Board of Supervisors Meeting Date: 

R. Holder, Trumbo, Jr., Chairman, Scott District Supervisor

October 8, 2009

Staff Lead:


Frederick P.D. Carr, Director

Community Development


A Resolution to Provide Fauquier County’s Comments on the Route 29 Corridor Study Preliminary Recommendations


Topic Description:

Board review, discussion and adoption of a resolution regarding the Route 29 Corridor Study: Preliminary Recommendations. 

Background Information:

Funded through the Virginia Commonwealth Transportation Board and managed through the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT), the Route 29 Corridor Study affects an area that extends from Prince William County to the boundary with North Carolina.  The study’s expressed objective is to identify achievable short, intermediate and long-range improvements that will:

  • Increase safety;
  • Enhance mobility through choice of transportation mode; and
  • Boost economic activity within this corridor.


Programmatic Stages:

This major and multi-year CTB/VDOT effort has three basic stages: 

a.       Stage 1:  Corridor Plan (The Blueprint).  This stage represents where we are currently in the overall project.  The product at this juncture will present common goals and strategies; corridor-wide policies and practices; and specific recommendations for short/mid/long-term improvements;

b.      Stage 2:  Corridor Implementation.  After stage 1 is complete, the next step is envisioned to be a 1-2 year VDOT effort, including each locality in the corridor, to develop a more detailed plan.  That plan stage would include the following specifics: current and future access points; methods of alternate access for properties on the corridor; multi-modal improvements; and integrated land use and transportation plans/networks to reduce corridor congestion and improve safety; and

c.       Stage 3: Projects & Funding.  Here the actual “rubber hits the road” with the identification and development of detailed improvements targeted for funding to enforce compliance with the Corridor Implementation Plan (e.g., revenue sharing funds), as well as new transportation service districts to fund improvements.

VDOT Route 29 Corridor Study (The Blueprint)

The following section summarizes VDOT’s overall phased planning approach and presents the Preliminary Corridor Study recommendations. This County staff assessment starts with VDOT’s general recommendations that affect the entire corridor study area, and then provides comments regarding the VDOT preliminary recommendations contained in the 5-map series that relates specifically to Fauquier County. All maps have been attached for Board reference.  Attached also is a County staff prepared and proposed resolution for Board of Supervisors consideration.  Recommendations are due to VDOT by October 16, 2009.

1.      Broader Corridor Recommendations:  The following corridor-wide recommendations will now serve as the consistent guidelines which will thread through the three referenced plan stages:

a.       Implement cost-effective improvements over the short term to address existing opera­tions and safety needs; ensure that short-term solutions are consistent with mid- and long-term recommendations;

b.      Refine and expand VDOT’s role as steward of the Route 29 transportation system; modify current policies and procedures to ensure that VDOT can adequately preserve the public’s transportation investments in the corridor;

c.       Implement transportation, land use, and access management projects and policies that support Route 29’s role as a corridor of statewide sig­nificance and as a higher-level roadway primarily intended to serve regional and corridor-wide travel needs;

d.       Implement roadway improve­ments to address mid- and long-term safety, operational, and capacity needs;

e.       Develop transportation improvement strategies that seek to address travel demand requirements first through transit, commuter and carpool services, bicycling, and walking, rather than improvements that serve single-occupant motor vehicles;

f.       Enhance capacity and improve reliability of intercity passenger rail service;

g.      Promote transportation-efficient land use patterns, and ensure that the location of various patterns matches existing and future transportation plans;

h.      Promote transportation that enhances quality of life and seeks to preserve the historic, environmental, and visual qualities of the corridor; and

i.        Ensure coordinated planning and implementation of transportation improvements and land use changes throughout the corridor.

Finding:  These general recommendations are consistent with the County’s basic goals and objectives contained in its adopted Comprehensive Plan as well as the associated transportation and Service District Plans.  These are general guidelines and should be supported.

2.      Stage 1:  Preliminary Recommendations for the Route 29 Corridor Study:

The VDOT/Parsons Preliminary Recommendations for the entire Route 29 Corridor are summarized in map form.  Attached are only the five associated maps that extend from the Town of Culpeper to Prince William County; each map includes the general recommendations affecting Fauquier County.  The following highlights only key recommendations in each identified map and provides County staff comments for Board of Supervisors consideration:

a.       Culpeper Map  (Town of Culpeper to Remington): Identifies the Rt. 28/U.S. 15-29 intersection as a grade separated interchange.  Finding:  This recommendation is consistent with the transportation element for the adopted Bealeton-Opal-Remington Service District Plans;

b.      Mid-Fauquier/Warrenton Map (Opal to Warrenton):  This illustrative graphic has marked numbers that represent recommendations contained in the text boxes adjoining the map. Some recommendations are not clear in the detail and will need further explanation for local governments to understand, as well as the far more elaboration on decision-making responsibilities of and funding implications to the Board of Supervisors.

More specifically, the following findings should be noted:

1)      Grade Separated Interchanges:  Findings: (a) the identified intersection locations for the Rt. 17/U.S. 15-29 (Opal) and Business 29/U.S. 15-29 (south of Warrenton) interchanges continue to be consistent with the adopted Opal and Warrenton Service District Plans respectively; (b) the Opal Road (Rt. 687) realignment is not reflected in the adopted transportation element of the Opal Service District Plan.  However, this link may be added in the future as a result of a pending study referenced in 2)b) below;

2)      Parallel Roads: 

a)      Finding:  As marked in the study, the parallel and public service roads are consistent with the Opal Service District Plan.  The County and VDOT have a pending HNTB “Public Service Road Network” project funded for commencement in 2011. The plan objectives are to identify realistic service road alignments and bridge connection(s) linking them on either side of U.S. 15/29 within the Service District; develop phased access management guidelines; establish an effective public outreach that will involve business and property owners; consider realignment of Opal Road to the planned interchange and the extension of Fayettesville Road as part of the public service road network. 

b)      Finding:  The conceptual road network identified for the Bealeton Service District area is not an accurate representation of the transportation element for the adopted Bealeton-Opal-Remington Service District Plans and needs to be updated accordingly.

c.       New Baltimore Map (Warrenton North to New Baltimore):

1)      Distributed Network Development.  This type of proposed network grid can be described generally as a combination of interconnected public streets on either side of Rt. 29; some could have different functional classifications, some of these streets would run parallel to this federal highway, while a limited number would serve as connectors to either side of Rt. 29 via bridges. Findings: This approach is not currently consistent with the adopted New Baltimore Service District Plan which consistently has designated U.S. 15/29 as a “Rural Freeway” in the long-term (limited access; with a series of interchanges). 

The distributed network, however, could be an effective alternative.  If this is the practical option of choice, VDOT must indicate clearly to this County where and how such an alternative will restrict new street connections, eliminate existing entrances and median cross-overs, require specialized service roads and new bridges over U.S. 15/29 and connecting to parallel street networks.  Such an option requires a major financial and disciplined commitment for planning, design, r-o-w acquisition and utilities relocation, and construction along this corridor leg that has not been shown at the private, local, state or federal levels.  Such an alternative will also require a different approach and focus regarding local land use and zoning decisions.  Finally, if the County decides to seriously pursue this alternative, the Comprehensive Plan will also need to be revised.

2)      Controlled Access Roadway without Signals (Uninterrupted).  Findings:  The concerns raised previously for the VDOT/Parsons “Distributed Network Development” recommendation (c.1) apply here.  It seems inconsistent that the same Route 29 “Controlled Access” recommendations do not apply from Warrenton through Prince William County to its connection with I-66.


3)      “Long-Term Planning Corridor”:  Identifies a proposed planning corridor connecting with Route 29 in the vicinity of Route 676 (Riley Road) and extending north of the Village of Buckland and connecting with Rt. 15 as a 4-lane limited access roadway.  

Recommendation:  The alignment needs to be removed from the study’s New Baltimore & Prince William County Maps, since it:

a)      Is not consistent with the adopted Chapter 6 – Districts (transportation element of New Baltimore Service District Plan) and Chapter 8 – Rural Areas Land Use Plan of the overall Fauquier County Comprehensive Plan;

b)      Is contrary to the consistently stated Board of Supervisors “non-support” recommendations during VDOT/Parsons public information meetings, as well as VDOT/Parsons scheduled meetings with the Board;

c)      Presents severe impacts to the “Buckland Races” Civil War battlefield site whose limits and landscape have been verified through the requisite historic and technical studies, is National Register eligible, with easement recordation and other land use instrument activity increasing;

d)     Presents significant impacts to The Journey Through Hallowed Ground National Heritage Area efforts; and

e)      Represents an effort to distract focus from past subsequent development approvals, land use and transportation commitments that continue to remove capacity options along existing Route 15 and Route 29 alignments.

Along the existing alignments for Route 15 and 29, future capacity and safety improvements can be delivered from the Fauquier County line to I-66 in Prince William County.  Such an approach is more appropriate and challenging, with serious attention required for land use, transportation and fiscal incentives to make that approach possible.  Otherwise, with no such discipline and incentives within these corridors, the search for future capacity is forced to consider and focus on the unnecessary consumption of “open land”. Now Fauquier County has that “outside” focus being placed on its highly protected Rural Agriculture (RA) zoned land which has unfortunately been targeted as the long-term relief valve for the latter two corridors.  This “bypass and limited access corridor” Fauquier County strongly opposes for the reasons cited herein.

d.      Prince William County Map (Vicinity of Route 215 to Prince William County): It is recommended that the designated “Long-Term Planning Corridor” be removed from the vicinity of the U.S. 15/29 and Rt. 676 intersection extending to Rt. 15 for the reasons cited in c.3.

e.       Route 28 Corridor Map: The Study recommends several rail and public transit options: (1) Add a second track to the rail line and expand service; (2) Expand VRE service to Culpeper County; and Establish permanent commuter bus service to Northern Virginia along the Route 29.28 Corridor.  Finding:  These are consistent with the Comprehensive Plan and County long-term efforts to provide more public transportation options for its residents.


Requested Action of the Board of Supervisors: 

Consider adoption of the attached resolution.

Financial Impact Analysis:

None is required.


Identify any other Departments, Organizations or Individuals that would be affected by this request:

Department of Community Development
Department of Economic Development




1.       Route 29 Corridor Study Preliminary Recommendations: Culpeper Map

2.       Route 29 Corridor Study Preliminary Recommendations: Mid-Fauquier/Warrenton Map

3.       Route 29 Corridor Study Preliminary Recommendations: New Baltimore Map

4.       Route 29 Corridor Study Preliminary Recommendations: Prince William

5.       Route 29 Corridor Study Preliminary Recommendations: Route 28 Corridor

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