There appears to be growing support for a new road that would take traffic around the Manassas National Battlefield Park — a major tourist attraction in the capital region.
The Battlefield Bypass has now been placed on a long-range priority list by the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments.
If it is built it would take traffic around the Manassas Battlefield, a concept that Park Superintendent Ed Clark says the National Park Service endorses.
The plan would include shutting down parts of Routes 234 and 29 that run through the battlefield.
“We’re really removing that from the heart of the battlefield when so many visitors go and moving it out to the periphery of the park,” Clark says.
The Manassas Battlefield attracts 650,000 visitors a year but they mix with substantial commuter traffic on Route 234 and Route 29.
“Once the battlefield bypass would be built, those roads inside the battlefield would be closed to through traffic, commuter traffic and it would only be park related traffic,” Clark says.
Several environmental groups oppose the bypass. They fear it is just the first step towards a Tri-County Parkway linking Prince William, Loudoun and Fairfax counties together, that could open up the countryside to more development.
The Virginia Dept. of Transportation reports that “the Commonwealth Transportation Board (CTB) has approved the location for a new 10.4-mile north-south transportation link that would connect Manassas with the Dulles corridor. The location of the new road would be north of Interstate 66, from the I-66 and Route 234 interchange to Route 50 in Loudoun County.”