Fairfax City officials have proposed a $10 million bond referendum to fund major road projects designed to improve several of the community's overburdened roads.
The referendum, which first needs approval by council members, would be the largest single bond issue ever offered to Fairfax City voters. The proposal is tentatively scheduled to be on the ballot in the November general election.
The City Council has scheduled public hearings for June 3 and June 17 before the list of road projects and the bond's value are made final. Final action is scheduled for the council's June 24 meeting.
"We'll allow the citizens to make the decision on the extent and nature of the road improvements," said council member Robert F. Lederer Jr., who last month introduced the road bond plan.
City officials said the proposed road improvements could end the city's long-simmering dispute with some Fairfax County politicians who want the area's roads, especially Rte. 123 (Chain Bridge Road), widened to accommodate the heavy flow of traffic through the city.
However, Fairfax City Mayor George T. Snyder Jr. said the proposed road projects were not prompted by the county's complaints. "We're providing city residents with the ability to traverse through the city," he said in a telephone interview.
The county plans to move its government headquarters, now in the Massey Building on Rte. 123 in downtown Fairfax City, to the Fair Oaks area outside the city's western boundary, in part to give county employes easier access to their offices.
The proposed road improvement program includes:
*Widening Rte. 123 to four lanes from Judicial Drive to University Drive on the city's southern edge, and building new curbs, gutters and sidewalks on both sides of the road. Estimated cost: $3.5 million.
*Adding a third left-turn lane to Rte. 123 between Kenmore Drive and Lee Highway (Rte. 50) with curbs, gutters and sidewalks on both sides of the road. Estimated cost: $1.5 million.
*Widening two-lane Roberts Road to 36 feet between Rte. 236 and the southern boundary line and building new curbs, gutters and sidewalks on both sides of the street. Cost unknown.
*Installing traffic sound barriers between the Mosby Woods subdivision off Rte. 50 and I-66. Estimated cost: $1.3 million.
*Realigning Kenmore Drive with Layton Hall Drive. Estimated cost: $1.4 million.
Lederer said the city needs the proposed road improvements "immediately. Our roads can't wait 10 or 15 years for a solution."
Under the proposal, Rust Curve, a controversial two-lane bend in Rte. 123 that has been labeled a major source of traffic congestion, would not be widened to four lanes as county officials have requested.
Fairfax City residents have hotly protested previous attempts to widen the entire two-mile stretch of Rte. 123, the city's only straight north-south artery.
Some city residents have said widening the curve would destroy the area's residential character.
"We have to come up with a bond package we think will be supported by all the citizens," said Lederer. "If widening the entire length of Rte. 123, north and south, was part of the bond, I think it would fail."
Edward J. Cawley, the city's finance director, said the jurisdiction's largest bond issue to date was a 1976 $6 million water-bond referendum that funded improvements to the city's water system.