Prince William County plans pedestrian bridge near Battlefield High School; Supervisor Candland reflects on service

This article was written by WTOP’s news partner InsideNoVa.com and republished with permission. Sign up for InsideNoVa.com’s free email subscription today.

Battlefield High School students will one day be able to walk over U.S. 15 rather than traversing the dangerous highway.

At its meeting Tuesday, the Prince William Board of County Supervisors unanimously voted to use $2 million to design a pedestrian bridge over U.S. 15, which is James Madison Highway, near Battlefield High School.

Supervisor Pete Candland, R-Gainesville, said he first requested a pedestrian bridge in 2012 but was turned down by the Virginia Department of Transportation.

Two teenage pedestrians were killed in the area last year, and another teen was struck near the school in November.

“Today is about honoring the memory of those who have lost their lives and those whose lives have been changed forever and taking a positive step in protecting future generations of kids, drivers and pedestrians,” Candland said.

The bridge would be at the intersection of U.S. 15 and Dominion Valley and Graduation drives.

The funding comes from money pledged in 2017 by the developer of the 490-unit Midwood project, which is now named Carter’s Mill. The development is off Route 55 near Antioch Road.

So far, the developer has contributed about $4 million specifically for transportation improvements in the area.

The $2 million approved Tuesday would fully fund the design of the bridge. The county is seeking $10 million through a VDOT funding program for construction costs.

Candland says goodbye

The pedestrian bridge action was Candland’s penultimate vote after more than a decade in office.

Candland announced his resignation Saturday after receiving a recommendation from Commonwealth’s Attorney Amy Ashworth that he not participate in votes on the county’s Comprehensive Plan or any data center projects in the county until the controversial PW Digital Gateway receives a vote.

Candland briefly reflected on his tenure, highlighting increased funding for county schools, implementing body-worn cameras for the police department, suing opioid manufacturers and the new Gainesville High School.

“These were not accomplished through partisan talking points or personal attacks, but by meeting with my colleagues, understanding their goals and coming to an agreement. Achievements like the one we are seeing today come from treating people with respect and not allowing partisan bickering of the day to win out.”

Candland lamented that “political discourse in Prince William County has gotten worse” and the county’s history is “littered with missed opportunities to come together and reach across the political divide.”

“Too many times I’ve seen partisan politics win the day and the people of Prince William County suffer,” he said. “Politicians, political parties and activist groups have routinely sacrificed good projects, important public policy and sacrificed compromise to promote themselves or their cause without even attempting to develop a solution that could benefit the entire community.”

Candland said, “A person’s true character is defined by how they treat those with whom they disagree,” and he hoped the vote on the pedestrian bridge would lead to better collaboration.

“It is my sincere hope that the board coming together today is the display of solidarity that will usher in a better 2023 — a year where the board is focused on working together and treating each other with respect,” he said.

After the vote on the pedestrian bridge, the board approved a commendation for a county resident. The board then entered closed session and returned to officially accept Candland’s resignation, after which he left the meeting.

Candland’s resignation is effective 6 p.m. Friday.

This article was written by WTOP’s news partner InsideNoVa.com and republished with permission. Sign up for InsideNoVa.com’s free email subscription today.

 

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