The West Campus Connector Advisory Group (WCCAG) presented their recommendations to the George Mason Board of Visitors Wednesday.
Following two open houses and a public comment period to collect citizen input, the Advisory Group recommended Alternative 3—an underpass and a 90-foot buffer. According to the plan, the area remaining between the buffer and the West Campus Connector would be restricted from further building or parking structures.
The intent of the bypass is to keep eastbound traffic headed toward campus and westbound traffic leaving campus from entering the intersection of Braddock and Route 123. A 10 to 30 percent reduction in congestion is expected.
Tom Calhoun, Vice President of Facilities and a member of the WCCAG, said the board was supportive of Alternative 3, but asked the advisory group to review the portion of the plan restricting future development. “The Board of Visitors was reluctant to give away the land into perpetuity,” he said. “They asked the WCCAG to figure out a way to achieve the goals without the restriction.”
According to , "the exact layout of the road is not yet final, but the recommended route begins at Braddock Road and Prestwick Drive (west of the intersection of Braddock and Route 123), travels north around the current athletic fields on Mason’s undeveloped “western campus,” turns east, crosses under Route 123 in the vicinity of Mason Pond Drive (near the Mason Inn) and connects with Patriot Circle inside campus" (The Braddock Beacon November 2011).
Calhoun said GMU has started the procurement process, preparing a short list of qualified firms to whom requests for proposals will be submitted in January 2012. Construction is expected to begin in the summer of 2012. “An optimistic date for completion of the project is by August 2014,” said Calhoun.
In his six-year transportation plan, released earlier this year, Governor Bob McDonnell agreed to provide $15 million in funding for George Mason University’s proposed Western Bypass.
The WCCAG task group is comprised of Fairfax Campus Advisory Board (FCAB) members as well as additional representatives from Braddock District, Springfield District, the City of Fairfax, and George Mason University.
Calhoun said a meeting has yet to be scheduled for review of the plan's current restriction on future development.