Although the Board of Supervisors approved Virginia Department of Transportation’s (VDOT) overall plans for the Fairfax County Parkway's route through the Engineer Proving Grounds (EPG), the details of the area where the parkway traces the Rolling Road route remain a concern for residents in several communities surrounding the area where Rolling Road now crosses the Parkway.
The communities of Presidential Hills, Barkers Village, Donegal Oaks, Bethelen Woods, Summit Walk and Springwoods all have a stake in the route's final course. Two representatives were invited to a Jan. 21 meeting at the West Springfield District Station. In previous meetings and hearings, a plan called "H2" was supported. But that night, the other plan, "RR1mod," had some supporters. Both plans include a six-lane section of the Parkway to begin where the ramp from the Parkway to Rolling Road is now. The H2 plan has a new Rolling Road going around the back of Barkers Village, while RR1mod has the new Rolling Road between Barkers Village and the lanes of the parkway. Side roads, overpasses and sound walls are included with both plans, with slight variations on each. Traffic noise and pollution is a factor for the neighborhoods on the west side of Rolling Road.
In the end, the Virginia State Board of Transportation, which is appointed by Gov. Mark Warner (D), will have the final say. It's scheduled to make a final decision in March about the Fairfax County Parkway.
Beth James, a resident of Springwoods, was at the Jan. 21 meeting. Springwoods is on the western side of Rolling Road.
"We support H2, the original plan, that impacts the fewest people," James said.
"I'll go with the consensus, H2," said Summit Walk resident Margie Anderson.
John Breslin, who has been living on the land by Rolling Road for years, before any of the surrounding communities were built, liked the other plan. His house is on the eastern side of Rolling Road.
"Seeing how H2 takes a big chunk out of my property, I prefer RR1," Breslin said. "They've managed to make a mountain out of a molehill."
Bob Pease was for RR1mod, also. He wants another public hearing on the issue.
"At the last public hearing, no one spoke out in favor of H2," Pease said.
Chris Reed, VDOT engineer, realized that road planners had to have a plan for the Board of Supervisors for the meeting on Monday, Jan. 26.
"While it may not be a silver bullet, it's as close as we think we can get," Reed said of the vote. "After tonight, I don't know how much further we can take this until final design."
That final design is what the Virginia State Board of Transportation will consider in March, according to Steve Edwards, transportation specialist in Supervisor Elaine McConnell's (R-Springfield) office. The Board will consider cost and feasibility, Edwards said. Various studies that accompany road designs have not been completed yet, and that could affect the final plan. Construction may start at the other end of the EPG if final plans for this area are not complete.
McConnell was glad to see the plan receive the Board's approval. She said VDOT has been flexible through the process, but the residents have had their chance to speak out. Money is a big factor, McConnell said.
"(VDOT) has the final say so. I'm sure one side won't be happy. When you're putting a road into an already developed area, some people are not going to be happy," McConnell said.
After the show of hands at the final meeting, Beth Curtis was one of those who didn't like the outcome. From her house in Barker's Village, RR1mod was better.
"I'm not going to move, but I'm not happy," she said. "I'm kind of sad."