A top Virginia highway official said yesterday his organization has made its final plans for Interstate 66 and doesn't expect to meet with citizens who are upset over the highway's landscaping and lighting in Fairfax and Arlington counties.
"We have worked closely with the citizens' groups all along," said Oscar Mabry, planning director for the Virginia Department of Highways and Transportation. But he added: "We are under construction now. We don't have the latitude for any more consultations. What's done is done."
Mabry's statements drew bitter criticism from members of a Fairfax County citizens' group monitoring the construction of the final 9.7 miles of the highway between the Capital Beltway and the Theodore Roosevelt Bridge. At an emotionally charged meeting Monday night, the group decided to mount an intensive letter-writing and telephone campaign over what it called the state highway department's "gross arrogance and insensitivity to our concerns."
Members of the group -- who were appointed by the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors -- said that they are troubled by lighting and landscaping plans for I-66, one of the most controversial and fiercely opposed highways in Virginia history.
But Mabry said that the group's attempt to further participate in the I-66 design will be futile. "So far as certain aspects of the roadway, such as lighting and walls -- those decisions have been finalized," Mabry said.
Calling Mabry's attitude "callous," Richard Bloehert, chairman of the Fairfax group, said later that the state's opposition will only intensify his committee's efforts to influence I-66's final form.
Fairfax Supervisor James M. Scott yesterday called Mabry's statement "totally unacceptable," and added that he will see if the county has any political or legal means to block further installation of controversial lights which line the highway's 40-foot-high sound and retaining walls.