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VDOT reevaluating Dahlgren Rd. project

 

At last week’s meeting of the King George Board of Supervisors on Sept. 4, Travis Quesenberry, county administrator, said he had heard from VDOT officials relating that they are “evaluating several options” for the Owens intersection on Dahlgren Road. 

PROPOSED VDOT PROJECT

VDOT has proposed a $4.1 million project to widen a portion of Dahlgren Road (Route 206) at the intersections with Owens Drive (Route 624) and Windsor Drive (Route 218). 

The project calls for acquisition of land from at least 30 property owners, taking some large and small swaths of land from businesses and residences, many to within three-feet of their front doors. VDOT documents indicate that 80 percent of the $4.1 million project budget is coming from federal funding and 20 percent from the state. 

The project is in the midst of its acquisition of right-of-way phase, with VDOT thinking until last spring that it was done with the engineering of the project. 

But this past spring, Supervisors started hearing complaints from residents about the large chucks of property VDOT wanted to acquire for road widening to add turn lanes. That’s when Supervisors got involved and wrote the first of four letters (so far) to VDOT.

CORRECTION

We erroneously stated in an Aug. 29 article that commuters using Dahlgren Road as a short cut can shave off as much as 10-minutes for motorists traveling from Dahlgren to Route 3 and beyond. That anecdotal statement is incorrect. 

VDOT has documented only as much as a one-minute difference in the time it takes for commuters to either drive Dahlgren Road from US 301, OR driving via US 301 to Route 205 to Route 3.

LATEST

Quesenberry said that David Brown, Northern Neck Residency Administrator, would be at the next board meeting on Sept. 18 to report on several items. Supervisor Ruby Brabo said she wants him to provide an answer to her question about VDOT’s design goal for the project.

Supervisors have already been told by VDOT’s Kevin Northridge and Michelle Shropshire that the goal is to keep traffic fast enough for commuters, saying that traffic is already going faster than the current 40 mph speed limit for the intersection, so improvements need to be made to allow a faster speed. The purpose of adding the turn lanes is to keep turning traffic out of the way of commuter through-traffic.

But as pointed out by Brabo early and often, that plan does not address the problem of the increasing number of ‘angular’ accidents documented by crashes involving turning vehicles. 

Brabo contends, and other supervisors agree, that increasing the width that turning vehicles have to travel when they find a break in the oncoming traffic is likely to increase those accidents. 

VDOT’S PLAN

The ultimate goal is to four-lane the entire length of the road one way or another. A 2002 report by VDOT indicates one of three long-term options for the road as follows:  

~ Reconstruct Route 206 as an improved two-lane facility with turn lanes on a four-lane right-of-way;

~ Reconstruct Route 206 as a four-lane divided highway; or

~ Construct a limited access highway on a new alignment.

But funding scenarios for any of those options are believed to be pipe-dreams given VDOT’s continued and current funding constraints and new priorities for road funding as set by recent legislation by the General Assembly. 

In fact, it remains unclear whether the project is completely funded. A couple of years ago it was said that the project was funded at that time through the acquisition of right of way. It’s unclear whether the project has received additional federal and state funding to go forward with construction. 

 

Phyllis Cook

 

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