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Change is Coming to Route 1

Last month, the widening of the 3.6-mile-long section of Route 1, stretching between Mount Vernon Highway and Telegraph Road was finally completed. This $180 million federally-funded project will not only help eliminate congestion in one of the busiest corridors of the County, but it will also drastically improve public access to Fort Belvoir. The project funding, justified by the addition of the new hospital, was secured by Congressman Jim Moran, adjusting to meet the considerably more complicated rules concerning earmarks.

The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) Eastern Federal Lands Highway Division took around four years to finish the project with the help of VDOT, Fairfax County, and Fort Belvoir. It widened Route 1 from four to six lanes while adding new turn lanes and upgrading signalization. In line with the new push for multi-modal transit, the project also includes multi-use bicycle and pedestrian access. Most importantly, as one of the first step to revitalizing the Richmond Highway corridor, it was designed to incorporate dedicated public transit in the future.

This project’s completion is particularly timely as the Embark Richmond Highway advisory group prepares to draft its final recommendations for the corridor. For the past three years, this group has been working to provide more detailed guidance for the Comprehensive plan, building off of the Route 1 Multimodal Alternatives Analysis, conducted by the Virginia Department of Rail and Public Transportation (DRPT). The Embark process has been a delicate balancing act of satisfying the requirements to secure potential sources of financing and meeting the needs of our community. The plans that will be released in the next couple months will showcase different conceptual renderings of the Route 1 corridor with the potential density that would come with a bus-rapid-transit system. These renderings illustrate the potential of the corridor and not the actual end design. All drafts of the recommendations will be published on the Embark website (http://www.fairfaxcounty.gov/dpz/embarkrichmondhwy) and the public is encouraged to continue to provide input.

If you have any questions about the Embark process or any suggestions please reach out to my office at DelMSickles@house.virginia.gov.