North-South Corridor through Manassas a potential new 45 mile tollroad in northern Virginia
2012/12/17: Virginia planners have added a new 'North-South Corridor" to their master planning for northern Virginia. An area of strong economic growth and lacking any quality north-south highway within many miles on either side it looks like a natural for toll financing. The route extends some 45 miles, 72km from I-95 near Dumfries to I-66 near Manassas then skirting west of Washington Dulles International Airport it would cross the Dulles Greenway ending just beyond VA7 Leesburg Pike in Ashburn.
The NS corridor runs about 30 miles, 50km distant from the Mall at the center of Washington DC, and it is about 20 miles, 32km west of the line of the Capital Beltway I-495. It is part of longterm VDOT plan called VTrans 2035.
US15 runs about 4 miles, 7km to its west at the closest point.
Study begun quietly in May
A NS Corridor Master Plan Study was quietly initiated in May this year by Virginia DOT's Office of Intermodal Planning and Investment and the route placed on the state's official long-range plan as a Corridor of Statewide Significance (CoSS) by a state policymaking Transportation Board. The map has just been provided in recent days at the beginning of public outreach and planning process for alternatives to be considered and a detailed route chosen and permitted.
A presentation to the Board said that "improved north-south connectivity is critical to regional mobility in northern Virginia" and that there was a "focus on connectivity between the I-95 corridor and the economic engine that is Dulles International Airport."
Middle section already planned
A middle segment of about 11 miles, 17km between I-66 at Manassas and US50 has already been planned as a Tri-County Parkway and the NS Corridor builds on that south of I-66 and north of US50.
North of US50 to the Dulles Greenway and VA7 in Ashburn would be a new route about 10 miles, 16km long. The VDOT materials say it follows roughly Northstar Boulevard through Brambleton several miles west of the western fringe of Dulles International Airport and Belmont Ridge Road VA659. It would be parallel with but east of Goose Creek in Loudoun County. VA659 is already an interchange on the Dulles Greenway - about 4.5 miles from its US15 end at Leesburg.
South of I-66 at Manassas, or more precisely Gainesville ,would alternate east and west of but generally follow the line of VA619 and then VA234 for about 22 miles, 35km southeasterly. The route would skirt the western edge of Manassas Regional Airport on the southwest edge of Manassas and keep just north of the Prince William Forest Park and Quantico Marine Base to join I-95 just north of Dumfries.
Linking western Nova to Richmond, Hampton Roads
The proposed NS Corridor route would hugely improve connectivity between western Fairfax and Loudoun counties including Dulles Airport with the state capital Richmond and the Hampton Roads area port of Norfolk and the beaches there via I-64. It would take pressure off the Capital Beltway being a more direct route south.
Its northern arm in the Ashburn area ends on the maps a mile or so short of the upper Potomac River but points intriguingly across into Montgomery County MD to Gaithersburg and the end of the Inter County Connector at I-270. For the moment there is no sign that the Maryland administration of Gov Martin O'Malley is inclined to cooperate. Virginia however is doing its own study of Potomac River crossings separately from Maryland.
Potomac unbridged for 30 miles
There is a huge stretch of the Potomac (almost 30 miles, 50km as the crow files) from the Beltway at the American Legion Bridge to US15 in Point of Rocks without any fixed crossing (just a small car ferry at Leesburg). If the NS Corridor (or VA28) were connected to the ICC/I-370 at I-270 Montgomery County's 900k people would be far better placed to travel south. And the western and northern sections of the Washington DC metro area would be better integrated.
The VDOT planning stresses this as a 'multimodal' corridor. Perhaps they have in mind some kind of rail line as well as a highway. It would certainly be a major trucking route, given its location on the logistics edge of the DC area at Dulles Airport and its connection to Hampton Roads.
Richmond is about 70 miles, 110km south of Dumphries on I-95, and the Hampton Roads area is another 80 miles, 130km southeast on I-64.