Next public meeting on Richmond Highway BRT project is Wednesday

Bus Rapid Transit is planned to run down the middle of Route 1.

The Richmond Highway Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) project will have its second public meeting Wednesday at Mount Vernon High School.

Per the Fairfax County Department of Transportation, the meeting will include updates on the project from county staff and consultants. They’re scheduled to talk about next steps for the project, answer questions from attendees and take public comments related to the planning and design of the system.

The BRT system is envisioned to run between the Huntington Metro and Fort Belvoir. The buses will have dedicated lanes down the middle of Route 1, and then cut down North Kings Highway to the metro station. BRT stations are to be built in each of the five planned Community Business Centers as envisioned in the Embark Richmond Highway plan.

Funding-wise, the BRT project got a dose of good news last week when the Virginia Commonwealth Transportation Board (CTB) recommended $50 million in funding through the latest round of the state’s Smart Scale program. Using the program’s criteria, the CTB ranked BRT high, particularly for its environmental benefits, according to a document released by the CTB last week.

The final list of Smart Scale projects picked for funding in won’t be finalized until June.

The BRT project is currently in its preliminary design and environmental evaluation phases. Final design and the start of right-of-way acquisition is scheduled to begin in 2020, according to timelines on FCDOT’s website. Construction on phase I — a 3.1-mile section from the Huntington Metro to Hybla Valley — is scheduled to begin in 2023.

BRT map
Click to enlarge (Fairfax County image)

The second phase — Hybla Valley to Fort Belvoir — is slated to begin construction in 2025 and wrap up in early 2029. The total cost for the entire project is estimated to be $524 million.

So far the BRT project has $250 million in dedicated funding, which came last June when the Northern Virginia Transportation Authority fulfilled Fairfax County’s full request for the project as part of the NVTA’s six-year program. The bulk of the project’s remaining funding will be highly dependent on federal money through the New Starts program, and the countyisworkingontheapplication. Officials said previously that it would be sent once the environmental assessment was completed.

Meeting details: Doors will open for an interactive open house at 6:30 p.m. in the cafeteria of Mount Vernon High School (see map). The presentations from officials will begin at 7 p.m. and the open house will resume afterward and run until 8:30. Spanish translation will be available. For more information, go to Fairfax County’s website.