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A facelift could be coming to historic Route 1

Thursday - 7/14/2011, 5:35pm  ET

Route 1 looking across the bridge from Prince William County into Fairfax County. WTOP/Hank Silverberg

Hank Silverberg,

WOODBRIDGE, Va. -- With all the growth in Northern Virginia, much of the transportation improvements have concentrated on Interstate 95, I-66 or the Beltway. But now the focus may shift to one of America's oldest highways.

For many commuters, historic Route 1 is just as important as the interstates. The relocation of thousands of workers to Fort Belvoir has increased the need to manage traffic in Fairfax County and Prince William County.

"It is going to get worse before it gets better", says Prince William Supervisor Frank Principi.

"We have about 22,000 families moving into the area between Fort Belvoir and the Quantico Marine corps base," he says, noting that the base realignment already underway is changing the nature of the road.

The state will begin a two-year, $3 million state study next week. It will look at multiple options for alleviating congestion including widening the highway, expanding Virginia Railway Express, and adding bus rapid transit and a ferry passenger service on the Potomac River.

Planners may also take the dust off a 40-year-old plan to expand Metro to Woodbridge, though it's not clear if there is money for any of these projects.

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