Pentagon Releases $180 Million for Route 1 Widening Improvements
Base realignment has resulted in increased traffic, and local transportation dollars are non-existent.
The Department of Defense released $180 million on Monday to fund the widening of Route 1 in Mount Vernon through Fort Belvoir.
These funds will go to the Federal Highway Administration to start construction on the widening of Route 1, which will accommodate increased traffic at Fort Belvoir due to the Base Realignment and Closure Act of 2005.
The funds were awarded in November, are part of a $300 million appropriation secured by the Maryland and Virginia delegations for BRAC-related transportation improvements across the country.
BRAC and the recent opening of Fort Belvoir Community Hospital are expected to bring more than 11,000 new DoD employees and 574,000 annual hospital patients onto Route 1, according to a statement issued by U.S. Rep. Jim Moran's (D-8th) office.
These funds will be used to widen Route 1 from four to six lanes, from Telegraph Road north to Mount Vernon Memorial Highway. The project will also improve access to Fort Belvoir at Tully Gate and Pence Gate, which serve as the main access points to the new Fort Belvoir Community Hospital and include new bike lanes, pedestrian facilities, drainage and utility improvements.
Reps. Moran and Gerry Connolly (D-11th) helped secure the funds and issued statements Monday.
“Today’s transfer demonstrates the Defense Department’s continued commitment to Ft. Belvoir and the communities impacted by the BRAC relocation,” Moran said. “The new state of the art hospital at Ft. Belvoir will bring an influx of cars onto an already crowded stretch of road. I am pleased to see this critical project moving forward and on schedule.”
"This is one of the final steps to making BRAC work in southern Fairfax County. The funded improvements will greatly enhance access to Fort Belvoir and make it better for local drivers who travel near the Post daily," Connolly said. "It is the result of ongoing collaboration between our members of Congress, local leaders and the Pentagon to mitigate the massive military relocations as a result of BRAC. We can look forward to breaking ground on this project next year."
Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Tim Kaine released a statement on Monday about the release of the funds:
“Infrastructure investments are one of the proven strategies we should immediately employ to strengthen our national economy,” Kaine said. “These targeted investments put people to work right away and deliver an economic asset that serves a region for decades to come. I’m very happy to see the Department of Defense follow through on the $180 million in infrastructure improvements they promised to Route 1 near Fort Belvoir.
"As Fort Belvoir grows, adequate road infrastructure will be critical to maintaining economic activity and a good quality of life in the area," he said. "I commend our congressional delegation for their good work in securing this important financing and pledge to be a voice for infrastructure investment in the U.S. Senate."
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