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New Belvoir Gate Provides Partial Relief

Second Part of Program Urged by Supervisors

At 5 a.m. on June 3, a new gate opened at Fort Belvoir to relieve traffic congestion on Telegraph Road. A few hours later a resolution was presented to the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors urging the second element of the plan be pursued.

In their joint communication to the Board, Supervisors Gerald W. Hyland, Mount Vernon District, and Dana Kauffman, Lee District, implored, "The Board again urges these leaders to proceed with the second part of this program; to secure needed federal funding to build a bypass roadway linking Telegraph Road with Route 1 along an extension of Old Mill Road as shown on the County's Comprehensive Plan."

Hyland and Kauffman noted that "after over eight months of community applied pressure, the Army has agreed to reopen Fort Belvoir's Telegraph Road/Beulah Street access to vehicles with Department of Defense decals. This successfully completes the first part of a two-part program necessary to relieve traffic gridlock created when the Army chose to close a vitally needed state roadway connecting Telegraph Road with Route 1."

Hyland and Kauffman further requested, "Unanimous consent to send a letter to Sen. Warner and Congressmen Davis and Moran to commend them for their effort to make this reopening happen." They singled out the efforts of Sen. John W. Warner (R), who "was of particular assistance in bringing common sense to the table."

IN RECOGNIZING THE opening of the new gate, Hyland said, "It's a positive step. But, it is not where we want to be. It's doesn't help those that do not have a DoD [Department of Defense] decal."

He went on to explain, "It also points up the fact that we need to find an east/west route." At that same Board of Supervisors meeting on June 3, Hyland and Kauffman introduced a motion to open such a road which, according to Hyland, passed.

When the new gate opening was first announced by Fort Belvoir, officials stressed that it was "the result of a cooperative effort involving Fort Belvoir, the Virginia Department of Transportation, representatives from the offices of Sen. John Warner and Cong. Jim Moran and Tom Davis, and from the offices of Fairfax County District Supervisors Dana Kauffman and Gerald Hyland."

However, there were several caveats:

* The gate will be open on weekdays only from 5 a.m.-10 p.m.;

* Only privately owned vehicles with DoD decals will be allowed to use the new gate. No trucks will be allowed through the gate or vehicles with temporary visitor's passes;

* Drivers using the new gate will still be required to show appropriate photo identification.

According to Marcia Kline, Fort Belvoir Public Information, "From what we saw on the first day of service, the new gate is going really well as a cooperative effort to relieve traffic."

The plan was approved during a meeting with Warner, Davis, Moran, and Maj. General James T. Jackson, commanding general, Military District of Washington. Beulah Street at Telegraph Road was closed when the security posture of U.S. installations worldwide was elevated Sept. 11, 2001.