Transportation Authority Pinpoints Potential Bridge Location

The Northern Virginia Transportation Authority, which finances hundreds of millions of dollars in construction projects each year, has unveiled its priorities for the next quarter century—including a spot for a new bridge over the Potomac River in Loudoun.

TransAction, a list of projects the authority would like to see get done, is not attached to any funding or political reality. However, projects need to be listed in that long-term plan before they can be added to the authority’s six-year plan, which does include funding. That long-term wish list is now open for public comment.

Before TransAction was released last week, NVTA staff members had already revealed that there would be plans for two new Potomac River bridges in it. Now there are details: One, the Outer Potomac River Crossing, would connect Rt. 28 in Loudoun to I-270 in Maryland. The other, the East Potomac River Crossing, would connect I-95 to US-301 in Maryland.

Todd Pearson, vice chairman of Loudoun’s Economic Development Advisory Commission, said there’s not yet a need to identify a particular location for a new bridge.

“Right now the task is getting political support on both sides of the river to agree a new bridge crossing is absolutely critical for our region,” Pearson said. “Once we have this support our elected officials can identify the best and most beneficial location for a crossing by working with consultants, staff, and their constituents.”

Del. J. Randall Minchew (R-10), who serves on the authority, said the Rt. 28 crossing makes more sense than other spots for a lot of reasons: there are fewer homes in the way, less distance to the Potomac—and it opens up the possibility of a new interstate.

“People don’t know it, but Rt. 28 is already built to Eisenhower interstate standards between Interstate 66 and Rt. 7,” Minchew said. “So if we’re ever looking at the possibility of taking advantage of some federal interstate highway monies, you can only get interstate highway monies for construction if you connect two parts of the interstate system.”

The proposed bridge would create a connection along Rt. 28 from I-66 in Virginia to I-270 in Maryland.

While Virginia’s elected leaders have been supportive of a new crossing; Maryland’s elected leaders have been near unanimous in their opposition. The Loudoun Board of Supervisors recently passed a resolution reaffirming its support for a new crossing between Leesburg and the American Legion Bridge, which would encompass a Rt. 28 crossing.

Minchew said a new Potomac River crossing is the most important thing the region can do for congestion relief—including taking pressure off of Rt. 15—and would be a boon to the economy.

“Virginians will be able to have jobs in the wonderful biotechnology jobs up in Maryland. Marylanders can be part of our great information technology job base here in Virginia,” Minchew said. “Guys like you and me can actually go to BWI (Baltimore/Washington Thurgood Marshall Airport) to grab those cheap flights. Marylanders can come down to Dulles to take flights to Paris and Moscow.”

Minchew said he’s heard Virginia Secretary of Transportation Aubrey Layne has had “productive” back-channel discussions with his counterparts in Maryland.

In total, TransAction lays out more than 300 projects across Northern Virginia. In Loudoun, many road widenings made the list, including the Leesburg Bypass, East Market Street, and Loudoun County Parkway. It also proposes more pedestrian and bike trails, a grade-separated interchange at the Leesburg Bypass and Battlefield Parkway, more east-west connectors, and a new link between Battlefield Parkway and Crosstrail Boulevard.

The full, 191-page draft is available for public comment at thenovaauthority.org. The authority’s first six-year funding plan, which will attach dollar figures to that wish list, will come out after TransAction is finalized.

This article was updated June 16, 2017 at 2:08 p.m. to correct an error about Todd Pearson’s title.

rgreene@loudounnow.com
@RenssGreene

4 thoughts on “Transportation Authority Pinpoints Potential Bridge Location

  • 2017-07-04 at 7:20 pm
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    Re the BoS 9-0 vote supporting a study of prospective Potomac River bridge crossing sites:
    What a loaded exercise! No public input! Zero, zilch I mean none. One might suspect this was coordinated behind closed doors (collusion)?
    Randy Minchew’s first love seems to be eminent domain. He would pave all Loudoun if it would help business interests and the Chamber of Commerce.
    Why limit the area of survey to east of Goose Creek? Why is Rt 15 beyond consideration? Maryland is prepared to accommodate a crossing there. And why is River Creek Parkway not mentioned? It seems a logical route. The county owns much of the property and the parallel power line easement makes it a perfect choice. I noticed Buona’s motion did not include that road, as I do believe it’s in his district and would tee off his voters. Buona, the one who brought us Metro and the Hounds Baseball Park at One Loudoun! Now there’s two good reasons against providing his views any credibility!
    This meeting of the BoS demonstrates just how parochial county politicians can be. Major undertakings such as a bridge across the Potomac transcend the narrow interests of Loudoun Locals. It is properly a matter for regional , state, and federal officials.

  • 2017-07-06 at 7:50 am
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    Watched video of NVTAuthority presentation and short pre vote discussion…

    http://loudoun.granicus.com/MediaPlayer.php?view_id=69&clip_id=4991

    Stunning lack of current studies and misrepresentation of stance of Montgomery County and State of Maryland.
    VDOT’s recent study underscore which projects will offer real congestion relief.
    http://www.virginiadot.org/PotomacRiverStudy.pdf

    Folks interested in real congestion relief know this boondoggle is not the answer and that its biggest boosters are developers.

  • 2017-07-20 at 2:05 pm
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    These comments from those individuals so obviously compromised by developer interests are laughable:

    “Right now the task is getting political support on both sides of the river to agree a new bridge crossing”
    – Todd Pearson, vice chairman of Loudoun’s Economic Development Advisory Commission

    How long have you lived here, Todd? This boondoggle gets shot down once every few years because RESIDENTS DON’T WANT IT on other side of the river.

    “Virginians will be able to have jobs in the wonderful biotechnology jobs up in Maryland. Marylanders can be part of our great information technology job base here in Virginia”
    – Del. J. Randall Minchew (R-10)

    Randy, folks with biotech jobs in Maryland LIVE IN MD. Those with IT jobs in Virginia, LIVE IN VA.
    Your logic is nutty. If I procure a great job in Frederick, MD and I currently live in Fairfax. I don’t gripe about the 90-minute commute. I move! The tax-paying residents between the two locations should not be subject to decades of more congestion and sprawl for my convenience.

    My guess is, Mr. Minchew, that your campaign coffers are highly dependent on those that would benefit financially from the construction of this waste of our money.

    Know this: Elected officials who oppose the broad sentiment of their constituency get bounced quickly. There is NOT broad support of this project anywhere in the districts along it’s potential path or surrounding area. To imply otherwise is an outright lie.

    You can review this article for the next list of future election casualties. All Supervisors supporting this wacky idea are short for office. We don’t forget this issue at the ballot box.

  • 2017-10-20 at 8:49 pm
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    My remarks are short, I don’t want to displace any homeowners on 28, this is a must. Secondly, the planners need research resilient cities material to see the new approach to congestion relief. I have a plan that provides solutions without a span across the Potomac but an entrance for a roadway connecting to a new Chain Bridge.Thirdly, we should think replacing Chain Bridge widen Macarthur Blvd with a direct connection to Whitehurst with an overhead local and through. The top priority in crossing the Potomac to Maryland that cries for improvement and my OARS System to relieve the inhuman daily commute. Think of the public need as the first priority.

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