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Road jam drives us to misery page 2
We have no one to blame but ourselves, and developers and elected officials, for our worsening traffic woes

RICHARD AMRHINE
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Date published: 9/19/2004

By RICHARD AMRHINE

continued

No matter how bad the traffic gets, the company will still make its money. No matter how many people complain or vow to boycott such developments, the company knows that enough people will endure the congestion to shop, eat, or be enter-tained as long as the businesses are appealing and well-managed.

So we sit way back from the traffic light as our cars idle away gasoline and spew exhaust. In the meantime, we blame the Virginia Department of Transportation but fight any plan to raise the revenues the agency needs to address the problem. Go figure.

One exit to the south, the Silver Cos. is planning to build a smaller version of Central Park. Another Wal-Mart Supercenter will go up nearby. Traffic attempting to exit southbound from I-95 at Massaponax already backs up onto the interstate. New roads and road improvements are planned, but will they work?

Many people, myself included, will be looking for a hand to shake if congestion at the interchange doesn't worsen due to the added development.

Even if projects such as the Cowan Boulevard extension ease congestion, or development at Massaponax draws traffic from Central Park, it won't be long before new growth makes us long for the good old days of 2004.

Second, a new western crossing of the Rappahannock has become an inevitable necessity. I can't believe I'm saying this, but it is a reality bestowed upon us by the growth that has occurred here.

We have made our bed and we must now sleep in it. If we suffer insomnia as a result, for having disturbed a pristine portion of the Rappahannock River, we have only ourselves to blame.

Spotsylvania Planning Commission chairman Hugh Montgomery Jr. has proposed a Route 3 bypass that would parallel the busy thoroughfare for several miles from I-95 to a point west of Five-Mile Fork. If it were ever approved and funded, it would be shorter, cheaper, and less invasive than the corresponding stretch of the old Outer Connector, and require no new river crossing. Maybe it's a solution.

But while any desperately needed new highway could be considered a stopgap measure, Montgomery's plan would seem a shorter-term fix than a route that a new river crossing would provide. Wouldn't it be better also to get that traffic and exhaust farther away from town?


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