Citizens for Balanced Growth

Category: Other Projects (Page 1 of 2)

Local road projects on schedule; ‘hubs’ eyed for future”

by E. Bruce Davis, Bull Run Observer

19 October 2012, pp. 1, 9

“Current and future local Virginia Department of Transportation and Virginia Railway Express programs seem in tune with the recommendations in the forthcoming Super NoVa Transit/TSM Vision Plan.

“VRE is undergoing environmental analysis and preliminary engineering for a new 11-mile branch into Gainesville/Haymarket.  There are also plans to build a parking garage at Broad Run with 700 spaces and a kiss and ride loop.

” ‘It is going smoothly.  We are on schedule,’ said Joan Morris, spokesperson for VDOT, as it heads for its 2015 goal of widening roads and construction of bridges in Gainesville.

“Another project that should help western Prince William riders is the addition of express lanes on I-495 for 14 miles from Springfield to just north of the Dulles Toll Road.  The lanes will accept Easy Passes and are free for cars with three passengers.

“Starting in 2013, I-66 will be widened from US 29 to US 15.  There will be four lanes on each side, with an added HOV lane and regular lane.  In 2015, the interchange at I-66 and US 15 is scheduled to be built to alleviate the ramp back up.

“Meanwhile, Virginia Department of Rail and Public Transportation (DRPT) is nearing its destination on time by finalized recommendations on its Super NoVa Transit/TDM Vision Plan.  The plan, ‘envisions safe, strategic and seamless mobility options for rail, transit and TDM (Transportation Demand Management) in the greater Northern Virginia area.

” ‘The study was the result of a Governor Bob McDonnell initiative,’ said Doborah Cordell, a consultant with Cordell and Crumley, on behalf of DRPT.  ‘This is the first time of a study of this magnitude.  It is a challenging study for the engineers who worked closely with the VRE and the Transit Authority.’

“Identifying Northern Virginia as the most congested region in Virginia, McDonnell said, ‘To truly address congestion in Northern Virginia, we have to take a broader view of what constitutes the region and the commuting patterns of its workforce.  We must develop a geographically broader vision and plan for transit and TDMs that do not stop at local or state political borders.’

“In its overview, ‘The Virginia Department of Rail and Public Transportation defined super region for this planning effort encompasses all of the localities comprising Northern Virginia and the localities extending form Northern Virginia to Caroline County on the south, Culpeper County on the west and Frederick County to the northwest.  It also includes an effort in coordination with Maryland, West Virginia and the District of Columbia.

” ‘The mission is visioning mobility beyond boundaries,’ said Mike Harris of consulting firm, Kimley-Horn and Associates.  ‘This was a large effort.’  It involved getting input from the public and stakeholders, which include regional government agencies, TDM, organizations, the military and metropolitan organizations.

” ‘This is a vision plan, not a program,’ Harris said.  It will evaluate current transit service and TDM programs, existing and future land use, population and employment factors, travel patterns and trends, and future anticipated travel demand to develop a vision through 2040.

“Four stakeholder meetings were held to obtain input from various localities and agencies.

” ‘About 200 people attended these meetings,’ said Cordell.  ‘We received about 600 comments from them.’  Harris agreed, saying, ‘We had good participation.  Everyone wants to cooperate.  The public has a strong voice.  Its input will go into the draft recommendations.’  The draft plan was scheduled to be available by Oct. 15; public comments can be made until Oct. 30.  To send in a comment for consideration, email SuperNOVA@kimley-horn.com by Oct. 30.

” ‘We are looking for coordination and dialogue,’ said Harris.  ‘Of course, we will not be making recommendations to Maryland, West Virginia and the District of Columbia.’

“The Virginia-based study will include an emphasis on transportation hubs.  ‘This is the form for transit and TDM to flourish,’ he said.  ‘We suggest corridors leading to these hubs, connecting from one another.’

“Current draft recommendations with a vision for enhanced regional mobility include, ‘expansive commuter bus network throughout the region; interconnected network of high-capacity transit services in the region’s urban areas; network of hubs to connect people to transportation services and programs; increased coordination of local transit services across jurisdictional boundaries; pedestrian and bicycle improvements to enhance connections to transit services and facilities; comprehensive regional TDM strategy and programs; leveraging technology to enable people to make informed decisions about travel.’

“These recommendations are aimed at improving travel in the Super NoVa area now and over time.  The effect of the recommendations will be contingent on the methods of implementation within each area.  Recommendations of increased rail travel and the development of hubs with connecting corridors could improve travel and reduce congestion in the area.”

Feb 2012: Gainesville “Interchange is 17 percent done, on budget and on time for June 2015 completion”

by Sudha Kamath, Bull Run Observer

17 February 2012, p. 4

“One of the biggest overhauls by the Virginia Department of Transportation is moving ahead in 2012. Construction began on June 15 last year on the US29/Linton Hall Road/I-66 interchange project. VDOT expects work to be completed by June 2015.

“One overpass will carry US 29 over the Norfolk Southern Railroad; another will carry Linton Hall and Gallerher roads over the railroad and US 29, which will be widened to six lanes from I-66 to Virginia Oaks Drive.

“Aerial animation of the final project can be found here: www.virginiadot.org/gainesville_improvements. asp (halfway down the page, click on ‘video rendering’).

“Mehrdad Naderi has served as the area construction engineer for about eight months. Currently, he lives in Maryland but is planning to move to the Gainesville area. He splits his time between the VDOT District Office in Fairfax and the Gainesville Project Field Office. Naderi says so far 17 percent of the interchange project is completed, and it’s on time and on budget.

“The traffic on US 29 and VA 55, also known as John Marshall Highway, was moved to a new detour recently so that crews could start building the overpasses. Naderi said the detour will stay in place about two to three years.

“Also, temporary one-way traffic on Old Linton Hall Road was in place between Whitney Road and Lakeview Drive from mid-October last year, through the end of January this year, as crews installed a 24-inch water main. Naderi said base asphalt is now in place, the road is back to two-way traffic, and surface asphalt will be milled to cover the road this spring.

“Also, in January, after two recent crashes involving trucks and Norfolk Southern trains on southbound US 29 in Gainesville, VDOT set up a portable message sign reminding drivers not to block the railroad crossing while waiting at a red light or when traffic is backed up. The at-grade railroad crossings in Gainesville will be eliminated as part of the ongoing overhaul. ‘Our design consultant and VDOT traffic engineers proposed to add new and bigger warning signs ahead of the railroad crossing, place new pavement markings around the railroad track to make it more visible and are also requesting Prince William County Police presence at the site to enforce the law,’ said Naderi.

“The overhaul should offer overdue congestion relief. According to the latest statistic available, in 2008, I-66 carried 82,000 vehicles a day between US 29 and the VA 234 Bypass. It’s expected to carry more than 175,000 vehicles a day by 2028.  About 57,000 vehicles a day used US 29 through Gainesville; that’s expected to jump to 87,000 a day by 2035. About 42,000 vehicles a day are expected to use Linton Hall Road by 2035.

“Naderi said his team is keeping locals informed about what’s going on. ‘We have a community outreach program, especially for the businesses in the area, to inform them of major upcoming events and how it affects them. We also receive inquiries from citizens living in the area about the project.’

“Meanwhile, Virginia hopes to pump more money into transportation improvements across the commonwealth. ‘Collectively, we put the most new funding into transportation in a generation,’ Gov. Robert ‘Bob’ McDonnell announced recently. ‘Virginia simply cannot remain a leader in economic development and job creation if we do not continue to address our transportation challenges.’ He said this year’s transportation package will help spur the commonwealth’s economic recovery.

“Among other proposals, McDonnell is asking for an additional dedication of 25 percent of the sales tax to transportation in the next eight years; the creation of the Virginia Toll Road Authority to construct, maintain and operate toll road facilities across Virginia; permission for private entities to place their name on highways, interchanges, bridges and other infrastructure for an annual fee that would go to the state’s highway maintenance and operating fund.”

Gainesville District Supervisor’s Message May 2011

by John T. Stirrup, Jr., Gainesville Supervisor from Prince William County Reports, Vol.2

May 2011

“Transportation has been a major concern for the Gainesville District. The completion of Heathcote Boulevard and the widening of Route 15 have helped with the traffic flow in our District. The Virginia Department of Transportation will begin Phase 4 of the Gainesville Interchange project, which will build an overpass for the railroad tracks on Route 29 and build an interchange at Route 29 and Linton Hall Road. The progress of this project can be checked at http://www.gainesvilleimprovements.org.

“Below is a list of other projects that will affect Gainesville residents:

“1. I-66 Widening from Route 29 to Route 15 – Widening to eight lanes including an HOV lane. The interchange at Route 15 and I-66 may be included. Project funding is being considered as part of the Governor’s Transportation funding package approved by the General Assembly. The project is currently at the scoping level and a survey is underway.

“2. Route 234 Commuter Lot off Cushing Road – Construct approximately 400 new spaces on Cushing Road near I-66. The lot will have direct exit access to I-66 for HOV and transit carriers. Right-of-way acquisition and advertisement for a construction contract is expected in 2011.

“3. Logmill Road at Parnell Court – Federal funds have been secured to improve the safety hazards that exist at this intersection. Completion of the project is expected in late 2012.

“4. Mountain Road – This project will pave 0.28 miles of the gravel portion of Mountain Road. The project will include a new crossing of Catharpin Creek. Construction is expected to be completed in 2012.

“5. Balls Ford Road at Groveton Road – Construction of turn lanes at the intersection. Right-of-way acquisition conducted in 2011. Construction advertisement in 2012.

“My office will continue to work with federal, state and county agencies to help alleviate the road congestion we have all  experienced. If you have any questions, concerns or would like to sign up for my monthly newsletter, please contact my office at 703-792-6195, Gainesville@pwcgov.org.”

“Interchange work could move up”

by Lillian Kafka, Manassas Journal Messenger.com

25 October 2007

“Construction at the Gainesville interchange at U.S. 29 and Linton Hall Road could begin in 2011 — three years sonner than expected.

” ‘There are two huge hurdles that have to be jumped before we start any construction,’ said Joan Morris, Virginia Department of Transportation spokesman. The Federal Highway Administration will allow VDOT to clear one of those hurdles much sooner, Morris said.

“Gov. Timothy M. Kaine announced Tuesday that the administration relaxed some requirements that VDOT must follow when buying land for road projects. VDOT won’t have to have all of the interchange plans complete before they start negotiating with landowners around the construction site.

” ‘Fifty-three parcels and 39 businesses have to be acquired, and if that was done using the standard engineering process, then we’d be advertising for construction in 2013,’ Morris said.
Now the administration will allow VDOT to buy land before the plans are finished, she said.

” ‘We are also working with utility companies to co-locate utilities in a bank or a corridor to streamline the relocations,’ Morris said.  Utility poles must be moved out of the way of construction vehicles and the future roadway before construction begins.   More than 15 utility companies have utilities in the area of the Gainesville interchange, Morris said.

“The Gainesville interchange is a $181.4 million project that will raise U.S. 29 over the railroad tracks in Gainesville and widen that highway from four to six lanes from Interstate 66 to Virginia Oaks Drive.

“Gallerher Road also will be raised above the tracks.

“Of the entire project’s cost, $77 million will be used to purchase property.”

“Road Upgrading on County Books”

by Gretchen L.H. O’Brien, Bull Run Observer

10 August 2007, pp. 1, 10

“Millions of dollars are paving county roads. Anyone who lives or works in the area knows roadwork is a part of life in an effort to smooth daily travels in the future.

“Rick Canizales, transportation planning manager for Prince William County’s Department of Transportation, said many road upgrade projects are on the county’s books for the upcoming year; many more are mapped out for the years to come.

“Canizales discussed some area road projects in a recent telephone interview and provided funding estimates in a follow-up e-mail.

“Although the county did not create the connection of Heathcote Boulevard between Catharpin Road and U.S. 29, Canizales has stayed apprised of its schedule. The road was originally scheduled to open in 2006 but contained a design flaw not caught until fmal inspections. During a recent redesign, VDOT sent the redesign back in record time. He said it was the ‘fastest I’ve ever seen a design come back from Richmond.’

“Linton Hall Road’s widening has been going on for quite some time now. Canizales expects the Virginia Department of Transportation work to be complete by the end of 2007.

“However, complete work on the road, from U.S. 29 to VA 28, which will be a four-lane section of road extending from Sudley Manor Drive to VA 28, will not be complete until August 2009, he said. The county has about $44.5 million budgeted for the entire project.

“The Sudley Manor Drive extension, which opened in October, connects drivers from Linton Hall Road in Bristow to VA 234 in Manassas. The Public-Private Transportation Act (PPTA) road, which means private and public funds were poured into the road, cost an estimated $37.4 million.

“Different sections of U.S. 15 are on the county’s schedule for upgrades. Canizales said the upgrades are set for phases under this PPTA. From Interstate 66 to VA 234, road workers will widen the road and improve the intersection at Waterfall Road. By summer of next year, Canizales expects the road to be widened and for the Waterfall intersection to be safer with a ‘more even flow’ to allow drivers to enter and exit U.S. 15 more easily. Waterfall’s smoother flow is expected to cost $3.5 million.

“Drivers who head out on VA 28 between Vint Hill Road and VA 234 will see some improvements in the years to come as well. For an estimated $54.3 million, drivers will have a six-lane bridge to cross and will have four lanes of pavement between Hornbaker and Linton Hall Roads.

“In addition, Canizales said the county has plans to realign Vint Hill Road where it meets VA 28.

“Old Carolina Road will be made new in some aspects by summer 2009.  Canizales expects the road to offer drivers four lanes near the entrance to the Piedmont community.  In addition, he said, pedestrians will have a path so that they can more safely walk parallel to the road, especially where the road crosses the creek. Canizales said under a revenue-sharing plan, some money has been set aside for these improvement[s]. His e-mail did not include cost estimates for these im-provements.

“Canizales said the county’s transportation department, which was formed in 2006, is working well. The separate entity was previously part of the county’s public works department. The autonomy, Canizales said, makes road projects easier to streamline.

“Area residents who have questions about road plans can refer to the county’s Web site, www.pwcgov.org. under the transportation link, or can contact their local supervisor’s office to voice concerns.”

May 2007: VDOT engineer on Rte 29-I66 interchange progress; planned completion of Aug 2010

by Gretchen L.H. O’Brien, Bull Run Observer

4 May 2007, p. 4

“Typically, I’d consider a morning spent on Interstate 66 a bit of a bear.  However, this morning was a bit different. I got to ride along with Avtar Singh, an engineer with the Virginia Department ofTransportation (VDOT).

“Singh oversees the work on the I-66-U.S. 29 interchange, which he acknowledges will be a long project.  Singh has to factor in numerous road changes, lane closures and reopenings as well as contractor and driver safety when he makes plans for the interchange.  Even Nissan Pavilion’s schedule plays a role in the road plans, he said. No roadwork is done on Jimmy Buffet concert days.

“Every day, Singh drives around the dirt roads that will become paved roads one day.  He can visualize where roads will be, and he points out the new bridges that take the place of old ones. One of the bridges that will be replaced was built in [the] early 1960s, he said.

“All the bridges, he emphasized, are getting doubled, since the road size is getting doubled. That means four new bridges in the area.

“The end of the entire project is slated for Aug. 2, 2010. But Singh looks at the project in phases. Right now, the crews are working on the I-66 off-ramp to get on U.S. 29 south, which is exit 43A. Singh said the pending weekend closure of the ramp, from May 11 at 10 p.m. until 6 a.m. May 14, is necessary so VDOT work crews can create a 20-foot deep place for a pipe to go. The pipe, he explains, will cross all current and new lanes of 1-66 eventually. That pipe will make sure water does not build up on the roadways.

“Instead, the water will pool in the newly cleared area to the right of the I-66 on-ramp from U.S. 29 north, he said. That ramp is being reengineered as well. Currently, traffic from the Gainesville area merges on to I-66 east in a lane with drivers taking the U.S. 29 north exit.  That ‘weave,’ as it’s called, will no longer exist when the new ramp for I-66 east is complete.

“That ramp is slated to be completed in April 2008. Singh said VDOT has incentives for the contractor, Shirley Contracting Co. to finish the ramp on time. Singh sang the contractors’ praises as an experienced road company that’s big enough to handle the job.

“When the entire project is complete, I-66 will be four lanes in both the east and westbound directions past the U.S. 29 interchange.

“Driving on I-66 and U.S. 29, I could see what Singh pointed out.  I, too, could visualize what his intricately detailed office maps showed in all their many colors.  The colors, Singh explained, reveal phase plans.

“Singh understands drivers’ frustrations when they see the road and think it’s almost done. However, the Haymarket engineer pointed out traffic on the old portion of the road is transferred to the new portion; then the existing portion is completed, and then the crews have to create lanes for the new traffic.

“It would be easier and faster, Singh said, if the roadways could simply be closed and all the work could be done at once. However, he knows that’s an impossibility.  In the meantime, Singh is working to keep I-66 and U.S. 29 traffic running smoothly while work progresses.

“Updates are regularly posted on the VDOT Web site: http://www.virginiadot.org/projects/ under the ‘Northern Virginia’ link and then under the ‘I-66 Widening (Route 234 Bypass to Route 29).’ “

“A Potential Pothole in Va. Roads Deal – Loudoun, Pr. William Balk at Raising Taxes”

by Eric M. Weiss and Michael D. Shear, The Washington Post

20 January 2007, p. A1

“Elected leaders of two of the fastest-growing counties in the region say they are unlikely to approve the transportation plan proposed this week by Republicans in the General Assembly, which would raise taxes and fees to pay for road and transit improvements.

“Members of the boards of supervisors in Loudoun and Prince William counties said they would not vote to raise taxes locally — especially if they don’t control how much of the money would be spent, as the plan dictates. The possible rejection in those counties, where growth and traffic congestion are top priorities, could stall progress on a transportation deal during the General Assembly session.

“The GOP proposal, announced with considerable fanfare Thursday, includes allowing Northern Virginia jurisdictions to raise and spend $383 million a year for transportation projects. Some of the money would return to the counties, and some would go directly to Metro. About half would be spent by a regional transportation authority. The authority could spend the money anywhere in Northern Virginia, and it might not go back to Prince William or Loudoun.

“Local jurisdictions would have to agree to increase local taxes and fees or be cut out of the deal. Without Loudoun and Prince William, the pool of money would be drastically lower.

“Both county boards recently halted re-zonings to send a message to Richmond that lawmakers need to act this year to ease traffic congestion. But supervisors said the GOP proposal puts the onus back on them.

” ‘This allows us to raise taxes on our own citizens to build roads, and we have already done this,’ said Corey A. Stewart (R), chairman of the Prince William Board of County Supervisors. ‘This is going to provide us extremely little relief of any kind and does almost nothing for Prince William. . . . We have already been raising money through bonding and servicing those bonds through taxes. We’ve already been doing Richmond’s job.’

“Loudoun Supervisor Stephen J. Snow (R-Dulles) agreed. ‘We send enough to Richmond,’ he said. ‘Why don’t they send us more money back?’

“State legislators said they are giving local officials what they sought. ‘It’s a little disingenuous for them to ask us to raise taxes, for them to have local transportation needs, and not to raise taxes themselves,’ said Sen. Kenneth W. Stolle (R-Virginia Beach), a key negotiator of the plan.

“The transportation deal has major political ramifications across Virginia. The debate comes in a year in which the entire legislature and all of the county supervisors are up for election. Fearing that an increasingly Democratic Northern Virginia could cost them their majorities in the Senate and House of Delegates, Republicans in Richmond huddled for weeks to come up with a compromise that balances transportation needs against an aversion to tax increases.

“Local officials also have to face voters this fall and are reluctant to vote for taxes when they cannot tell constituents where all the money would go. In the end, both groups will have to weigh voters’ demands for transportation solutions against higher taxes.

“In addition to the local tax increases, the plan also dedicates half of future surpluses to transportation projects and diverts $250 million from other state programs starting in 2008. The state would borrow $1.3 billion in 2008 and an additional $700 million in 2012, repaying the debt with money raised through the plan. Taxes on diesel fuel would rise, fees to register heavy trucks would increase and drivers with bad records would pay higher fines.

“Locally, Northern Virginia would raise $383 million and Hampton Roads $209 million each year. The Northern Virginia plan includes a new fee when buying a car, higher rental car taxes and higher taxes on commercial real estate, legislators said.

“Fairfax County officials also expressed concerns about the GOP transportation package, although they stopped considerably short of rejecting it.

” ‘We may be uncomfortable’ with the commercial real estate tax increase, said Fairfax Board of Supervisors Chairman Gerald E. Connolly (D). ‘At least we’ve got something on the table.’

“Still, Fairfax leaders noted state lawmakers’ willingness to help localities raise taxes when the legislators steadfastly refused last year. ‘The irony to this whole issue is the General Assembly doesn’t want to raise taxes, but it’s okay if we raise taxes,’ said Fairfax Supervisor Joan M. DuBois (R-Dranesville).

“Alexandria Mayor William D. Euille (D) said Loudoun and Prince William are ‘more Republican, so their position is going to be “We don’t want to raise taxes.” But I don’t see a way out of this unless we all agree that some type of tax increase is necessary.’

” ‘This is a regional issue that needs to be resolved not in a political way, but in the best interest of the region from an economic standpoint,’ he said.

“Outer-county leaders said they are not necessarily opposed to raising taxes on their constituents for transportation — that is what they have done over the past few years as road money from Richmond has dried up.

“Loudoun Board of Supervisors Chairman Scott K. York (I) said it is unlikely that his fellow members would agree to increase taxes, even though their constituents are mired in gridlock. York made his comments while stuck in traffic on Waxpool Road.

“He said his colleagues would ‘have to take a long, hard look and ask themselves whether or not we want to solve what we’ve been griping about for’ the past 10 years.

“If this opportunity is squandered, York said, it will probably be ‘another 10 years before we get any help.’ “

“I-66 and Sudley Manor Dr. Almost Ready To Open, Says Stirrup”

by Rose Murphy, Bull Run Observer

6 Oct 2006, pp. 1, 60

“Gainesville Supervisor John Stirrup reported on recent road projects in his district, and introduced county officials who discussed the upcoming bond referenda Sept. 21 at a town hall meeting in Bull Run Middle School.

“Stirrup noted there will be a ribbon cutting Oct. 17 at 11:30 a.m. at the intersection of Sudley Manor Drive and Rt. 234 Bypass for the opening of the segment of Sudley Manor Drive from Linton Hall Road to the bypass.  By year’s end the missing link of Sudley Manor Drive from the bypass to Chatsworth Drive also should be finished, completing Sudley Manor Drive from Splashdown to Linton Hall Road.

“Wally Covington, (R-Brentsville), pointed out this week the project is a year ahead of schedule, due to his efforts in advancing the work.

“Stirrup also explained that improvements to I-66 cost $3.8 million and are set for completion by the end of October.  The project runs from VA 234 Business to the Rt. 234 Bypass.  He said Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) would do the next road segment for near University Boulevard to just past US 29.  That project should start ‘after the first of the year,’ Stirrup added.

“He reported University Boulevard has been opened from US 29 over I-66 to Wellington Road near Nissan Pavilion.

“Stirrup said Heathcote Road is a ‘developer road’ and has engineering flaws. He pointed out that from Catharpin toward Heritage Hunt the road’s angle is too steep, and that cars traveling the posted miles per hour ‘would bottom out at Catharpin.’  He said he hopes the road will be fixed by year’s end.

“More than 35 Bull Run area residents turned out for the town hall meeting. Prince William County officials outlined details of three bond referenda voters will be asked to approve in the November 7 general election.

“The $370 million referenda include $300 million for road bonds, $27 million in park bonds and $42.55 million for libraries in Gainesville and Dumfries Magisterial Districts.  If the referenda pass, the Bull Run area also will get six road projects completed, including the widening of Old Carolina Road to four lanes from I-66 to Piedmont Vista Drive.

“Speaking at the meeting sponsored [by] Stirrup were Carl Hampton, the county’s fiscal services manager; Jay Ellington, executive director of the county’s park authority; Dick Murphy, library system director; and Rick Canizales, a county transportation planner.

“The proposed road bond was detailed by Canizales.  Roads in the Bull Run area slated for work should the bond pass are:

“– VA 28 will be a six-lane, divided highway with raised median from relocated Vint Hill Road to the Rt. 234 ramps at the bypass. A connection will run from the northwest corner of relocated Vint Hill Road to give access to Vint Hill Road.  The work will be 11,500 feet long, while relocated Vint Hill Road construction will be 4800 feet.  Vint Hill Road connector will be 240 feet. The project is set for completion five years from the start date and will cost an estimated $52.5 million.

“– Heathcote Boulevard will be a four-lane divided roadway with raised median. The project will be from James Madison Highway (US 15) to Old Carolina Road for a total of 1300 feet. The work, valued at $10.1 million, will take two years, ten months to finish.

“– VA 28 will be four lanes divided with a raised median from Fitzwater Drive to Vint Hill Road relocated. The $29.2 million project is 12,900 feet in length and will take five years to finish. Work includes right-of-way acquisition, traffic maintenance and environmental ele-ments.

“– University Boulevard will be four divided lanes with raised median from Sudley Manor Drive to Hornbaker Road. Price of the project is estimated at $21.5 million. The 5000-foot-long section is set for completion three years, ten months from the starting date.

“– Rollins Ford Road will be four lanes divided with a raised median from Vint Hill Road to the existing intersection of Songsparrow Drive/Yellow Hammer Drive. The 4300-foot-long project will cost an estimated $19.5 million and take three years, three months to complete.

“Murphy presented plans for the two libraries that would be built if the library bond passes. The $24.18-million Gainesville Library would sit on four acres at Lightner Road and US 15, a site proffered by Dominion Valley. The Bushey Park House, an 18th-century middle class farmhouse, would be incorporated into the design.

” ‘The house has been moved to the site. It’s two rooms and not the type usually saved,’ Murphy remarked.

“The library director said each new library would be 20,000 square feet. The Gainesville Library is expected to open in 2012, while the Montclair branch would open a year earlier.

“Murphy stressed that costs of each new library are projections, not actual costs.

“‘I don’t determine costs. That’s done by the department of public works,’ he said.

“County citizens in a 2005 survey reported 96.8 percent satisfaction with library services, up from 96.2 percent in 2003 and 2004, the speaker noted.  Some 18,000 children participated in the library’s Summer Quest program this year, explained Murphy.

“Ellington said the park bond would include $3 million for land acquisition, $11 million for improvements to Ben Lomond Community Center and Chinn Aquatics and Fitness Center, $750,000 for trails, $5 million for relocating sports fields from the county landfill and $2.5 million for improvements to a host of county parks.

“Fields at these park and school sites would be improved: Long Park, Beville Middle School, Godwin Middle School, Turley Fields, Leitch baseball/softball, Neabsco Eagles Park, Howison Homestead Park, Veterans’ Park and Hellwig Park.

“Ellington noted the park projects were chosen based on citizen.response and a strategic issue analysis process, which included many citizen groups.

“The park director explained that the bond would not be enough for new parks in the future. He added the bond ‘will help narrow the gap between facility needs and the ability of the community to pay for recreation… Our county needs many more trails and parks than can be built, at this time with these funds.’

“Hampton told his audience the county is one of only 30 counties of 3000 counties nationwide to have an AAA.bond rating.

“Hampton explained what a bond referendum means to a county.

” ‘It means a county, city, township or borough has a legal obligation to repay it.  Anyone can buy a Prince William County or Fairfax County bond, and they are tax exempt.  The interest we pay you is not taxed at the federal or state level.  The IRS doesn’t like that, so there are lots of rules,’ Hampton remarked.

“The fiscal manager added that an advantage of a bond referendum is that ‘It lets the community get enough money to leverage for infrastructure and to get it in place quickly.’

“Hampton said using bonds could reduce costs of construction.  ‘In the last two years, construction costs have gone up 50 percent. If we borrow, we can do construction earlier and build before inflationary costs,’ he added.

“An audience member asked Stirrup about overcrowding in the county residences. He mentioned he’d heard that the rule is only two non-related persons can share a bedroom.

“‘But that means in a three or four-bedroom home, you can have lots of unrelated parties,’ he said.

“Stirrup said the county relies on ‘self-declaration’ on whether residents are related.  He noted the county is studying new ways to address overcrowding in rental units.  He said an inspection process for rentals could be implemented, and that the property owner would pay a fee to see if the property meets county code.

” ‘We’re trying to address this issue,’ Stirrup added.

“Dale City resident Jackie Bell asked the supervisor if he would support a plan for a new county stadium at a site other than adjacent to McCoart Government Center off Prince William Parkway.  He also asked the supervisor if he would support a public hearing on the stadium project.

“Stirrup contended softball teams would ‘lose a season’ during stadium construction.

” ‘I would support a public hearing, if the public is concerned with how public dollars are being spent. Public financing for teams always is controversial,’ he remarked.

“Ellington pointed out that plans for a new or refurbished stadium ‘have been in the county’s Capital Improvement Plan (CIP) for about eight years.’  He said the county took over the project three years ago from the park authority.

” ‘It’s in the county budget, and it’s already funded,’ Ellington added.”

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