A supplemental study of the environmental impacts to the state’s Beltway expansion plan, released Oct. 1, paints a decidedly mixed picture of the traffic impacts on the 12-mile stretch of highway included in the project as well as with the River Road interchange and other local roads.
It also details adverse impacts to treasured parkland abutting Cabin John. For example, the study calls for a temporary access road off the Clara Barton Parkway that would parallel the C&O Canal “for construction vehicles and materials to build the new American Legion Bridge” as well as for changes to access ramps.
It also talks about impacts to Cabin John Valley Stream Park “to accommodate widening of I-495, replacement of the bridges across Seven Locks Road and Cabin John Parkway” and new interchange modifications at River Rd.
While the study purports to have modified the initial plans to avoid impacts to Morningstar Moses Hall and Cemetery, there are still major issues with regard to the property as well as the historic Gibson Grove Church property.
What all this means for Cabin John, especially with regard to traffic, is something we have to decipher and comment on prior to the Nov. 15th public comment deadline on the study, which is formally called the Supplemental Draft Environmental Impact Statement (SDEIS).
To aid the Cabin John Citizens Association in its advocacy efforts, the community voted at the Sept. 29 CJCA meeting to approve up to $3,000 to, once again, engage the engineering consulting firm VHBMetroDC to review the SDEIS and provide technical points on traffic and other negative impacts.
The goal is to have VHB provide its analysis by the end of October to give the CJCA time to share it with the community along with guidance on how to submit comments.
By Susan Shipp, CJCA President