A key section of Route 1 is finally getting some relief. Chronic congestion, compounded by the 2005 BRAC decision which brought an influx of nearly 13,000 new military and civilian personnel, plus a brand new hospital that can receive many more new visitors, has made commuting in this part of Fairfax County more difficult.
Thankfully, the federal government recognized that its role in addressing BRAC induced congestion was not only appropriate but necessary. Marking the start of an ambitious project that will use $180 million in federal investment, I joined Fort Belvoir Garrison Commander Colonel Gadson, U.S. Rep. Gerry Connolly, state Sen. Toddy Puller, and Fairfax County leaders to break ground on widening this main thoroughfare on April 28.
Scheduled for completion in 2016, the Virginia Department of Transportation will use the $180 million secured through an earmark I placed in the 2011 defense spending bill to expand a 3.5 mile segment of Route 1/Richmond Highway between Mount Vernon Memorial Highway and Telegraph Road. In addition to widening the road from four lanes to six, intersections will be improved with new traffic signals and turn lanes that will shorten commuter times and ease congestion on the overcrowded roadway. A 32 foot-wide median is also being set aside to accommodate future growth and enable the potential for light rail or bus rapid transit along the Route 1 corridor.
The economic viability of the Route 1 corridor depends on a robust transportation infrastructure that meets the needs of commuters and local businesses. These improvements will increase the quality of life for those who live and work in the surrounding communities. Improved transit through Fort Belvoir and reduced overall congestion will enhance access to the Fort Belvoir Hospital for thousands of patients, wounded warriors, and their families.
This day was a long time coming and would not have been possible if not for tireless work of Eastern Federal Lands Highway Division, who administered the project, VDOT, Fairfax County, Fort Belvoir, Sen. Toddy Puller, Delegates Scott Surovell and Mark Sickles, Chairman Bulova, Supervisors McKay and Hyland, and Garrison Commander Col. Gadson. I am pleased to have been a part of this process, bringing federal economic assistance funds for a project that will continue making Northern Virginia one of the best places to live, work, and raise a family in the country.