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Prince William must ax old Tri-County Parkway if it hopes for funding for Godwin Drive Extended

PRINCE WILLIAM COUNTY — Out with the Tri-County Parkway and in with Godwin Drive Extended.

The Prince William County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday could decide to remove the Tri–County Parkway, a limited-access highway from Manassas to Loudoun County conceived 12 years ago but never built, from Prince William’s comprehensive plan.

The Tri-County Parkway would have carried vehicles from the intersection of Route 234 and Godwin Drive to Loudoun County Parkway. The planned road is not to be confused with the on-again, off-again project, the Bi-County Parkway from Dumfries to Dulles Airport.

Removing the Tri-County Parkway from the comprehensive plan would allow supervisors to replace it with a new road called Godwin Drive Extended. This planned roadway in Prince William would traverse nearly the same path that was planned for the Tri-County Parkway along the border of Manassas, however, instead of taking drivers all the way to Loudoun County it would end at the border of Prince William and Fairfax counties at Compton Road.

The county already owns the right of way to construct the road, something it purchased back when the six-lane Tri-County Parkway was still an option. Leaders decided against it due to environmental challenges.

Godwin Drive Extended is one of three options leaders are considering to relieve traffic on the Route 28 corridor, considered the most congested in the Northern Virginia region. The other two include an extension of Euclid Avenue in Manassas east of Route 28, which would dump drivers back onto Route 28 on Orchard Bridge Road just before Bull Run or to widen Route 28 in its existing footprint.

“I will support anything that gets traffic flowing east,” said Manassas City Councilman Marc Aveni.

The Godwin Drive Extended plan would provide relief for Manassas commuters who rely on Route 28  to commute to and from work.

The three alternatives will be discussed at two upcoming public meetings on improving Route 28, one at the Manassas Park Community Center at 6:30 to 8:30 p.m., and during the same timeframe at Centerville Elementary School on Sept. 11. Coles District Supervisor and NVTA Chairman Marty Nohe has routinely stated that no alternative will be selected at the meetings.

Swapping the Tri-County Parkway with Godwin Drive Extended in the comprehensive plan may be only a procedural move. This fall, the transportation funding group Northern Virginia Transportation Authority will call for projects to fund, and if Godwin Drive Extended is not in the comprehensive plan, the agency won’t fund it, according to county documents.

Danica Roem has made improving the roadway the centerpiece of her campaign for the Virginia House of Delegates in District 13. The Democrat running against longtime incumbent Bob Marshall said the county should wait until the public hearings before supervisors decide to remove the Tri-County Parkway from their comprehensive plan.

“Give people a chance to weigh in at the public meetings. Give them a chance to say what they have to say, and then do what you have to do,” said Roem.

Roem said the Godwin Drive Extended road should be built with junctions at Route 234 at the existing Godwin Drive, and again at Route 28 at the Fairfax County line. While door knocking and talking with voters, she learned that many in the Lomond neighborhood, which lies near the path of the new road, are fearful of cut-through traffic if a connection from the road to their neighborhood is built.

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