After Criticism from Dumfries, Prince William Won’t Manage U.S. 1 Widening
DUMFRIES, Va. — If U.S. 1 is going to be widened in Dumfries, Prince William County officials will not have anything to do with it.
County Executive Melissa Peacor sent an email stating her county’s government has no interest in managing the $1.6 million project for initial survey work and right of way cost to expand a 2-mile section of the heavily traveled north-south commuter route from Brady’s Hill Road to Wayside Drive, near a Walmart store.
“At your Town Council meeting on Tuesday, members of your Council made it very clear they are not interested in the County administering this project and the Council has directed you to find an alternative to administer the project that is not the County. Due to the discussions at your Council meeting and their direction to you to seek an alternative, I have directed the Transportation Department to notify VDOT that we will not be administering this contract. VDOT understands our position on this; we believe this is in the best interest of all parties.”
– Prince William County Executive Melissa Peacor
Dumfries’ — which lies in Prince William County but has a separate town government — public works officials admit they are too small of a department to manage the widening project. Elected officials on the Town Council had some not-so-nice words about the county.
“They’re not always the most cooperative, and they seem to enjoy taking over and running the show with whatever we’ve got going on,” said Councilwoman Kristen Forrester.
Town officials, including Town Manager Daniel Taber, said Dumfries “still holds the purse strings” when it comes to the project, would direct the county on how to carry out the project, and would have a spot at all meetings related to the widening. VDOT tapped Prince William County’s Transportation Department to manage the project instead the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) because of “their exemplary track record” of delivering other road projects, including the widening of U.S. 1 in neighboring Triangle and Prince William Parkway.
Taber said he has no plans of going back to Peacor to ask her to reconsider. Now VDOT must manage the project, according to a Prince William County spokesman.
Still, other members of the Dumfries Town Council still want to see the county manage the project.
“There is no way Dumfries should do this project without Prince William County. The letter from Melissa Peacor is very disappointing, and it shows a lack of willingness to work together,” said Mayor Jerry Foreman.
The project will see the widening of U.S. 1 from four to six lanes on each side, and it will reroute the southbound portion of the highway to run alongside the northbound side of the road. That would create a new, less heavily-traveled main street that would carry traffic past Town Hall.
Town officials had hoped to have a signed agreement by Nov. 1. The widening project does not include a separate project to improve the intersection at U.S. 1 and Va. 234, which is being managed by Prince William County, ahead of new homes being built in the nearby Potomac Shores neighborhood.