The Outer Beltway is a proposed highway encircling the outer suburbs of Washington, D.C. Various components return to the forefront every few years. Back in 2013-2014, there was a big push for the BiCounty Parkway in Virginia, but the project was stopped due to concern over the impact to Manassas National Battlefield, the Prince William Rural Crescent, the Loudoun County Transition Area and neighborhoods in Loudoun. CSG and partners also offered a set of more effective alternatives. This project remains on the Northern Virginia Transportation Authority Transaction Plan.
- Read The Problem with the Outer Beltway, a great summary white paper co-authored with our partners the Piedmont Environmental Council
- Read Connecting the Dots – A Recent History of the Outer Beltway
The Outer Beltway is being advanced in various component bits and pieces in Loudoun and Prince William Counties. In different places, it’s been called the Tri-County Parkway, the Bi-County Parkway, the North-South Corridor of Statewide Significance, the Battlefield Bypass, and Northstar Boulevard.
Bisecting Manassas Battlefield and Spurring Sprawl
The Virginia sections of the highway currently under consideration make up a north-south corridor from just east of Leesburg, skirting Manassas National Battlefield, to Woodbridge or other points south. Besides impacting Manassas National Battlefield, the proposed route opens over 100,000 acres of the Rural Crescent in Prince William and Transition Area in Loudoun to costly sprawl-style development, which would hurt the environment and put additional stress on already overburdened east-west roads like I-66 and Route 50 as commuters travel to jobs.
- Read Comparative Traffic Volumes: North-South vs. East-West near the Tri-County Parkway
Dulles Airport and Freight Needs
VDOT’s main public rationale for the Outer Beltway is a purported need for expanded cargo shipping capabilities around Dulles Airport. But cargo shipped at Dulles today is just .1% by volume and .2% by value of all freight shipping in Northern Virginia.
The Outer Beltway doesn’t add up for many reasons. Here are just a few:
- Doesn’t address congestion. The north-south route doesn’t address our overwhelmingly east-west traffic needs in Loudoun and western Prince William.
- Opens the door to more sprawl, noise pollution, and air pollution. If built, the Outer Beltway would open over 100,000 acres of the Rural Crescent in Prince William and Transition Area in Loudoun to accelerated, costly sprawl-style development.
- Costs too much. The Outer Beltway would cost at least $1 billion, according to VDOT’s own estimates. That figure is before newly proposed associated connector roads to the west side of Dulles Airport, which could cost another $500 million or more.
Outer Beltway In the News
- June 19, 2014 – Washington Post – Report: McAuliffe tilts toward Bi-County Parkway project
- June 18, 2014 – Leesburg Today – Governor Sees Green Light For Bi-County Parkway
- April 24, 2014 – Leesburg Today – McAuliffe: ‘I have no say’ on future of Bi-County Parkway
- August 6, 2013 – WAMU – VDOT Faces Tough Sell For Bi-County Parkway (Again)
- August 4, 2013 – Washington Post – Can local slaughterhouse survive proposal to shut road through Manassas battlefield?
- August 4, 2013 – Washington Post – Pr. William supervisors to hear from Connaughton about Bi-County Parkway
- August 2, 2013 – Washington Post – Options other than Bi-County Parkway
- July 29, 2013 – Washington Post – Foes of Bi-County Parkway in Pr. William and Loudoun unite in grass-roots campaign
- July 29, 2013 – Leesburg Today – Letter: Mitch Diamond, Unison
- July 28, 2013 – Potomac Local – Alborn: Connaughton Should Resign
- July 25, 2013 – Inside NoVA – Supervisors hear from Bi-County Parkway foes
- July 24, 2013 – Greater Greater Washington – Bi-County Parkway sprawl would enrich key boosters
- July 24, 2013 – Loudoun Times – Leesburg Town Council stands firm, opposes VDOT North-South Corridor study
- July 21, 2013 – Bacon’s Rebellion – Should Dulles Co-opt NoVa Economic Development?
- July 20, 2013 – Washington Post – Bi-County Parkway in Virginia will add congestion, groups argue
- July 19, 2014 – Washington Post – Virginia can’t create demand at Dulles
- July 18, 2013 – Bacon’s Rebellion – A Mortgage on NoVa’s Future
- July 17, 2013 – Greater Greater Washington – Road advocate says car dependence is an argument for more
- July 17, 2013 – Washington Post – Bi-County Parkway to Dulles is actually a road to nowhere
- July 15, 2013 – Greater Greater Washington – DC repurposes lanes, Virginia adds them
- July 8, 2013 – WAMU – Critics Claim Bi-County Parkway Benefits Developers
- July 3, 2013 – WJLA – Bi-County Parkway Debate; New Rules of the Road; DC Crime Blog
- June 27, 2013 – Washington Post – Loudoun chair Scott York threatens Leesburg town council over Bi-County Parkway vote
- June 26, 2013 – Leesburg Today – Leesburg Council Bristles At Threats Over North-South Corridor
- June 21, 2013 – Leesburg Today – Public Gets First Input On Transportation Bill Projects
- June 20, 2013 – WAMU – NPS: No Bi-County Parkway Unless Rt. 234 Through Manassas Park Is Closed
- June 20, 2013 – Bacon’s Rebellion – Six-Year Improvement Program: a Blueprint for Failure
- June 20, 2013 – Richmond Times-Dispatch – VDOT to increase spending on deficient bridges
- June 19, 2013 – Washington Post – Va. transportation board approves study that includes Bi-County Parkway
- June 18, 2013 – Inside NoVA – Superintendent: Close road around battlefield or no Bi-County Parkway
- June 18, 2013 – Real Loudoun – Nonconstituent Service on the Outer Beltway
- June 18, 2013 – Washington Post – Park Service, Pr. William tie future of Bi-County Parkway to battlefield bypass
- June 16, 2013 – Potomac Local – Residents Losing Faith in VDOT over Bi-County Parkway
- June 15, 2013 – Inside NoVA – Editorial: Echoes of Disney in North-South Corridor fight
- June 13, 2013 – Inside NoVA – Marshall to propose state bill cutting Bi-County Parkway funding
- June 13, 2013 – Potomac Local – Marshall: Bi-County Parkway ‘Cannot Stand on its Own’
- June 11, 2013 – Inside NoVA – Catharpin congregation worries road plan will drive away worshippers
- June 10, 2013 – WTOP – Opposition to Va.’s Bi-County Parkway may change plans
- June 9, 2013 – Inside NoVA – Supervisors nix Bi-County Parkway from road project list
- June 8, 2013 – Washington Post – Virginia highway plans take different directions
- June 6, 2013 – Washington Post – Opponents of Bi-County Parkway cheer Prince William board vote
- June 5, 2013 – The Examiner – Swayed by opponents, Prince William County board delays Outer Beltway decision
- June 5, 2013 – Washington Post – Va. administration’s failure to talk straight about Bi-County Parkway causes backlash
- June 5, 2013 – Bristow Beat – Supervisors Pass Comprehensive Plan without North-South Corridor, Bi-County Parkway
- June 5, 2013 – Potomac Local – Bi-County Parkway Dropped from Prince William’s VDOT Priority List
- May 29, 2001 – Fairfax Times – Congressman Wolf Cancels the Techway
Fighting Against the Outer Beltway
Together with our partners, the Coalition for Smarter Growth has been fighting against the Outer Beltway since our founding in 1997. Through grassroots efforts with our supporters in Virginia and policy work by our staff, we’re on constant watch for new attempts to build this “zombie highway”.
Our actions have included testimony, meetings with officials, critiques of VDOT’s studies, development of an alternative set of transportation solutions, briefing communities in Loudoun, Prince William and Fairfax, and participating in negotiations related to protection of Manassas National Battlefield., in addition to the action alerts sent to our members and of course the Petition!
- Joint letter to the TPB – Comments on Constrained Long Range Plan and TIP Air Quality Conformity Inputs
- Consultant review and critique of VDOT TriCounty Parkway Study – June 2005
- Critique of the Loudoun County Transportation Plan documenting flaws including the overestimation of north-south traffic compared to east-west traffic volumes.
- 2004 VDOT Study Review – New Bridges Would Help Few Commuters
Our proposal, detailed in the report Rethinking the Bi-County Parkway, focuses on fixing east-west routes for commuters, it provides lower impact local road fixes and connections to help local residents, it preserves the Rural Crescent and Transition Area, and could allow for the roads to be closed through the Battlefield (although it’s not clear that would ultimately be necessary, due to the reduced traffic that would result from implementing the alternatives we’ve suggested).
It would meet the goals of the 1988 legislation while rejecting VDOT’s proposed highway. It would improve passenger access to Dulles with the completion of upgrades to Route 28 from I-66 north, improvements to the I-66 corridor, and upgrades to the Route 234/Route 28 connection and Route 28 on the east side of the Cities of Manassas and Manassas Park. The composite set of connections is designed to improve traffic movement throughout the area, benefitting more travelers and trip types than would the single large north-south highway proposal.
Get involved: Sign the Petition
We need your help! Please sign our petition calling on Governor McDonnell and Secretary of Transportation Sean Connaughton to protect Manassas Battlefield and stop this unneeded and fiscally irresponsible highway.
Outer Beltway Maps