Active Prince William board member Mark Scheufler sent the following comparison of Route 28 corridor alternatives to the Prince William Board of County Supervisors on November 30, 2020.
Dear Prince William Board of County Supervisors:
In advance of the December 7th virtual public meeting on Route 28, it is timely to correct misinformation about the alternatives to Alignment 2B. The costs of Alternative 4 (Widening Route 28) were overstated by calculating the impacts/costs of widening Route 28 between Blooms Quarry Lane and Liberia Ave that is already six lanes.
Realistic cost estimates are needed not only by the supervisors in Prince William and Fairfax counties, but also by the US Army Corps of Engineers and the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality. Those two agencies may determine that cost differences between Alignment 2B and other alternatives are not sufficient to justify the greater environmental damage.
As the Meeting Minutes at the January 16, 2020 Project Update and Alternatives Development Technical Memo Review state (on pages 2 and 3):
“Stuart ended with a presentation of the cost summary for the alternatives, which showed that Alternative 4 would be almost $100 million more than Alternatives 2A and 2B. MacKenzie indicated that cost would not be a factor that the Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) would consider in their evaluation. Rick responded that he understood, but emphasized the need to consider purpose and need in the comparison of the alternatives.
Subsequent to the meeting, Hannah Schul, DEQ, clarified that DEQ makes permitting decisions based on the Least Environmentally Damaging Practicable Alternative (LEDPA). Per the Clean Water Act, a permit cannot be issued if a practicable alternative exists that would have less adverse impacts on the aquatic ecosystem. The LEDPA does take cost into consideration, but an alternative would only be potentially eliminated if costs are clearly exorbitant compared to similar alternatives.”
The analysis summarized in the table below [the complete ROW analysis is here] shows the cost of alternatives along or near existing Route 28 are not exorbitant compared to Alternative 2B. Alternative 4 includes $37M in ROW impacts along a 1.1-mile section of Route 28 that is already six lanes and should require minimal improvement and no ROW impacts (Blooms Quarry Lane to Liberia Ave). An additional $54M* in Alternative 4 ROW impacts could be mitigated by increasing the Utility Relocation Costs ($10M). These modifications would bring the Alternative 4 cost estimate below Alternative 2B. But implementing the Route 28 STARS recommendation and the Well St Extended recommendation is the best alternative for the Route 28 corridor to meet transit, revitalization, and climate goals and is the cheapest alternative. The Well St Extended recommendation was not included in the original set of alternatives because transit, revitalization and climate were not considered part of the project purpose and need.
Alternative 2B is not the Least Environmentally Damaging Practicable Alternative (LEDPA) and may not receive permits to move forward. Creating a regional park along this alignment is the best use of the land in the flood plan.
*8300 CENTREVILLE RD, 8130 OAK ST, 7901 CENTREVILLE RD
If you need any clarification, please let me know.