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Key step taken toward Bi-County Parkway

Sunday - 6/24/2012, 6:51am  ET

bicountyparkway.jpg
The segments marked C and D are the proposed route for the Bi-County Parkway. (Courtesy of the Northern Virginia Transportation Alliance)

Hank Silverberg, wtop.com

WASHINGTON - A long talked about highway has taken a small step forward, but it could reopen the controversy about a so-called "outer beltway."

Virginia's Commonwealth Transportation Board has approved $5 million for preliminary engineering and design work for the Bi-County Parkway. The ten mile stretch would extend Route 234/Prince William Parkway into Loudoun County near Route 50.

The completion of North Star Boulevard would eventually connect to Route 7 as well.

Bob Chase, from the Northern Virginia Transportation Alliance, says this is a good decision.

"It connects the second and third largest jurisdictions in Northern Virginia and it provides better access to Dulles Airport," he says. "It's been on the comprehensive plan for Loudoun County and Prince William county for a long time."

The highway is part of the new Northern Virginia North South Corridor of Statewide Significance. But critics say the highway is one step towards an "outer beltway" that would eventually produce another bridge across the Potomac into Maryland.

They say it would do nothing to alleviate the congested East/West Routes.

The decision by the CTB is the first move towards building the highway since an environmental impact study was done in 2005.

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(Copyright 2012 by WTOP. All Rights Reserved.)