.C.-based Fort Myer Construction Corporation to turn U.S. 1 from four lanes into six lanes between the Occoquan River Bridge to Mary’s Way.
Construction is expected to begin in a few months, though the project is expected to take several years to finish.
“It’s really good news for Northern Virginia that, now, the money has been awarded for construction. Now, we will see bulldozers rolling fairly soon,” says Marty Nohe, chairman of the Northern Virginia Transportation Authority.
Nohe also is a member of the Prince William County Board of Supervisors.
Traffic congestion relief on U.S. 1 also could help drivers on Interstate 95, when I-95 gets backed-up and drivers then jump onto U.S. 1.
“This is going to have a huge positive impact on commuters who use this corridor, not just along Rt. 1, but those who use 95, as well, because now we’ll have a better escape route for those days when 95 gets too backed up,” Nohe says.
Nohe says preliminary work has already begun — all the engineering, the right-of-way acquisitions and, recently, utility relocation work, which will include burying the power lines along the corridor to make the area more attractive for economic development.
Nohe says this project will overlap with another U.S. 1 widening project.
“Just to the south from Mary’s Way down to Featherstone Road,” he says, will also become six lanes. “Together these two projects will lead to the six-lane-ing of Route 1 almost the entire length of PWC.”
He says that second project was recently funded by the NVTA.
Part of the $43.2 million will be used to improve access to the Woodbridge VRE kiss-and-ride on U.S. 1.
“Right now there’s a very small drop-off point where people can use the kiss-n-ride function to get on the train in the morning,” he says. “That area is going to be expanded.
“Because we anticipate that while certainly more people are going to want to take advantage of the congestion relief on the actual road of Route 1, we know that we’re seeing increased ridership on VRE and we’re going to see that increase in ridership for many, many years.”