Besides costing hundreds of millions of dollars, the Outer Beltway would do nothing to solve our current traffic problems. Instead, it would open new land to sprawling development, adding yet more traffic to existing commuter routes.
Moreover, the proposed Outer Beltway would run through historic land on the western boundary of Manassas National Battlefield, destroying this hallowed landscape, even as our nation honors the 150th Anniversary of the Civil War.
What is the Outer Beltway?
- 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.
- March 6, 2013 - Washington Post - Deal is near to shift traffic out of Manassas battlefield park
- December 28, 2012 - Washington Post - Plans for Loudoun-Prince William highway move forward; crossing to Md. under discussion
- December 28, 2012 - Washington Post - A step toward the Outer Beltway?
- December 19, 2012 - Transportation Nation - Northern Virginia Planning Big ‘Outer Beltway’ Road Expansion (Part I and Part II)
- September 3, 2012 - CHARGE! - Manassas battlefield threatened by highway construction
- August 31, 2012 - Washington Examiner - Road planned near Manassas park provokes new battle
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 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. TOP
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