The meeting had not even officially started on Thursday night, but dozens of area residents crowded into the cafeteria of an Ashburn area elementary school seeking answers.
They had come to get more information about a connector road that might be built on the western side of Washington Dulles International Airport between Route 50 and Route 606, also known as Old Ox Road. This “open house'” sponsored by the Virginia Department of Transportation was designed to offer information and to solicit comments and take people’s questions. More than a dozen VDOT representatives were on hand to field queries from residents. Some were curious, some anxious, and some saw no need for the roadway. Information about the proposed highway was explained via a series of 22 easels, which laid out possible routes and alternatives for the roadway.
VDOT officials are trying to make the case that a limited-access highway between Route 50 and Route 606 would improve western access to Dulles airport, but many residents at the hearing weren’t convinced. VDOT officials think the roadway would offer easier access for passengers and cargo traffic headed to Dulles, including those who will ride Metro’s Silver Line, which will be built at the airport.
Todd and Denise Chavers, who have lived in Chantilly for seven years, said they were curious about this project and proposals to build other roads in Loudoun and in neighboring Prince William County. They said they love living in the county and believe Loudoun officials have done a great job of developing neighborhoods but that the county’s road network could be improved.
“We’re missing so many pieces,” Todd Chavers said. “Off peak, the roads are okay, but during peak hours, they’re jammed.”
But after viewing the white boards explaining the connector road, they weren’t certain whether the state and counties should spend money on this particular project. Instead, Denise Chavers said, officials need to focus on existing roads and spots with traffic bottlenecks, such as on Route 28.
Bonnie Mattingly, who lives in western Loudoun, agreed. She said access to the airport is not the main road issue for the county. The issue is traffic jams that make it difficult to move from west to east.
“It doesn’t make sense to put a new road on the western side” of Dulles, she said. “We should improve 66 and 28.”
Roadways in Loudoun and Prince William counties have been the subject of great debate — most of it focused on plans to build the Bi-County Parkway, a north-south roadway that would run between the two counties. The roadway appeared to be a done deal last fall, but since then, new opposition to the project has surfaced.
Comments about the project can be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org or sent to Tom Fahrney, 4975 Alliance Drive, Fairfax, Va., 22030 by June 28.