Virginia's Route 1 widening project to begin

VIRGINIA (WUSA9) -- Route 1 in Virginia is about as old as they get.

Ft. Belvoir Garrison Commander Col. Gregory Gadson pointed out that Route 1 was originally a Native American path called "The Potomac Path."

The Army paved it in 1918. Since then, not much has changed, except for the traffic.

"You just can't believe the traffic coming up from the South," said Sen. Linda (Toddy) Puller (D-36th District) who requested a study 20 for widening the road 20 years ago.

Congestion has gotten worse due to BRAC that moved 18,000 jobs to Ft. Belvoir, nearly doubling the workers here.

"More people work at Ft. Belvoir than the Pentagon, and it's served by a falling-apart two lane Route 1 segment as its main entrance," said Jeff McKay, Fairfax County Lee District Supervisor.

And, there is Fort Belvoir's new state-of-the-art hospital that can be hard to get to because of the traffic congestion.

But, that is all about to change. Every elected leader who has anything to do with Ft. Belvoir, came out to shovel a little dirt celebrating the start of a project that will widen Route One here from four lanes to six lanes for three and a half miles between Telegraph Road and Mount Vernon Highway.

"This base is the economic development driver for the Southern part of Fairfax County bringing new jobs and activities," said Del. Scott Surovell

They all had one person to thank.

"Nobody did more to make sure the resources were there to address those impacts than Jim Moran," said Rep. Gerry Connolly (D-11th District).

"He found a pot of money and tailored it for this purpose," said Fairfax County Chair Sharon Bulova.

Retiring Congressman Jim Moran helped steer $300 million from the Defense Appropriations Subcommittee for road improvements both on Route 1 and on Wisconsin Avenue in Maryland, next to Walter Reed Medical Center. $180 million is going to Route 1 which will also include added turn lanes and a pedestrian-bicycle path.

The widening project will add a large median down the middle in anticipation of future transit options such as bus rapid transit, light rail or an extension of Metro's Yellow or Blue lines.

The widening project is expected to be finished sometime in 2015.


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