Road, Rail Projects being eyed for Route 1

By Dan Roem, Prince William Times

Published May 22,2013

If all goes to plan later this summer, the Virginia Department of Transportation is set to dole out another $1.6 million aimed at easing congestion along the Route 1 corridor through Dumfries.

State Del. Luke Torian (D-52nd) explained during a phone interview on Monday that he spoke to VDOT Secretary Sean Connaughton and VDOT Commissioner Gregory Whirley about widening Route 1 along the Dumfries corridor in areas between the intersections for Route 234 in the north and Graham Park Road in the south.

“We’re hoping that we can get some road widening, yes,” said Torian. “We’re hoping that it’ll probably come down to the secretary of transportation making a decision on the funding and then we’ll probably work with the mayor of the Town of Dumfries and then I imagine the mayor would have some sort of say” about oversight for the project.

Torian added that while he as a state delegate is responsible for securing the money pledge, “execution” of the project’s implementation would be left to the town.

Neither the mayor, vice-mayor nor town manager responded to interview requests on Monday seeking comment prior to deadline.

Dumfries is also situated between two Virginia Railway Express stations though the train does not run directly through town.

The Quantico station is roughly two miles to the southeast of town while Rippon is about two miles to the northeast.

According to VRE spokesperson Mark Roeber, who serves as the company’s manager of public affairs and government relations, plans are already under way to make capital improvements at both stations.

As part of a development proffer at Rippon, a sheltered, covered parking structure that could hold about 600 vehicles is under consideration.

“That will increase the utilization of that facility and in so doing so we’ll be examining the potential for a second platform to be developed for that station,” said Roeber.

He also mentioned that installing a second platform at Quantico is another long-term goal but that the VRE will probably tie its efforts to do so “to what the state is currently doing” in developing a corridor for high-speed rail.

“Clearly both of those stations are going to evolve from where they are today to more accessible,” said Roeber, adding that more tracks would mean more trains available for commuters.

“It gives them the option to travel both north and south,” he said.

While engineers have completed some design work at the Rippon Station facility, Roeber explained that there is is no “hard capital money” existing right now for future developments at either station.

In fact, rail riders should not expect to see any major physical changes this year even though Quantico as a station is growing in use.

“In terms of tangible real dollars on the table right now, there aren’t any,” said Roeber.

Developing more and more efficient rail options through eastern Prince William is something Torian said he is championing as well “because we don’t have the land to keep building roads.

“Rail is very vital,” he added, further mentioning that, at some point, “we’re going to have to give strong consideration to Metro as well” expanding south into eastern Prince William too.

U.S. Reps. Gerry Connolly (D-11th) and Jim Moran (D-08th) announced in March that they submitted a bill to the House of Representatives to study such an expansion of the blue and yellow lines, alone with a westward extension of the orange line to Centreville.

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