Thursday, May 2, 2013

Tri-County Parkway to Destroy the Rural Crescent

From VDOT final report 2013
When the Deputy Secretary of Transportation, David Tyeryar, presented the scope of the planned crescent shaped North South Corridor, limited access cargo and truck highway, (the Tri-County Parkway) he glossed over a few key essential points. The Deputy Secretary pointed out the highway corridor is approximately 45 miles in length, and is essentially a more direct route for cargo and truck traffic connecting I-95 to Dulles Airport and Route 7. What he forgot to mention is that the North South Corridor portion alone will cost over $1,000,000,000, run through Prince William County’s Rural Crescent potentially damaging our watershed and impacting our groundwater resources, eliminates one of three corridors in our green infrastructure and once the segment of the Tri-County Parkway between I-66 and VA 234 is complete, U.S. 29 and VA 234 through the Park are planned to be closed.
red is 6 lands and blue 4 lanes

As Supervisor Candland (whose Gainesville District will be bisected by the six lane highway) pointed out this plan is troubling on many levels. Supervisor Candland has concerns about the effect of the planned Tri-County Parkway and greater crescent shaped roadway will have on commuters, the environment and our community, but the Tri-County roadway was approved by the Prince William County Board of Supervisors two years ago. So, on the county level, it has been approved. Supervisor Candland was not in office at the time, but the Gainesville Supervisor at the time (John Stirrup) was one of two votes against the plan.

Last Monday, April 29, 2013, Delegate Tim Hugo (R-40th), along with State Senators Dick Black (R-13th), Richard Stuart (R-28th), Jill Vogel (R-27th), and Delegates Bob Marshall (R-13th) and Michael Webert (R-18th), have all come out against the planned Bi-County Parkway (the North-South Corridor). Delegate Hugo will be attending a community meeting tonight at Bull Run Middle School at 7 pm in the cafeteria. The meeting was organized by "Say No to the Tri-County Parkway." There is still an opportunity to impact the VDOT plans through our state legislature and also through allocation of Federal Transportation funds so also contact Congressman Frank Wolf, Senator Tim Kaine, and Senator Mark Warner with your concerns. You can go to the Piedmont Environmental Council action center to help you express your concerns to our elected officials.

As Delegate Hugo stated “this road will destroy the Rural Crescent, land that the Prince William Board of County Supervisors has pledged to protect.” This project threatens our water resources and green infrastructure. The Rural Crescent is located within the northeast quadrant and eastern quadrant of the Culpeper groundwater basin and consists of an interbedded sequence of sedimentary and basaltic that is highly fractured and overlain by a thin cover of overburden. Groundwater is typically protected against contamination from the surface by the soils and rock layers covering the aquifer, but there is inadequate overburden in much of the Rural Crescent. Once contaminated, groundwater is very difficult to clean and there is limited if any natural attenuation in this type of geology and the aquifer could be polluted beyond our ability to remediate.

Why the Rural Crescent was formed is less important than understanding that the Rural Crescent provides a significant portion of our green infrastructure to our community. Green infrastructure connects the still intact habitat areas through a network of corridors that provide for wildlife movement and trails as well as pathways for pollinators. Maintaining intact, connected natural landscapes is essential for basic ecosystem and watershed preservation to ensure that there will always be clean air and water in Northern Virginia.

In building out the county and highway system Fairfax County overdeveloped eliminating much of the county’s green corridors and is now dependent to a large extent on the regional green infrastructure from neighboring Loudoun and Prince William Counties. These green corridors maintain a tree canopy and control runoff to prevent stream bank erosion and water quality impairments and maintain adequate water flows through groundwater and surface recharge. These green corridors are vital to ensuring safe water supplies, water recreation and the ecological integrity of the region.

The Northern Virginia Regional Commission (NVRC) has developed a Conservation Corridor Planning Project which is a regional effort to identify essential green infrastructure and help area governments to avoid the mistakes of the past and maintain the few remaining green corridors along the rivers and reservoirs in Fairfax and integrate green infrastructure planning into the future development planning of Prince William and Loudoun counties.

This roadway cuts through and destroys one of three priority conservation areas for the region. The conservation area begins at the Bull Run Mountains and heads east across Route 15 to Manassas covering the land between Route 50 and 29 to the confluence of the Occoquan River with Belmont Bay. This corridor is rich in water and environmental resources that ultimately deliver drinking water to over one million Northern Virginia residents. The Occoquan Reservoir, one of the country’s first water reclamation facilities where sewage treatment water is returned to provide water recreation. The western portion of the area is part of the Culpeper Basin Important Birding Area and the Culpeper Basin Groundwater Aquifer. Preventing water contamination and ensuring adequate groundwater recharge are vital to ensuring safe water supplies, recreation opportunities and the ecological integrity of the region.

Read more about happenings with the Parkway If you want to protect Prince William County, go to Say No to the Tri-County Parkway's  meeting speak to Delegate Hugo and write to Congressman Frank Wolf, Senator Tim Kaine, and Senator Mark Warner.

1 comment:

  1. Where might I learn more about the overburden and the effect of urbanization on groundwater? Thanks!