Tri-County Parkway and Manassas Battlefield

The Piedmont Environmental Council (PEC) recently posted information about the proposed Tri-County Parkway.  PEC’s page provides three briefings, including maps, detailing the proposal from the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT).   PEC indicates VDOT is in the final stages of an environmental impact study to support this long running project.  The study is due in June or July of this year.

I’d urge those with a mind toward preservation to browse over there and review the presentations on PEC’s page.

PEC emphasizes the impact of that construction on the Manassas Battlefield.  At the surface level, the parkway would close direct access to the Brawner Farm on the western edge of the National Park boundary.  The park recently renovated that facility to serve as the Second Manassas interpretive center.  Tree clearing in that sector in the last few years opened up viewsheds.

Running a major highway route along the edge of the battlefield would effectively negate that work.  The new highway will need sound barriers and the interchange will eat up a sizable tract of land.  All of which will undo a couple decades of preservation efforts.  And the introduction of another multi-lane course will encourage further development around the battlefield.

From my perspective, as a Northern Virginia commuter, I don’t think the Tri-County Parkway will be worth the effort expended.  The traffic problem in the area is the bottlenecks restricting traffic entering Fairfax County, passing onto the beltway.  It is not cross routes between corridors in Loudoun-Prince William Counties.  I know this from many years of detailed examination of traffic flow (at least ten hours a week! VDOT would do well to secure my consulting services!)

And even if a north-south corridor is needed, placing the route on the west edge of the battlefield is not a good plan from a growth standpoint.  A better idea is connecting to the existing Loudoun County Parkway, further east along US 50 (Mosby Highway), then routing the parkway through the golf courses, quarries, and near the water treatment plant.  (See this VDOT map for the alternative routes.)  Such would offer connections from the congested Virginia Highway 7 (Leesburg Pike) through to Virginia 28 (Centerville Pike).  Much more practical, if indeed there is a pressing need for north-south connectors.

Published by Craig Swain

"Historical marker hunter" and Civil War enthusiast.

5 thoughts on “Tri-County Parkway and Manassas Battlefield

  1. Thanks for the head’s up on this issue. Yet another possible historic preservation victim to congestion and over-population in the metro DC area. Truly disappointing. When will people ever learn? I sincerely hope that VDOT will consider alternatives.

  2. Route D takes the parkway right through an established, well-built residential neighborhood in Catharpin. It will create a traffic problem where none currently exists. It will create a new major (unnecessary) road and tears up Catharpin when, if it HAD to be developed, could be routed up Gum Springs (which would be a more logical route!). The parkway will take the back portion of my lot, which is currently environmentally protected and we cannot build on it. Funny how priorities change when big money and development are put into the picture. Nothing like taking an evironmentally protected area and laying a lot of asphalt over it. Furthermore, how does this alleviate traffic?? It seems the need is more east-west than north-south so far west of Manassas.

    1. As I said a year ago, the problem is not with the traffic IN Manassas, but rather as it enters Fairfax. When you have several multi-lane feeder routes converge into a set of at-grade four-lane roads, you will have traffic problems. The pressure needs to be on VDOT to fix Fairfax, otherwise the traffic problems will continue.

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