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Route 28 improvement community meetings start tonight

Nohe

MANASSAS PARK — Though a dinosaur, the Tri-County Parkway remains in Prince William County’s Comprehensive Plan — for now.

The road has been talked about for more than 12 years and will probably never be built.

The county’s board of supervisors on Tuesday declined to remove the road from its comprehensive plan ahead of two community meetings, the first of which is scheduled at 6:30 p.m. tonight at the Manassas Park Community Center at 99 Adams Street in Manassas Park.

Prince William leaders opted to hear from constituents before removing the parkway that would have taken drivers from the intersection of Sudley Road and Godwin Drive in Prince William County north through Fairfax County, terminating in Loudoun County.

Instead of the Tri-County Parkway, a plan to extend Godwin Drive from the Sudley Road to Route 28 at the Fairfax County line is one of three alternatives to be discussed at tonight’s meeting. Two others include widening Route 28 in its existing right-of-way, and extending Euclid Avenue from Manassas north to Orchard Bridge Drive, creating a Route 28 bypass, of sorts.

To date, county leaders have not decided which project to fund. A second public meeting on the Route 28 improvement issue is scheduled in Fairfax County from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. at Centerville Elementary School, located at at 14330 Green Trails Boulevard in Centreville, on Sept. 11.

“There’s a concern that when we initiate a “comp plan” change, there is a foregone conclusion that this is what we are going to do,” said Coles District Supervisor Marty Nohe, referring to the project to extend Godwin Drive.

Instead of removing the Tri-County Parkway now, the board of supervisors adopted what Nohe called a “wide open resolution that essentially allows this board to adopt whatever the outcome we get out of the community meetings.”

Nohe, who is also the Chairman of the Northern Virginia Transportation Authority, a group that funnels money to jurisdictions to fund road and transit improvements, warned that his group in October would call for road improvement projects that require state funding. If a project like the Godwin Drive extension is not in the county’s comprehensive plan, it cannot be funded with state money.

“We are working on an unbelievably tight time frame on this,” added Nohe.

Route 28 remains to be one of the most congested roads in Northern Virginia. Commuters from Prince William County and the cities of Manassas and Manassas Park use the road daily to funnel into Fairfax and Loudoun counties to get to work.

“I will say that I am focused on which Route 28 Alternative in the study might be the greatest congestion relief for residents of Manassas Park, with of course a consideration of cost effectiveness factored in,” stated Manassas Park Mayor Jeanette Rishell in an email.

The region’s focus on improving Route 28 also won accolades from the region’s business community.

“We are glad to see the Board of County Supervisors working toward alleviating congestion on Route 28. Transportation infrastructure weighs heavily on the minds of businesses in our region and plays a significant role in economic development,” said Prince William Chamber of Commerce Chairman Jim Elliott.

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