by Christy Goodman, Washington Examiner

1 September 2006

“Prince William County — The Virginia Department of Transportation won’t begin to take steps to relieve the consistently snarled traffic at the Gainesville interchange until November 2007. The interchange is complicated by railroad tracks, a massive shopping center and service stations opening onto Route 29.

“VDOT officials reported the agency has the money to relocate the 75 businesses that dump into the main connector for people from Warrenton who work in the District. However, the relocation efforts, also called right of way, one of the first steps in the project, must wait until all of the designs are finalized and approved, said Dennis Morrison, VDOT district administrator.

” ‘They said they would start doing right of way at the end of this [calendar] year when Brentswood was still on the table,’ said Sean Connaughton, Prince William County Board of Supervisors chair.

“Earlier this year, developers pulled a proposal for 6,800 homes west of Manassas, called Brentswood, that included improvements to the interchange.

“Connaughton said he wasn’t surprised by the delay and said, ‘According to the six-year plan when I took office seven years ago … it was going to be completed by 2005.’

“After the preliminary work is completed, construction will now begin at the earliest in 2012, and is expected to cost $181.6 million, $94 million of which will be used to acquire right of way, Morrison said.

“The project is federally funded, so VDOT must follow federal guidelines to buy the property the road will sit on, and find replacement areas for the businesses and utilities, which will take a significant amount of time, Morrison said.

“VDOT opened the connector road between Wellington Road and Route 29 last Monday. ‘Whenever we can, we put money towards smaller pieces of the interchange,’ said John DePasquale, a VDOT construction engineer.”