Stafford’s Board of Supervisors is asking voters to consider a $50 million Transportation Bond Referendum that will be included on the election ballot November 5, 2019. Eight road construction projects, identified in Stafford’s Comprehensive Road Study, are proposed to be major projects funded, in whole or in part, with Transportation Bond funds.
Major Construction Projects
The answer lies in responsibility for roads. In the Commonwealth of Virginia, the primary responsibility for operation and maintenance of public roads lies with the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT). Realizing that Stafford’s unprecedented growth was making it difficult for VDOT to meet the County’s transportation needs alone, Stafford started its own traffic program. From the 2008 transportation bond referendum, 15 projects were completed at a total cost of $140 million, which is an 80 percent completion rate of the proposed 19 road projects. Voters approved a bond amount of $70 million; only $24 million worth of bonds were sold. Approximately $100 million was leveraged from state and federal funds with $16.4 million from additional County funds outside of bond proceeds. Out of 55 total lane miles proposed for improvement, the County was able to complete 43.5 lane miles during one of the country’s worst economic recessions. Over the last eight years, the County has initiated and helped fund 22 road improvement projects, including Youth Driver Task Force projects, with an investment of $57 million of County funds, which might never have happened without County support.
Residents may wonder why certain roads were selected and why certain roads were omitted. The Board of Supervisors asked staff to devise a more objective, data-driven method of selecting roads for improvement. The Comprehensive Road Study, completed in 2018, examined Stafford’s roads, excluding roads with less impact for residents and road needs that could not be reasonably addressed by the local government. This excluded major primary highways in Stafford, including routes 1, 17 and 3 as well as I-95. As well, virtually all subdivision streets were eliminated.
The study focused on remaining roads in the County with traffic counts above 1,000 vehicles per day (VPD), broken down into a total of 114 roads/segments. Each identified road or segment was then scored based on the following criteria: traffic count per lane; road width and the presence/absence of shoulders; crash, injury and fatality rates; and the potential for future traffic growth. Unscored criteria included motorist complaints, special conditions such as a higher percentage of youth drivers and other road construction activity.
The study eventually identified 14 roads/road segments that were a priority for major improvements. The Board decided to target eight of those projects that could be accomplished with some funding from a $50 million Bond Referendum funding.
Seven out of the eight major construction projects listed above would widen roads to at least three lanes, except for Garrisonville Road which would be widened to six lanes. Widened roads can serve as a benefit in the County by reducing crashes, adding capacity and enhancing economic development possibilities. Though road widening is not a cure-all for congestion, it improves traffic flow by creating new capacity, improving safety, travel time reliability, reducing congestion and improving access to surrounding areas.
The eighth project selected for the use of Bond funds, Mountain View Road, would undergo a two-lane reconstruction alleviating the intersection and accidents while improving traffic flow between Courthouse and Mountain View Roads at a lower cost than a lane- widening improvement.
The goal of these projects is to improve traffic safety and flow in Stafford County. To find out more information and answer some of your questions, please visit the 2019 Bond Referendum webpage at www.staffordcountyva.gov/bond.