Highway To Parkway West Subject of Study

Highway To Parkway West Subject of Study

Franklin Mews resident Wahed Hossani is watching history repeat itself with the latest Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) ramp proposal. After Hossani bought his house in 1983, the Springfield-Franconia Parkway came in and eliminated four houses in his development, and now VDOT’s proposal for a ramp from I-95 north to the westbound lanes of the Parkway may call for the destruction of his house, as well.

The first time, his side yard was trimmed to the bare minimum. If the new ramp cuts as much as one foot from his yard, the house will have to go.

"My house is affected by that," Hossani said. "That [ramp right of way] is because there is a park on the other side."

In the plan, a ramp will be constructed from I-95 north, directly to the westbound lanes of the parkway, but not the eastbound lanes. Hossani is prepared to move when his wife retires in four or five years, but not anytime soon. He's not really worried, though, because the ramp study is only a proposal. The reality is funding. Hossani has talked with VDOT project manager Jeff Daily.

"He told me they have a preliminary plan, but they do not have money," he said.

"It's not funded yet," VDOT spokesperson Joan Morris

A direct route from I-95 to the Parkway is needed, though. Currently, cars traveling northbound have to exit at Springfield Mall, down Spring Mall Drive, right at the light, to get on the westbound parkway lanes. Cars heading east can use that same route but turn left on Frontier and merge into the left lane. It still isn't a direct route.

Shawn Wilson works at Sheehy Ford at the intersection of Spring Mall Drive and Loisdale Road. Cars are always pulling into the dealership asking for directions to the parkway.

"We're 'Directions Central.' Everyone gets off this exit and asks, 'Where's the parkway?' and we give them directions around," he said.

Wilson attributes it to poor planning.

"It's like everything else they build around here," Wilson said. "They didn't anticipate the amount of traffic. It's pretty much the only way to do it unless you’re [using] HOV [High Occupancy Vehicle lanes]."

Joan Morris, VDOT spokesperson, said a ramp from I-95 to the parkway was not in the plans originally. The price tag on the project for design, right-of-way acquisition and construction is in the $75 million to $80 million range, said Morris.

"Originally, there wasn't even going to be a connection there. It was hard enough fitting this ramp in," she said.

In the plan, four houses and one business are in the way and VDOT will have to purchase them.