National Trust Backs 'No Build' or Southern Bypass Options

The National Trust for Historic Preservation has sent a letter to local officials and community leaders regarding its choices for widening Route 1.

The National Trust for Historic Preservation has sent a letter to local officials and community leaders announcing it would support the  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
  • 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 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.

Shiloh June 20, 2012 at 02:48 PM
Did anyone notice how the stables group, or even the stables owner was not copied on David Brown's letter? If it hadn't been reported in the Patch, how would they even have known about the Trust's 'generous' offer to sell the land out from under them?
Shiloh June 20, 2012 at 03:54 PM
Parts of this letter are absolutely false, despite the congenial tone. There is only talk about an underpass, and highways hasn't mentioned relocating barns or buildings, and has refused to discuss construction staging at all. Nothing to show on paper, nothing presented to the community. Only rumors and putting people off. Not exactly the way to win public trust or support.
AJ June 21, 2012 at 03:10 PM
I agree with you Cheryl. The bus system we have is good. Seems to work just fine for people on Rt 1 and the parkway, where there are not always apartments but also houses. What we need is more buses and stops and an extension to the yellow line. Why can't Fort Belvoir have a central transit station like the Pentagon? A metro stop and bus center?
Sally Spangler September 15, 2012 at 03:08 PM
Yes you can Jeffrey - I used to docent at Woodlawn. Moving the modern highway ever closer to the house and to the house that uses the other driveway closer to the top of the hill. That home would be destroyed - all in the name of very poor planning on the part of the Army Engineers who are probably are the people who have set up the idea(s) in the first place.
Sally Spangler September 15, 2012 at 03:18 PM
George Washington's original gift to make Woodlawn a home for his nephew Lawrence Washington and his bride - was 2,000 acres plus a mill and a distillory. The mill came true, but it took to the 20th century to see the distillory .Both places are at times shown as "this is how it is done". Fort Belvoir, (used to be Camp Humphrey) took over much of the rest of the land for married quarters for enlisted personnel and other military uses. Probably "Mech and Tech" that the Engineer School used for teaching road construction and other subjects. Oh, by the way, the Army Engineers made much of US 1 all the way into Alexandria, almost in fact the WW bridge.


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