Everyone agrees that the rustic one-lane bridge that runs across Pimmit Run on Old Chesterbrook Road in McLean is falling down, but they can't agree on how to build it back up.
The Virginia Highway Department, whose responsibility is to repair the bridge, proposes building a two-lane bridge without a pedestrian walkway.
The residents of the surrounding upper middle-class community want the bridge that is falling down on the two-lane road replaced by a one-lane bridge with a pedestrian walkway. They say a two-lane bridge will increase traffic and create a safety hazard for pedestrians.
"We don't build one-lane bridges anymore," said Donald E. Keith, the highway department resident engineer for Northern Virginia.
Keith said he has recommended the two-lane bridge replacement to the state highway commissioners despite opposition by the residents of the community. He says the bridge needs to be replaced and two lanes is the most efficient.
Six hundred McLean residents have signed a petition objecting to the highway department's plans.
The residents, in their petition, say a two-lane bridge will increase speed and traffic, cause "violence to the enviroment," and create "a safety hazard for children." Some students walk across the bridge enroute to McLean High School.
"This is really a serious matter," said Judith T. Palacios, vice president of the newly formed Old Chesterbrook Road Village Citizens Association.
The association, which was created as a result of the citizen opposition to the two-lane bridge, has been making its objections known to various highway, state and local officials since last February.
Richard Lee, the association president, said more than 100 citizens protested the highway department's plans at a public hearing in June. He said he doesn't understand why the highway department refuses to go along with what the taxpayers want.
"We are left somewhat puzzled that we remain unheard in this Commonwealth which has been pledged for over two centuries to support active local participlation in government," Lee wrote in a two-page letter to John E. Harwood, commissioner of the state highway department.