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Buckland Bypass, Route 28 work top agenda at joint meeting

Thursday, May. 5 | By James Ivancic
Fauquier and Prince William county officials met recently to talk about traffic and development in their respective counties and how what's happening within their own borders may affect their neighbors.

Attendees heard about a new initiative in Prince William to build a Buckland Bypass to improve traffic flow and the connections to U.S. 29 and Interstate-66.

Prince William will add lanes on Route 28. Fauquier representatives wanted to hear about the effect on what's already a problem road on their side of the border due to increased traffic.

“We take a very rural approach to transportation. We have very limited funding. The focus is on safety issues and bringing roads up to VDOT standards,” said Kimberley Fogle, director of Fauquier County Community Development.

She said U.S. 29 is seeing a large volume of traffic and a flyover ramp was build in Opal to aid southbound traffic flow.

Construction of a new bypass at the interchange of Routes 15/17/29 has been a priority. The state is offering $26 million of the $42 million requested, she said. The larger price tag covers two bridges with a pedestrian and bikeway and a park and ride lot.

Fogle said Fauquier wants to keep Vint Hill Road two lanes. The county wants to protect the nearby Buckland Battlefield and to look at creative approaches to traffic issues at the intersection of Vint Hill and U.S. 29. It ranks as the top problem intersection in VDOT's Culpeper District, she said.

Route 28 in Fauquier is handling more commuter traffic, she said. Expanding it to four lanes, as has been suggested, would impact the Catlett and Calverton communities, Fogle said.

On the Prince William side, work to expand Route 28 to four lanes is moving along in two phases with a widening from Linton Hall Road to Vint Hill Road and a realignment of the latter. The second phase will take four lanes from the realigned Vint Hill Road to Fitzwater Drive in Nokesville.

Expanding Route 28 from four to six lanes is planned for the section between Linton Hall Road and the Route 234 Bypass, said Rene Fry, a Prince William County planning commissioner.

Prince William also plans to pave, not expand, Burwell Road, which passes into Fauquier County. Fauquier is paving its section of Burwell.

Plans for a Buckland Bypass stalled about 10 years ago. Funding has been secured to do a study to create a bypass connecting Routes 15 and 29 “in a way not to impact the battlefield” at Buckland, said Ricardo Canizales, transporation chief in Prince William's Department of Transportation. The study should be done within the next 12 months. Stakeholders with an interest in the project, including Fauquier County, will be part of the process, he said.

Regarding land use issues, Andrew Hopewell, assistant chief of planning for Fauquier, said the county steers development to its service districts where there is infrastructure to support it. Fogle added that 92 percent of growth between the years 2000 and 2010 occurred in the service districts.

A Prince William representative asked for more information about Fauquier's purchase of development rights program and conservation easements.

Prince William County has a rural crescent. Development is being steered to areas such as Innovation Park, a business sector outside Manassas, and transportation hubs near VRE stations.

Adrienne Garreau, Fauquier Planning Commission chairwoman, suggested the joint meeting. Fauquier officials plan to meet with their Prince William counterparts again, as well as with Culpeper officials regarding traffic issues along their shared border.

Fogle said she found last week's gathering at the Warrenton-Fauquier Visitors Center useful.

“We started a dialogue so that we're able to talk about these issues,” she said. It was also a chance for the participants to meet one another.

“I know they had a lot of interest in our rural programs and our interest is in transportation,” she said.

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