Fight Between Progress, History Brewing Over “Outer Beltway”

Most people would welcome the chance for a shorter, easier commute -- especially people who are stuck with driving in some of the most congested areas.

A plan on the table would create a new "Outer Beltway" that would be a shortcut through northern Virginia but would cut through Manassas and some of its most historic areas, setting the stage for a fight between progress and history that some are calling the next Battle of Manassas.

The route would connect Interstate 95 in Dumfries with Interstate 66 in the Manassas area, then run up to and beyond Dulles International Airport. It also would go through some historic, picturesque land at the Manassas Battlefield Park.

The North-South corridor as it is being called could cost about $1 billion. The state says its needed to handle all the expected growth in northern Virginia in the coming years and it could also provide a more direct route to Dulles for cargo traffic.

Monday, a large turnout of lawmakers and residents pushed back against the idea.

"Sometimes it's actually much, much more important in my job to actually stop bad things, stop bad ideas,” Republican state Sen. Jill Vogel said. “This is a bad thing.”

Now some are saying if this plan moves forward some roads will actually have to be closed, which could make the commute along places like I-66 even worse.

Follow Adam Tuss on Twitter at @AdamTuss

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