MANASSAS — When it comes to fixing Route 28, it’s down to a few options.
Option 1: Widen Route 28 from four to six lanes in Prince William County to match the widening taking place across the border in Fairfax County. That option is one of the costliest, as the county doesn’t own the right-of-way and about 70 businesses in the corridor would need to razed, said Coles District Supervisor Marty Nohe.
“We’ve seen that option will bring more traffic to Route 28 because you’re widening the road and therefore providing more capacity,” said Nohe.
Nohe is not only the District Supervisor where thousands of commuters each day fill a congested Route 28 to get to and from work, but he’s also the Northern Virginia Transportation Authority Chairman. He’s now an expert on Route 28 congestion from Liberia Avenue in Manassas, through Yorkshire, to the Fairfax County line.
Option 2: Extend Godwin Drive from Route 234 business north along the Prince William County and Manassas line. The road would bisect the Loch Lomond and Westgate communities and would connect with Route 28 at one of two places: south of the Fairfax County line in Yorkshire, or run across a new bridge over the Bull Run and connect to Route 28 at Ordway Drive in Fairfax County.
Prince William County already owns the right-of-way for a Godwin Drive extension. It was purchased for a never-built project called the Tri-County Parkway that was supposed to take drivers to Loudoun County. To complete such an extension, some property on the Godwin corridor would need to be taken, but it is a “dramatically less” amount of property that would be needed than if the county were to widen Route 28 through Yorkshire.
Which ever option is chosen, the project is estimated to cost $200 million. It’s a major price tag, and officials want to meet with the public at a meeting at 7 p.m. on Thursday, Sept. 7 at the Manassas Park Community Center at 99 Adams Street in Manassas Park to get their thoughts how to proceed. The focus of the meeting will be a recent study of the corridor.
The meeting will serve as an open house, with a presentation about road improvement options, and a question and answer session at the end.
“There are two things we won’t know when we leave the meeting: 1. What option we are going to choose, because we still have a lot of regulatory work to do, and 2: we won’t know whose property we have to take,” said Nohe. “Just because you see a line drawn on a map close to your house doesn’t necessarily mean that is where the road is going…anything you see on a map is a ‘maybe.'”
A third, albeit unlikely option, is to extend Euclid Avenue to Lake Drive on the east side of the Route 28 corridor and have it connect with Orchard Bridge Drive. This option would take cars off Route 28 in Manassas, but it would also bring more cars to a residential neighborhood.
The funding for the Route 28 improvements will come from a mixture of monies from state’s Commonwealth Transportation Board, and from Nohe’s Northern Virginia Transportation Authority (NVTA). Once an option is chosen, it must be scored in the state’s SMART SCALE program, as well by NVTA, which evaluates roadway proposals on, among other things, congestion relief.
“This is the most congested road in the region” assured Nohe. “For years there was no money coming into Northern Virginia for projects like this, so Route 28 wasn’t even looked at. Now we have funding coming in.”
If the Godwin Drive extension option is chosen, it won’t mean the end of the long-discussed Bi-County Parkway. Drivers will meet a stoplight where the extension connects with Route 28, and that means the road won’t work as a limited access highway to Dulles Airport.
“This road will not address the kind of traffic the Bi-County Parkway was envisioned to resolve,” said Nohe.
Before the Prince William County Board of Supervisors removed the Bi-County Parkway from its comprehensive plan, officials envisioned transforming Route 234 from Dumfries to Interstate 66 into a limited access highway and then extending the road through a portion of the Manassas National Battlefield Park to Dulles Airport.