Spotsylvania News

Jeff Branscome writes about Spotsylvania County.

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Musings on Rt. 3

I’m here at the Courtland town hall meeting, and State Route 3 is coming up a lot. The meeting is focusing on the proposed toll road, which would connect a proposed interchange with I-95 at the Fredericksburg rest area. This toll road would connect the interchange to Gordon Road.

Transportation engineers say that the toll road could save commuters as much as 15 minutes of time stuck on Rt 3. Residents speaking at the meeting are skeptical about those numbers. They’ve suggested the toll road would save 3 to 7 minutes. And they’re pretty sure drivers aren’t going to pay $1 (the maximum toll the local toll road authority can charge) for those few minutes.

So I’m a bit curious: Would you pay to bypass traffic on Rt. 3 West? How much? And how much time would you have to save before you’d shell out any cash?

And to keep things a little light, I’ll repeat a tweet I wrote after getting off Rt. 3 tonight, on my way to the meeting at Riverbend High School:

Speaking of roads, finish this sentence (but keep it clean, please): Driving on Rt. 3 in rush hour is like…


  • Anonymous

    I was at that meeting.. and I was taken aback by the vitriol and rude behavior by a few who used the meeting to launch personal attacks against Mr. Logan – 15 minutes worth..while the rest of us had to sit there and listen to her CRAP!

    another lady said the county has owed her money for land and that is has been… 30 days… and so she used the meeting to air her complaint and when done was smiling and grinning at her own performance.

    I cannot believe people these days.. 

    they ought to get 3 minutes.. and then get escorted out by a deputy if they can’t behave… but even the respectful ones have made it clear that they do not want the toll road.people are looking at the traffic right now and basically saying.. it’s not that bad.. but the impetus for the toll road is 2035 traffic which is projected to double…. it’s also clear that out of all the subjects on the minds of some folks – that roads are right up there with FEMS… and growth.all in all.. people don’t want higher taxes or tolls for more roads. they are opposed to roads going through people’s property… and they think Silver is behind this road…but they also hate the traffic… hmmmmmno.. I don’t think people will pay a buck and no I don’t think a buck per trip will come close to paying for a 300 million road but the width and depth of the opposition was palpable. FAMPO and Spotsylvania have a long, tough job ahead of them in finding some level of consensus for moving forward on transportation needs… and I don’t envy them.. tonight’s crowd was rude, crude and downright surly .. at Mr. Logan who willingly set up the meeting… we can disagree … but why do we have to be so damn disagreeable and if we continue to grow – something is going to have to happen or else that 15 minutes on Route 3 is going to become 45 minutes…..

  • Anonymous

    The toll road is necessary not only because of the back up on Route 3 but Route 17 as well.  Everyone who travels north on I 95 beyond Wash D. C. will pay tolls in Maryland and northward.
    If the general public has to foot the bill for roads in those states than I think it is only far that we subsidize our roads as well.  However, I think for those who will be required to travel the toll road for work within the state of VA pay a lesser rate than someone who is traveling to Wash, D. C for work. 

  • Jeff Spicoli

    I would pay my last dollar to avoid traffic. Of course I’d rather not, but I hate traffic that much.
    I actually schedule my day around traffic and will avoid it at all costs.

    A politician once told me “…you’re right we do need more roads, but roads don’t pay taxes.”

    I do think that the growth should have been controlled along time ago. Sadly we now have a mess with Rt 3. I always say, “what were they thinking?” To blame and shout at Jerry Logan is wrong. I’m quite certain no one likes it.

  • Anonymous

    the purpose of the MPO – FAMPO – is to look at the region from a transportation perspective and what has happened in my humble opinion is that they have focused on the toll road while dismissing other potential solutions – alternatives if you will – which is what the NEPA is supposed to do – not dismiss alternatives BEFORE NEPA.

    A southbound slip ramp to Harrison Road WOULD take evening Route 3 traffic headed westbound to Salem Church.

    About 1/2 of the evening westbound Route 3 traffic gets off at Salem Church to head south.

    I think what people want to see in a opened minded..comprehensive approach to consider various alternatives.

    15 million is a lot of money and once NEPA is started – people who make comments that other alternatives were dismissed without study are going to find FHWA may actually agree ad require those alternatives .. so why not do it – possibly for the I-95 corridor from Rt 17 Stafford to Rt 17 Massaponax… ?

    If the McDonnell administration is going to possibly be successful at tolling I-95 and their stated reason is to improve the road – then I-95 through Fredericksburg certainly ought to be a priority.

    A advanced – study – in hand… could be “ready” to receive state funds… 

    in short …well.. not so short… we ought to be looking at I-95 and the major primary roads that serve the Rt 17/Rt 3 environs more holistically …  

    full disclosure.. I also serve on the FAMPO citizens TAG.

  • D.j. McGuire


    Well I’m glad to see I’m not the only one who noticed the Salem Church Road bottleneck. Based on your last comment, I am also assuming that the two plans Amy mentioned in her story on this both ignored that bottleneck (if I’m wrong, let me know).

    That had me thinking (dangerous, I know, but . . .), if we’re concerned about future growth in the county, wouldn’t a better alternative more suited to the county be extending Spotsylvania Pkwy to Route 3? It could enable more commuters (present and future) to get off at Massaponax, and folks who come into Spotsylvania from the west would be encouraged to come to Southpointe and Cosner’s Corner instead of Stafford.

    Just my pre-coffee two cents . . .

  • Steven Thomas

    I think maybe the bigger issue than “whether the toll road” might be “HOW the toll road”. I have concern about the county’s use of eminent domain for the land, as well as the fact that the only proposed exit is to Central Park- in the City of F’berg! That means that all the Spotsy businesses along Rt 3, including Spotsy Towne Center, would get a lot less traffic and the county would lose sales and meals tax money.

  • Anonymous

    I have some issues with the toll road but the property rights argument is totally bogus.

    where do you think I-95 came from? How about Spotsylvania Parkway… Southpoint Parkway.. and county infrastructure for water/sewer?

    re: spotsy businesses would get less business..

    totally bogus… the PURPOSE of roads is Transportation not to benefit businesses….

    the reason Route 3 is ruined is because you have a primary road – a road of statewide significance that has been co-opted for business at the expense of transportation utility.

    If Route 3 had been properly preserved with access management to start with -you’d not even be talking about a “bypass” – which is what happens to taxpayer dollars when businesses ruin a taxpayer investment in transportation.

  • Pink

    I guarantee people would pay the $1 to avoid the traffic. Guaranteed. And whenever you see Steve Thomas comment against something, do the opposite because he is always wrong–and I mean always.

  • Steven Thomas

    Hey- I’m not necessarily opposed. Just have concerns about how it’s done. Don’t you? Or do you trust our government to get everything right on the first try- always?

  • Steven Thomas

    I disagree with you on both points Larry. This county does not have a sterling past in regards to respect for property rights. I’d like to see those protected. And much of the Rt 3 business community is retail. Less traffic means less sales for them. Remember, the original justification for the interstate roads system was the commerce clause of the Constitution. There is a strong tie-in between roads and commerce, as there should be.

  • Anonymous

    there are LOTs of issues… here, I agree.. but we’re already going to see HOT Lane tolls and it looks like the non-HOT part of I-95 is ALSO going to be tolled.

    We have an OPPORTUNITY here if we do a proper study of ALL of the Fburg Area I-95 access to move forward and perhaps get some state/fed funds if we do our studies holistically enough and match our proposals with the State/Fed plans for I-95…

    doing the toll road in isolation is a mistake.

    and throwing out alternatives BEFORE we get to NEPA is a mistake. NEPA expressly wants to see alternatives compared.. in a public way …not only look at what a particular transportation group has decided…

  • Anonymous

    you can disagree Steve but you’re wrong.  Commerce is NOT ruining the road for access to business.

    the interstate highway system is protected from such things with a strict access management policy that explicitly prevents businesses from using it directly.

    the purpose of roads is to MOVE traffic INCLUDING goods and services NOT to serve businesses.

    Virginia has an access management policy… you should educate yourself on why that policy exists and how it works.

    once you indicate to me that you understand what Access Management is, we could probably agree but you are ignorant of the fundamental purpose of roads – like I-95 and Primary Roads in Va – to provide MOBILITY for Commerce and not to ruin the road of providing that purpose – which leads to BYPASSES.. a tremendous waste of resources and tax dollars.

    but let’s ask the candidates…also

  • Jeff Spicoli

    Go head steve call Pink a troll too, with misinformed thoughts etc…

  • Steven Thomas

    Then I guess we agree to disagree Larry. Which is ok.

  • Steven Thomas

    I just don’t think mean-spirited name calling adds much to this thing. But apparently you disagree.

  • Anonymous

    re: disagree…

    it’s an important issue – and the candidates should weigh in on it.

    I doubt very seriously that most folks would support a complete and total ban on the use of eminent domain once they realize the implications.. but it’s something those who contemplate being an elected official should tell the voters how they feel – and let voters decide if they agree.

    how about it?

  • Steven Thomas

    I think when you’re talking about taking away someone’s private property, the highest standards possible have to be used. And the county’s standards in the past have been less than that. That’s why it’s important to elect people who understand the value of property rights, because those politicians will ultimately make those decisions.

  • Anonymous

    re: high standards….  your response is BLATHER…

    tell me what the county did wrong – BE SPECIFIC

    and tell me what the policy should be different – SPECIFICALLY

    if you want to have an election issue -you have to be responsible enough to be specific about it and not use generic sound-bite ideas for your “issue”.

    what exactly has Spotsy done – different/worse than all counties in the Va -that the Va Code allows or does not.

    the question for candidates is this: do you oppose any/all forms of eminent domain because it takes away property rights?

    what reasons would you give to support the use of eminent domain? 

  • Rea Rejean Douglas Deragon

    How are they gonna make a “bypass” from I95 to Gordan  road?
    Wher would this new toll road run? How long would it take and how much more traffic delays would the construction cause?
    Sounds like building an expensive road that you’ll have to pay to use. Also sounds like the project could cause more problems then it’ll solve.

  • Jeff Spicoli

    Steven my boy, you play the victim so well.
    You’re smarter than you let on. I just wish you’d show it.
    It occurs to me you use the FLS to grandstand your political nothing-ness. You give no creedence to anything but your agenda and soundbites of a conservative statehood.
    Tell us why!, not just the subject regurgitated ad nauseum. Smallmindedness will get you no-where in November.

  • Jeff Spicoli

    You are correct Larry, a primary artery convienced for commerce not including mega-residential with limited at best options for alternative travel is bound to have a the weakness we witness twice a day.

  • Anonymous

    Steve make the rookie mistake of equating “commerce” with “businesses”.

    Commerce is the movement of goods and services ….and in order for commerce to work – you have to preserve the transport utility of the roads.

    and it does not have to be an either/or proposition.

    there are LOTs of businesses that prosper and do well but at the same time DO NOT ruin the utility of the transport infrastructure.

    imagine what would happen to I-95 if we allowed curb cuts… for businesses…

    it would be GREAT for business but very bad for the interstate, eh?

    there is a balanced approach – and it’s called Access Management and it’s goal is to allow access to businesses but preserve the road also.

    they are doing this on Route 3 right now as we speak.

    they are going to be closing some median crossovers…. extending left turn lanes at major traffic signals – and encouraging intra-parcel connections (which by the way is a policy for the county also).

    Steve is …as usual.. looking at the issue from an ideological view ….not a practical one.. and not one based on knowledge of why ..for instance.. I-95 does not like curb cuts…

  • Anonymous

    there’s something else for folks to consider.  In 46 other states.. and all the cities and towns in Va, and 2 counties, Henrico and Arlington – the locality is responsible for local (secondary) roads.

    Subdivisions are not maintained by the State in those places.

    that’s right.

    the county is or an HOA is.

    this plays a significant role in making development decisions when the county itself ends up responsibility for the transportation impacts and cannot “blame” VDOT.

    in States where the locality is responsible for the road – decisions are much more responsible… and the tradeoffs between what’s good for business and what’s good for county citizens mobility is are front and center… in those decisions.

    i wonder how many of the endorsed Republican candidates would support local responsibility of secondary roads instead of depending on the “state” ?

  • Steven Thomas

    Tell you what Jeff. Since you’ve said nothing on any issue since the comments were turned back on, and you seem so intent on calling me out, why don’t you give us your solutions/views/opinions on the issues of the day- not just attacking me personally. If you do that, then I’ll reply in kind.

  • Steven Thomas

    In general, I oppose the use of eminent domain unless there is a matter of grave importance (national security, etc) where there is no other way. But that’s me. Not everyone agrees with me.

    I was not a fan of how the county handled the Harrison Road connector, and am concerned about that repeating itself on the Toll Road. But I am not reflexively against it- I want more details and and I want to see what the lay of the land is with regard to the property owners.

    I can tell you that, for me, having one exit and having that be onto Central Park is a nonstarter. Horrible idea for Spotsylvania. Taking away from our businesses and giving to the City of F’berg. Why we would agree to that is completely beyond me.

  • Steven Thomas

    I don’t know about our candidates Larry, but that is not a bad point. In yesteryears when local governments were hopelessly corrupt and the state somewhat less so, this system might have made some sense. Now I’m not so sure.

  • Jeff Spicoli

    Which is why Princess Anne county is now the City of Virginia Beach

  • Anonymous

    re: personal attacks..   on Steve and others.

    not cool and not welcome.

    stick to the issues… and stop attacking people.

    there is precious little daylight on a lot of issues between myself and Steve but attacking him as a person is wrong.

    the forums get ruined by those who cannot restrain themselves and keep to the issues.

    it puts extra work on folks like Amy and it really is childish.

  • Jeff Spicoli

    Larry I respect your opinion. But I disagree with this.
    Steve lies. And when you ask him to explain or prove something, he ignores it. -Or- carries into yet another issue (see almost every single comment above Gross v.Thomas)

    Childish; I know what childish is, and I know what pushes his buttons.
    He has yet to answer

  • Anonymous

    Jeff.. when you do that.. you actually derail… things….a bit… and it emboldens others to jump in .. and at that point – it’s just a food fight…and anyone else that was lurking and had something to say.. they leave also.

    As I said.. there’s not a whole lot that Steve and I nor you agree on ..but as long as we stay focused on the issues – the ball is in Steve’s court to answer… 

    when it gets personal.. Steve no longer feels any responsibility to answer…

    that’s my 2 cents worth and I acknowledge that it is one guys’re entitled to yours..and I’m sure others reading here also have views.. and my only hope is that we can have more than 2 or 3 folks blathering… 

    and that was the hope for an online forum…

    but if the online forum ends up being just another way for folks to launch person attacks (as they were doing at Logans Town Hall meeting).. then it’s a waste…

    cut Steve a little slack..

  • Jeff Spicoli

    You’re right Larry. Sorry.

    As angry as I get at Steve …(though I was not in attendance last night) I would not want to be associated with nor party to the likes of the shameful people whom showed up to riddicule Mr. Logan. I can see the parallel.

  • Steven Thomas

    I was not in attendance last night either, was home with my son. I found out about that event the same way most people did, I read Amy’s article.

    My position on this issue is more nuanced than just simply for it or against it. Don’t try to put words in my mouth (now who’s lying?).

    Logan is actually the Republican nominee, he is of my party! He won the nomination fair and square in a legally called mass meeting and has the Republican spot on the ballot in Courtland. I had to travel to Richmond to certify him in person before the SBE and everything.

  • Steven Thomas

    Jeff, you have not uttered one truth regarding me since the comments were turned back on. Crap like this is the reason they got turned off in the first place. If you can’t keep the discussion above board then don’t log on. Your personal attacks have no place in this or any other discussion. Period.

  • Anonymous

    well Mr. Logan got ripped good from the lady involved in the Mall Connector road controversy and others wanted to know his view about the county using imminent domain and clearly were opposed to the use of  imminent domain at all… implied that any use of it was a violation of property rights.

    Candidates for office need to say what their views are on imminent domain.

    a reasonable position is that it is necessary in some cases and an unreasonable position is that it can never be justified – in my view.

    but in no way should candidates be allowed to weasel an answer … and evade providing their view on it if they are, in fact, seeking to represent citizens in an elected capacity.

    when you run for office -you need to step up and say who you are and what you support and what you don’t …

    we already have too many people in office that don’t vote like they campaign… so I would expect Steve to agree that we need honesty in the candidates… 

  • Jeff Spicoli

    Yes I have. How many homes were foreclosed in your neighborhood? Question mark.

  • Robert Smart

    For those of you talking aboout Spotsylvania Parkway and trying to compare it with “eminent domain” you are way off of base. The Parkway was not obtained through the eminent domain process.The Parkway was built by the developer as part of the proffer process. The millions of dollars spent to build the Parkway didn’t cost the taxpayers one penny, and the roadway wasn’t built due to “eminent domain.”

  • Anonymous

    If I recall correctly the part connecting the parkway to Smith Station required eminent domain.

    in terms of costs to the county – the county chose to accept that road in lieu of school proffers.

    As a result of that development Spotsylvania taxpayers had to pay to build a new school to primarily serve that development.

  • Martin Work

    Amy: did any one person responding to your blog invitation ever answer your question: “Driving on Rt 3 in rush hour is like…?” Did you gain anymore insight into the TOLL ROAD issue than your bloggers provided in a 4 way conversation that at times spanned the globe? Why didn’t this conversation even include measued growth that is anticipated by Fredericksburg, Stafford and Spotsylvania that is already planned for within the next 5-10? What impact will their UDAs be on transportation when high density populations take root. Are we planning for the guess work numbers that come with FAMPO’s 2035 landuse and transportation strategies, when, in all likelyhood the elected leaders of this City and Counties are planning to fill up a lot of space within the next 5-10 years, not 20 or thirty.

    We can talk about Toll Roads and expanding I-95 until we’re all blue in the face, but with anticipated high density population growth, which will only bring us back to the same point and details that are being discussed from yesterday’s extrapolation of what the Regional landscape will look like in the next 10 years, all that will be accomplished here is establishing another footnote for yet more poor planning strategies.

    It must also be established that Larry Gross is the “company man” among us and always will be. He’s using the same dialogue and drumbeat he used as far back as the last 4 years, just as he’s done with those folks who showed up at Supv. Logan’s meeting with a lot of emotional baggage that needed to be vented, but characterized by Larry as totally unnecessary and not on the point he wishes to make and pretending there is only one way to conduct business…his way.

    If he is so against what other people think and do in there own behalf, how can we ever expect to reason with a single sided interpretion of things to come?

  • Anonymous

    Actually I think town hall meetings can be extremely useful and valuable but they are ruined when individuals use them as venues for personal attacks.

    that’s my two cents on that and I understand that there can be respectful disagreement on that idea.

    and the downside of the personal attacks is that public officials other ordinary human beings don’t see that as something worthwhile so they will minimize that venue which is a loss to all the other people who would appreciate the ability to meet with elected.

    so we have these folks who don’t care if their behavior causes a loss of contact between elected officials and the public.. they got their own fish to fry.

    they’ve got guidelines for a lot of these interactions:

    they say “be respectful”, don’t bore the hell out of others by dominating the meeting.. share it with others. no personal attacks… etc.

    common sense unless you are a cretin….