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Quantico measures impact of new jobs

July 29, 2007 12:35 am

By KELLY HANNON

Quantico Marine Corps Base has released a study of what 3,000 more jobs will do to base and local roads, the environment and the region's socioeconomic picture.

The 308-page draft environmental impact statement is not a quick read. The military has been working on the report for more than a year.

Among the major findings and key facts:

The new jobs will be based west of Interstate 95. Several locations are being considered. One is near Russell Road, and the others are in a region referred to as MCB-1. All sites will require new construction.

If something is built, Russell Road must be widened from U.S. 1 west to the job sites, and traffic signals are recommended at up to nine intersections on Russell Road.

Secondary road intersections on the base operate at "acceptable" levels, but base access points operate at "unacceptable" levels during peak commuter periods.

In North Stafford, additional turn lanes and signal changes are recommended at the intersection of Onville Road and State Route 610.

If family sizes follow the national average, incoming workers would add 4,300 to 7,000 adults to the area and 850 to 1,400 children. The higher numbers are possible if Quantico adds another 2,000 jobs to the 3,000 shifted there by the federal Base Realignment and Closure Commission.

BRAC expects 263 students at Quantico, who will need lodging.

None of the potential sites negatively impacts land. Impact on migratory birds and waterfowl would be "minimal."

The jobs were proposed at Quantico by BRAC in 2005.

BRAC also called for Fort Belvoir in Northern Virginia to get 22,000 additional jobs. But last week there were reports that about 10,000 of those jobs are moving to a new location near Springfield Mall. The site is within walking distance of Metro and Virginia Railway Express stations.

ENVIRONMENT STUDIED

Both military installations are assembling environmental impact statements, a federal re- quirement. Public comment is part of the process, and Quantico is accepting input through Sept. 4. Two meetings have been scheduled to include the public in the process.

Transportation recommendations in the draft EIS were presented to the Commonwealth Transportation Board last week.

Cord Sterling, a board member from Stafford, said the jobs are a positive development for the community on the whole, but he's worried about a few transportation hot spots.

Two Stafford secondary roads leading to the base, Onville and Telegraph roads, should be widened to four lanes, Sterling said.

The draft EIS does not call for widening, but spot improvements: turn lanes and signal adjustments to meet traffic volume.

Virginia transportation officials have already expressed concerns in letters written late last year. The letters were included in the statement.

Virginia Railway Express CEO Dale Zehner pointed out that the Quantico train station is east of I-95, but the jobs will be west of the interstate.

"Connecting transit services would need to be implemented to enable prospective employees to use VRE," he wrote. Zehner asked whether a transit system would have access to drop workers off, or whether security provisions would restrict it.

Also, Zehner asked whether workers would have free parking at their work sites, and whether the number of parking spaces would match the number of employees.

"Fee-based parking could be a means of encouraging the use of public transit, and could generate a revenue stream that helps to defray the cost of extended transit services," Zehner wrote.

Pierce Homer, Virginia secretary of transportation, wrote that he was worried about the base's existing transportation network.

"The BRAC plan to add approximately 3,000 personnel will make an already challenging access problem at [the base] more problematic. As you know, the two main access points at Fuller and Russell Roads currently operate at unacceptable levels of service," Homer wrote.

The military should participate in the funding of related widening projects off-base, Sterling said. "We don't have as much money as they assume we have," he said.

Kelly Hannon: 540/374-5436
Email: khannon@freelancestar.com




WANT TO PARTICIPATE? MEETINGS:

Monday, Aug. 6

Stafford County Government Center, 1300 Courthouse Road

7:30 to 9:30 p.m.

Monday, Aug. 13

Dr. A. J. Ferlazzo Building, 15941 Donald Curtis Drive

Prince William County

6:30 to 9:30 p.m.

CORRESPONDENCE:

Comments may also be mailed to Commander (B 046), Marine Corps Base, Attn: Jeff Gardner, 3250 Catlin Ave., Quantico, Va. 22134-5001.

MORE INFO:

The report is available at:

Central Rappahannock Regional Library headquarters, 1201 Caroline St., Fredericksburg

On the Web at quanti co.usmc.mil/activities/dis play.aspx? PID=1814&Sec tion=NREA

The final Environmental Impact Statement should be finished in October, with a decision by the secretary of the Navy expected in December.




Copyright 2014 The Free Lance-Star Publishing Company.