1. Route 28 Transportation Study & Project (Blackburn’s Ford Battlefield)
Background. The Northern Virginia Transportation Authority (NVTA) recently completed a Route 28 Corridor Feasibility Study with the goal of identifying infrastructure projects that will improve travel times and network reliability within the Route 28 Corridor through Prince William County, the City of Manassas and the City of Manassas Park. Public information briefings on the study were conducted on September 7, 2017 at the Manassas Park Community Center and on September 1, 2017 at the Centreville Elementary School.
The Route 28 Corridor Feasibility Study’s purpose is to evaluate alternatives to relieve congestion on Route 28 (Nokesville Road/Center Street/Church Street/Centreville Road) through the City of Manassas, the City of Manassas Park, and the Yorkshire area of Prince William County; and identify projects to be included in the County’s long-range plans as well as Smart Scale prioritization consideration. The area covered by the study is from the Route 28/Godwin Drive intersection to the Route 28/29 interchange (Fairfax County) north of the Bull Run crossing. Directly related to this study is an approved and funded Fairfax County project that will widen Route 29 to four lanes in each direction from the Route 28/29 intersection to Bull Run (does not include widening the existing bridge crossing Bull Run).
The Route 28 Corridor Feasibility Study was the first step in a four-step project development process envisioned to culminate with project construction completed by 2024.
Step1: Feasibility Study – Identification of Highest Ranked Alternative
Step 2: Complete National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) Process (18-24 months) – Selection of Preferred Alternative
Step 3: Final Design of the Preferred Alternative (36-42 months)
Step 4: Construction (48-60 months)
The feasibility study was a macro-level evaluation of alternative concepts (no initial or final designs or plans have been developed, considered or evaluated). Fifteen preliminary alternatives were initially screened using the following criteria - meeting study goals and objectives, environmental impacts, property impacts, traffic benefits and policy considerations/long-term solution. Information on the feasibility study, including study objectives, estimated project and step/phase time frames, feasibility study process, evaluation and results, and the information presented at the public information briefings, is located online at www.route28study.com.
Current Status. Based on the initial screening, four alternatives were advanced for evaluation:
Alternative 2A: Godwin Drive extended to existing Route 28 south of Bull Run
Alternative 2B: Godwin Drive extended to existing Route 28 north of Bull Run
Alternative 4: Widening Route 28 on existing alignment between Liberia Avenue and the Fairfax County Line
Alternative 9: Euclid Avenue extension north to Route 28 near Bull Run and south to Sudley Road/Route 234 intersection
These four alternatives were evaluated using the following criteria – project cost (estimated/planning level costs), project benefits, environmental impacts (initial assessment), and socio-economic / right of way impacts. Based on this evaluation, Alternative 2B emerged as the highest ranked alternative (feasibility study result/product).
Based on information provided at the public briefing meetings and the results of the feasibility study, NOVA Parks and BRCWRT representatives raised several concerns
The highest ranked alternative, Alternative 2B, would have significant negative impacts on the Bull Run Regional Park, including core acreage of the Blackburn’s Ford Battlefield (June 18, 1862)
The proposed route’s northern section cuts through a significant portion of Bull Run Regional Park land and core battlefield area, as determined by the Civil War Sites Advisory Commission (CWSAC)
Alternative 2B is incompatible with the historic and scenic character of the Bull Run Regional Park and would significantly degrade the integrity of the Blackburn’s Ford Battlefield, the quality of the visitor experience and the area’s scenic and historic view shed.
In September 2017 the Northern Virginia Regional Park Authority (NOVA Parks), the Civil War Trust (CWT) and the Bull Run Civil War Round Table (BRCRT) submitted letters to the Executive Committee of the Route 28 Study Feasibility Study documenting the concerns noted above and their non-support of Alternative 2B.
Of note, the use of Federal funds for construction triggers a National Historic Preservation Act Section 106 review of impacts to cultural resources, as well as a National Transportation Act section 4(f) review to avoid the use or occupancy of historic sites.
Manassas Park (Yorkshire)
City of Manassas
Prince William County Historical Commission
The next step in the NVTA process includes: a) completion of the National Environmental Policy Act Process and preparation of an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS), b) additional public comment and c) selection of the preferred alternative. As of November 21, 2017, PWC and NVTA have not initiated the NEPA / EIS process.
Monitor NEPA / EIS processes and other project actions/activities
Maintain communications with NOVA Parks – Paul Gilbert, Director
Maintain contact with JMT (Consultant Firm supporting NVTA) EIS POC, Carter Teague
Submit, as appropriate, additional comments and information
Coordinate actions with NOVA Parks
Attend any future EIS public meetings