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BOCS Initiates Update to County’s Thoroughfare Plan

Contributed by Over the Fence Post

Over the past several months, the Board of County Supervisors has received input from a number of citizens regarding the proposed Bi-County Parkway, which is a highway that would extend Route 234 north of I-66 to connect to Route 50 and provide Prince William County residents better access to Dulles Airport and points in Loudoun County. As the Commonwealth Transportation Board (CTB) has been considering the proposal that would approve the road for construction, many Prince William County residents have raised concerns about the impacts that the proposed facility would have on existing neighborhoods. While much of the attention on this issue has been focused on the impacts that it would have on the Haymarket/Catharpin area, many mid-county residents have also been troubled by the potential increased traffic that could be experienced on the existing alignment of Route 234 between Waterway Drive and Brentsville Road.

Largely in response to these citizen concerns, on Tuesday, December 3, the Board of Supervisors initiated an update to the Thoroughfare Plan in the County’s Comprehensive Plan. This chapter of the County’s Long Range Plan defines the road classification and projected capacity for the significant road corridors in the county including major arterial roads such as the Prince William Parkway and Dumfries Road, and local collector roads such as Hoadly Road and Purcell Road. This review and update will give the Board the opportunity to consider changes to classifications of the various roads in the plan, and to consider the long term impacts that those changes may have on other roads in the network. While the update will consider all of the significant corridors in the county, particular focus will be placed on the impacts of the proposed Bi-County Parkway and on the existing Route 234/Dumfries Road, and will present the Board with options to consider the possible removal of the Bi-County Parkway from the Plan, and the possible downgrading of Route 234 so that it remains at its current four lane configuration into perpetuity. If these changes are made, we will also have to consider the impacts of those changes on other roads in the area and possibly develop mitigation strategies to avoid long term congestion and also consider impacts that such changes would have on our planned land uses (which could then trigger an update to the Comprehensive Plan’s Land Use chapter). Because the goal of the Comprehensive Plan is to consider all of the factors that affect transportation and future development, and to recognize their interconnected nature, it is important that the Board take this holistic view of the entire road network when considering any changes.

The Board normally undertakes the review process every five years as part of our overall Comprehensive Plan Update. We are taking up this review earlier than expected in order to tie the results of the update into the CTB’s decision making process regarding the Bi-County Parkway. In the coming months there will be opportunities for citizen input into this process, and we will include information about those opportunities in upcoming editions of this newsletter.

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