The National Trust for Historic Preservation has sent a letter to local officials and community leaders announcing it would support the southern bypass Route 1 widening alternative as a "Plan B."
The letter, dated June 15, states that the National Trust “strongly prefers” the no-build alternative, which would avoid any adverse impact to local historic resources.
The Federal Highway Administration is currently discussing three alternatives to widening Route 1 to help ease traffic:
- Option A is a no-build alternative.
- Option B is a southern bypass alternative, which would run behind Woodlawn Stables and could cause it to cease operations.
- Option C is a "widen-in-place" option that would widen Route 1 to three lanes in both directions.
Hundreds of residents and community leaders attended a public hearing at Hayfield Secondary School earlier this month to express their concerns about these alternatives.
If the Federal Highway Administration says "no" to a no-build option, the National Trust would support the southern bypass option because it would have the least impact on historic resources including Woodlawn Plantation and the Pope-Leighey House.
“By shifting Route 1 to the south of the Woodlawn Baptist Church, a portion of Route 1 would be completely removed from the Woodlawn Historic District, which would not only have immediate and direct benefits on historic resources, but it would better long-term protection from future transportation improvements to these areas along the Route 1 corridor,” states the letter from the Trust to Jack Van Dop of the FHWA.
The National Trust states in the letter that it understands the Otis Mason House and Woodlawn Stables must be relocated if the southern bypass option is selected.
The National Trust, in a nod to the outpouring of public support for Woodlawn Stables (a private business that leases its space from the National Trust), makes a suggestion in its letter that the state or county might consider purchasing 54 acres to ensure the stables always be available to the public.
Local legislators have signed a letter supporting the widening in place option, and the Mount Vernon Lee Chamber of Commerce also issued a statement last week supporting the widening in place option. Supervisor Hyland also voiced his support of the widening in place option in a letter sent to the FHWA and VDOT (see letter attached).
The widen-in-place option would widen Richmond Highway in both directions. Starting Tuesday, Del. Scott Surovell (D-44th) will take comments on his blog and submit them to the FHWA for review.
The National Trust has owned Woodlawn Plantation since 1957. The Woodlawn Historic District is a National Register of Historic Places historic district.
The FHWA is accepting public comment until July 6. For more information, visit the FHWA website.