Not content with merely adding tractor-trailers and hazardous material tanker trucks to the I-66 “Express Lanes” after the public review and environmental hearings concluded, VDOT and its chosen contractors are seeking more unfavorable changes.
VDOT’s chosen contractor I66 Express Mobility Partners LLC (EMP)*, now plans a major industrial maintenance complex near the junction of I-66 and Virginia Route 123. This would be in the same location as a planned (distant) future Metro rail station was previously planned. Placing an industrial maintenance facility at this location would also disrupt Fairfax City’s plan to revitalize the area with its “Northfax” redevelopment project. Access to a planned I-66 bike path will also be at at risk.
EMP stated that this is the only location they can find in Northern Virginia that would allow them to access all lanes of the freeway facility.
In a letter of opposition, Fairfax City stated their concerns: “Having an industrial use at the City’s northern Gateway would be counter to the economic development goals and aesthetic vision for our City.” The local residential area would also suffer from additional noise and maintenance traffic effects from installing a large roadway maintenance facility.
Fairfax County has also sent a sternly worded letter to EMP. However, since Fairfax County previously voted yay to allow the I-66 widening project to continue at the Transportation Planning Board, its options to restrain VDOT and EMP’s detrimental plans beyond letter writing appear limited.
WTOP has more information regarding this unfortunate EMP development.
It is curious that EMP waited until public planning meetings, contracting, local government coordination, and open hearings were complete to unveil these plans just this year. Did EMP actually just discover that they will need to maintain the facility for the 50 years written in the contract? This seems unlikely.
What additional adverse EMP plans are lurking behind closed doors to be unveiled in the future? Time will tell.
*EMP is comprised of CINTRA (Spain), Meridiam (France), Ferrovial (Spain) and Allan Myers (US).