The Department of Defense and the Department of Transportation today announced the approval of $180 million from the Office of Economic Adjustment (OEA) for the Federal Highway Administration to widen U.S. Route 1 through Fort Belvoir, Va. The expansion of U.S. Route 1 will facilitate a safer and easier commute for patients, service members, and civilian employees of the new Fort Belvoir Community Hospital.
Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta said, “Fort Belvoir is a premier military installation with a growing importance in our defense community and the community of Fairfax County. The expansion of Route 1 will improve the quality of life for all service members and civilians serving at this key post.”
“This project will create jobs, ease congestion, and improve safety and accessibility along a critical route for the area’s military personnel and others driving in Fairfax County,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood. “Road projects like this one are what President Obama was talking about when he called for an America built to last.”
The funds will be used to widen — from four to six lanes — 3.5 miles of U.S. Route 1 from Telegraph Road north to Mount Vernon Memorial Highway. The project will include new bike lanes, pedestrian facilities, drainage and utility improvements. It will also preserve a corridor for future transit needs.
In addition, the project will improve access to Fort Belvoir at Tully Gate and Pence Gate, which serve as the main access point to the new Fort Belvoir Community Hospital. The hospital receives more than 574,000 outpatients and 10,000 inpatients per year and impacts Fort Belvoir access for 23,000 military and civilian personnel in the area.
Acting through an interagency agreement, the Federal Highway Administration Eastern Federal Lands Highway Division will complete the project in coordination with Fairfax County, the Virginia Department of Transportation, and the command at Fort Belvoir. Groundbreaking for the project may commence once all environmental requirements have been met.
This announcement marks the first funding approved under the $300 million program authorized by Section 8110 of Public Law 112-10, The DoD and Full-Year Continuing Appropriations Act, 2011, which enabled the Department of Defense to finance projects for transportation infrastructure improvements associated with medical facilities related to the 2005 round of the Base Closure and Realignment process. In November 2011, OEA invited Fairfax County to apply for these funds after a selection panel comprised of Defense and Transportation officials reviewed concepts to improve access to medical facilities across the nation.