Supervisor Frank J. Principi has a “sidewalk to nowhere” in his district at Powell’s Creek, but he plans to get thatcorrected pretty soon, thanks to a grant from the Metropolitan Washington Area Council of Governments (MWCOG).
Principi said building the bridge wouldn’t be possible without the grant. “The construction of a footbridge over Powell’s Creek is estimated to be approximately $700,000. Eighty percent of those funds are being granted to us through MWCOG. The other 20 percent is from local taxpayers here in Prince William County. It is a great way to leverage local tax dollars for the safety of our community.”
The $580,000 Transportation Alternatives Grant was awarded through MWCOG after going through a Virginia Department of Transportation competitive process. Prince William County tax money will pay an additional $130,000 to complete the project.
Sarah Crawford, a spokeswoman for MWCOG, said Prince William County received one of the largest grants offered in the initial round of the competition. “It provided a critical missing pedestrian connection and it improved the safety of the corridor. Something we’re really looking at is improving safety for vehicles and pedestrians.”
Principi said the bridge will connect to a larger trail system. “In addition to improving safety, we are growing our network of about a 50-mile pedestrian bicycle trail here in Woodbridge that connects the Occoquan River to Potomac Shores and South Bridge and from the Potomac River over to Potomac Town Center. This is a very small part of the overall 50-mile trail, but a very necessary part; and surely one that will improve pedestrian and motorist safety.”
Of the 35 gaps in the trail that need to be completed, the top five priorities include: Dale Boulevard from Neabsco Mills Road across U.S.1 along Rippon Boulevard for an estimated $1.8 million; Blackburn Road from Rippon Boulevard to the Cow Branch Bridge for an estimated $500,000; Opitz Boulevard from the Wawa to Neabsco Mills Road, estimated at $1.5 million; and Blackburn Road from Reddy Drive to Featherstone Road for an estimated $600,000.
According to the Prince William Department of Transportation, an average sidewalk cost $300 a foot. The cost increases if movement of utilities or purchase of right of way is required. Completing the remaining segments of the Pedestrian-Bike Network will cost approximately $33 million.
Funding has been identified for 14.5 miles, or 22 segments, and two crosswalks, for roughly $23.3 million.