by Rose Murphy, Bull Run Observer

18 October 2013, p. 7

“Richard and Beth Waller think the Bi-County Parkway is a bad idea, expecially since it will go through their living room.

“The couple was interviewed at random Oct. 3 at a Virginia Department of Transporation (VDOT) meeting on the parkway, formerly called the Tri-County Parkway, in Stonewall Jackson High School, Manassas.  The road’s name was changed after Fairfax County bowed out of the project.

“The road is a mistake,” Richard Waller volunteered in speaking of the ten-mile route that would extend VA 234 to near Dulles Airport in Loudoun County.  He added that if the road didn’t actually take out their living room, it would ‘go close enough that no one would want to live there.’  He said he wouldn’t mind giving up his house for an east-west thoroughfare, ‘but not for a north-south one.’

“Jodi Hooper-Spelbring, a real estate agent, said she believes the public has a ‘right to know who will benefit from the by-pass.  Why is Sean Connaughton so hot to trot on this?  Loudoun County supervisors rejected it.’  Hooper-Spelbring suggested making the by-pass issue a referendum.

“Connaughton, a Prince William County resident [and former Prince William County Board of County Supervisors chairman], is Virginia’s Secretary of Transportation.

“John DePasquale works in Vienna, but lives in Catharpin.  He hastened to note he is not the same DePasquale who works for VDOT.  He asserted, ‘Interstate 66 was to be the (Manassas Battlefield) by-pass.  Why do we need a battlefield beltway?’

“DePasquale reproted he takes Lightridge Road, a two-lane gravel road, to work.

” ‘Why do we need to replace it with a four-land road?’ he asked.

“DePasquale said drivers can get to Dulles Airport by taking VA 234 north to I-66 east and then VA 28 north.

“Debbie DePasquale, Catharpin, volunteered that aerial photos of the proposed by-pass show it will run through two new schools and new home subdivisions in Loudoun County.

” ‘These kids will have to take a bus to math class,’ she quipped.

“Jeff Markiewicz, a Prince William County resident, explained he is concerned with the fate of Sudley United Methodist Church if the by-pass is built.

” ‘It’s one of the oldest churches in the area,’ he said of the congregation, which dates from the 18th century.  He wonders if he will have to take I-66 west to the VA 234 by-pass, get off, take the new by-pass up to Pageland Lane, then go east on the old section of VA 234 to get to the church.

“Markiewicz also believes if drivers are discouraged from taking US 29, more traffic will be directed to I-66.

“Haymarket resident Wayne Ernst reported he is concerned with the lack of transparency on the by-pass issue.

” ‘Citizens learn lots after the decisions are made.  If there’s a strong need (for the roadway), why did VDOT have to have a DC public relations agency at taxpayer expense?  This is getting priority,’ he contended.

“Page Snyder, one of the leaders in the battle against the parkway, pointed out that the road would affect two Civil War mass burial sites, the final resting place of soldiers from both sides of the conflict.

” ‘They were buried where they fell along Pageland Lane,’ she noted.  ‘We were told not to dig near the fences, cause that’s where the soldiers were buried.’

“A steady stream of people stopped in at the VDOT meeting to see displays of the project and have their questions answered.  Attending from VDOT were Tom Fahrney, project manager, Joan Morris, VDOT’s public relations manager for Northern Virginia, and John Undeland, VDOT’s public relations consultant on the project.”