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Stafford County residents oppose parkway plan

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Count another group of area residents among those opposed to a part of the Rappahannock River Crossing project.

This time, though, they aren’t from Spotsylvania County.

This group is from Stafford County, and they don’t want the Berea Parkway built.

“It’s a totally crazy plan,” said Harold Larson, who lives in the Crestwood neighborhood off of U.S. 17 in Stafford, one of two rural subdivisions that could be impacted by the parkway if it is built.

He and other residents from those neighborhoods plan to attend Monday’s Fredericksburg Area Metropolitan Planning Organization meeting. The planning organization has an agenda item seeking to approve moving forward with the Rappahannock River Crossing, a massive, multilayered project. The Berea Parkway is considered to be a companion project to the Rappahannock River Crossing.

The parkway, which came to life in 2004 after area transportation planners ditched the Outer Connector, has $400,000 for preliminary planning and studies.

FAMPO has endorsed the parkway, which also was included in the Virginia Department of Transportation’s December endorsement of projects that could help fix congestion problems along the area’s Interstate 95 corridor. The crossing project and the Outer Connector also were endorsed by the VDOT report.

The parkway does not have a specific designated route, but preliminary designs have it running from Centreport Parkway to U.S. 17.

Larson and other residents are worried that the parkway will run between the Willows and Crestwood subdivisions.

Larson, a retired Prince William County high school teacher, said residents also are concerned about potential environmental impacts.

The parkway’s path, he said, “follows the Potomac Creek watershed, which feeds Abel Lake.”

Lloyd Robinson, FAMPO’s director, said the parkway’s route is only “a line on a map” and very likely could change.

The parkway could connect to the Outer Connector, if it is built. The Outer Connector would run from U.S. 17, cross the Rappahannock River and tie into State Route 3 in Spotsylvania.

The Rappahannock River Crossing calls for collector–distributor roads and bridges along I–95 from U.S. 17 in Stafford to Route 3 in Fredericksburg. The plans also call for U.S. 17 and Route 3 interchange improvements, including the addition of flyovers to ease traffic backups.

That project includes the Rappahannock Parkway and a new exit at the Virginia Welcome Center north of the Route 3 interchange. The exit would connect to the parkway, which would run west through Celebrate Virginia and then between the Rappahannock River and Route 3 before tying into the highway at Gordon Road in Spotsylvania.

The entire river crossing project had been approved more than two years ago. But the exit and parkway were shelved after Spotsylvania representatives opposed it.

For nearly two years, FAMPO’s policy board has been mired in battles over the issue.

Now that parkway is back in the mix, too.

A contingent of River Road residents who oppose the parkway also are expected to attend Monday’s FAMPO meeting.

Scott Shenk: 540/374-5436


What: Fredericksburg Area Metropolitan Planning Organization meeting

When: 7:15 p.m. Monday

Where: 406 Princess Anne St.