Between the Lines

Between the Lines

Northern Virginia transportation plan implies a Techway, but doesn't specifically name one.

The Northern Virginia Transportation Authority released its "TransAction 2030" plan — a vision of the transportation network in Virginia in the next decades.

While the plan does not specifically call for any new bridge connections to Maryland, it does envision several roads which seem to dead end at the Potomac.

The plan calls for constructing new segments of road in Loudoun County which would complete a few links in the Loudoun County Parkway.

These would also serve to complete the so-called Tri-County Parkway, a north-south corridor which loops from I-95 in Dumfries, Prince William County, Va., up to Route 7 in Loudoun County — a loop which points almost directly at Montgomery County's Agricultural Reserve.

The final northern link of the Tri-County Parkway was marked as the project having the third-highest priority in its corridor.

The plan further calls for widening other north-south links, such as the Fairfax County Parkway and Route 28.

A few speakers were in favor of adding a Techway to the plan specifically.

Bob Chase of the Northern Virginia Transportation Alliance reiterated his group's support for a Techway bridge.

Loudoun County Supervisor Sally Kurtz (D-Catoctin) protested any plan which would include the Western Transportation Corridor — a constoversial project which run roughly along Route 15. She said that a Techway belongs in the plan prior to the Corridor.

However, she noted the difficulty with including a new bridge. "There's never been a regional agreement," Kurtz said. "More important, there's never been an interstate agreement."

Kurtz reminded the audience of about 50 people that the bridge would add the Techway into Montgomery County's agricultural reserve, something that Montgomery has been loathe to do.

"Discuss with Maryland if you want a new bridge," she said. "You need credible data, credible planning, and Maryland at the table from the start of the process."

Other speakers rejected the arguments. "If you'd look for alternatives to outer Beltways, your job would be easier," said Roger Deidrich of the Sierra Club.

Stewart Schwartz of the Coalition for Smarter Growth pointed to a Virginia Department of Transportation study which analyzed travel patterns across the American Legion Bridge.

That study showed that relatively few people would actually benefit from a Techway. "Less than 2,000 people make that U-shaped commute."

The transportation plan will undergo further review before its final adoption. It is likely to be completed for presentation to the Virginia General Assembly early next year.