VDOT Bi-County Parkway Meeting Informative, Ultimately Not Persuasive


The Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) held an information session on the Bi-County Parkway at the Hylton Center Monday evening, which clarified some issues, but ultimately did not satisfy residents affected by the location of the Parkway.

The most informative part of the presentation occurred when VDOT’s Chief Deputy Commissioner Charles Kilpatrick addressed the most commonly asked questions about the Parkway. It was then the audience learned that VDOT does not expect the Bi-County Parkway to be built until after 2020 because for the next six years, it is only funded up to $12 million, which will not even cover cost of the design plans.

Additionally, according to VDOT, the Bi-County Parkway will not have tolls. Kilpatrick said tolls are not practical along any part of the North-South Corridor, but especially in the west.

“It’s not a freeway; it’s not an interstate; it just won’t fit,” Kilpatrick told residents during the Q & A session.

Moreover, Kilpatrick said the addition of the Bi-County Parkway does not change the land-use regulations of the rural crescent since it will be a limited access road.

As for the location of the Bi-County Parkway, Route 234 from Route 29 through the Battlefield, will be relocated two miles to the west of the current road. The existing road will remain open to residents, although not to thru traffic. Likewise, VDOT is planning a calming of Route 29 through the Battlefield. However, this calming does not include speed bumps or traffic circles.

Kilpatrick also said that Pageland Lane is planned to remain open to thru traffic.

“We have heard the concerns from the people living on Pageland Lane,” he said.

As far as the Battlefield, he said, “The battlefield will be enhanced by removing a major traffic bottleneck at the intersection of Route 29 and the Stone House.”

Kilpatrick began his presentation with a color-coded highway map, showing the current occupancy of roads during peek hours and the traffic projections for 2040. It demonstrated that traffic congestion is projected to increase.

He also showed aerial shots of local highways and byways between western Prince William and Loudoun Counties that demonstrated their high occupancy, especially around the Stone House on Route 29 in the mornings.

Kilpatrick thus framed the Bi-County Parkway as a much-needed road to address growing traffic concerns.

However, before the meeting, VDOT representatives showed maps of proposed access roads near Dulles International Airport planned to carry cargo and passengers to and from the airport. They said Dulles Airport plans on increasing its operations to include more cargo transports, international flights, an additional runway and a hotel/conference center.

This information led some residents to wonder if the Parkway is primarily for them or Dulles Airport.

One woman in the audience noticed Kilpatrick’s reluctance to address the possibility of the Bi-County Parkway being a cargo road. She hollered from her balcony seat, “You haven’t addressed my questions, and you haven’t addressed the cargo traffic at any point. How are you going to keep our children safe? You haven’t said anything about cargo or big-rigs this entire night?”

Kilpatrick said the road will be open for cars and trucks.

Another woman asked everyone who was opposed to the Bi-County Parkway to, “please stand up,” at which point, approximately 80 percent of the audience stood.

Delegate Bob Marshall (R) blasted VDOT saying the information should have been made public much earlier.

“I appreciate it, but it’s three years too late,” Marshall said.

He questioned the motives behind those who support the Bi-County Parkway, saying, “Who stands to benefit from this? Who’s taking options on land?”

The audience responded to this comment with a loud applause.

Marshall also condemned Transportation Secretary Sean Connaughton for not answering questions he posed to him and said he was dubious about the 6-year time line.

“You’re telling me tonight there is no money for this, but we keep getting different answers from different people; that is very disingenuous,” Marshall said.

The vast majority of attendees who spoke, spoke against the Bi-County Parkway, saying it was a matter of property rights and the need to preserve the nature of the Catharpin community. Bristow resident Shannon Gunn told Bristow Beat that building the Parkway is essentially taking private property via eminent domain for commercial gain, which is illegal in Virginia.

Two speakers at the meeting defended the Parkway, saying traffic was bad and was only going to get worse.

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