Over the river, but where exactly? FAMPO will cross that bridge when they get to it.

by | Mar 21, 2024 | ALLFFP, Fredericksburg, News, Stafford, Traffic

The Fredericksburg Metropolitan Planning Organization held a drop-in style open house Wednesday night at the VDOT District Auditorium for residents to see and provide input on four options for a Rappahannock River crossing bridge and parkway west of Interstate 95.

FAMPO administrator and director of transportation planning Ian Ollis said more than 70 people attended the meeting.   

“The public provided very useful comments and indicated physical features and a small cemetery which our consultants need to factor into their research,” Ollis wrote in an email to the Fredericksburg Free Press.   

According to FAMPO, the new crossing would provide direct access between Stafford and Fredericksburg and offer a more reliable transportation network with more north/south routes for local traffic, emergency responders, transit, and bicycle/pedestrian users, while reducing everyday reliance on trips accessing the I-95 corridor.  

Consultants from Michael Baker International, an engineering and consulting firm hired by FAMPO, were on hand to discuss the options and answer questions about corridors, traffic and environmental data.  

The potential environmental impact of the river crossing remains a top concern for Bryan Hofmann, deputy director of the nonprofit Friends of the Rappahannock.  

“We’re obviously concerned about making sure that all of the appropriate environmental concerns are looked at, assessed, properly reviewed in the NEPA process,” he said. “But this is all before that, right? There’s the conservation easement land along the river that FOR has a long history of supporting and protecting… as with any large development project, we’re going to review the information and see if we need to engage. I (previously) lived in Fredericksburg for seven years and I know the traffic is abysmal and the residents deserve a solution.”  

Kim Jacoby lives in Celebrate, a 55+ residential community. She studied the proposed options up close Wednesday—one of which would directly impact her neighborhood. The potential for increased traffic through the community was her primary apprehension.   

“The original parkway through Celebrate was built to handle 45-mile-per-hour traffic at a much lower volume. With a couple of these options, it’s going to be a lot higher than 45 mph plus with more traffic and a lot of local tractor-trailers,” Jacoby said.   

She said she spoke with one of the MBI consultants and asked if they had looked at the data and if they were considering rebuilding the Celebrate Parkway. “Seems to me there will be a high likelihood… in the Celebrate community alone, there are five entrances. How are people going to get across the road?”  

Jacoby says she understands that the study will continue to look at how the routes, all four of which originate near Route 17 in Stafford County to the north, will impact residents and businesses. Traffic, costs and property values will determine what route she ultimately supports.   

For those who were unable to attend, FAMPO has included all the information in a presentation on its website. A survey is also online for public input.

“We look forward to receiving additional input via our online survey which can be found on FAMPO’s public involvement page,” Ollis added.    

The FAMPO Policy Committee adopted the full River Crossing Research Report in June. A second public meeting is planned for the fall to present research results on the various roadway and bridge options being studied. 

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