Executive Director s Recommendation Commission Meeting: July 11, 2013

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1 Executive Director s Recommendation Commission Meeting: July 11, 2013 PROJECT Russell Road Widening Phase 2 United States Marine Corps Base Quantico Prince William County, Virginia SUBMITTED BY United States Department of Defense Department of the Navy REVIEW AUTHORITY Advisory per 40 U.S.C. 8722(b)(1) NCPC FILE NUMBER 7467 NCPC MAP FILE NUMBER (41.22)43790 APPLICANT S REQUEST Final approval of site development plans PROPOSED ACTION Approve as requested ACTION ITEM TYPE Consent Calendar PROJECT SUMMARY The United States Department of Defense proposes to widen Russell Road from two to four lanes, for a distance of approximately 2,600 linear feet, between the existing Marine Corps Federal Credit Union building (Building # 3000) and the Davis Building (Building # 3300). The project will help mitigate existing traffic congestion; improve driver and pedestrian safety; and lessen traffic queues along I-95. Other project elements include: two new curbside transit pull off areas, 26 new customer parking spaces in the Navy Exchange lot, new crosswalks, new traffic/pedestrian signaling devices, new retaining walls and culverts, new turn-only lanes, new hiker/recreational street-side trails, and new lane markings as required. KEY INFORMATION The proposed project is included in the current 2002 Marine Corps Base Quantico Master Plan, a part of a potential three-phase widening plan, and the Commission previously approved the Phase 1 widening of Russell Road in The project will require the removal of trees within the project area, and the Commission requested additional information regarding the project s proposed tree removal, mitigation, and MCBQ s re-forestation policies at its May 2, 2013 meeting. The Applicant has successfully provided the additional information as requested by the Commission.

2 Executive Director s Recommendation Page 2 RECOMMENDATION The Commission: Approve the final site development plans for the Phase 2 widening of Russell Road, located at Marine Corps Base Quantico in Quantico, Virginia. PROJECT REVIEW TIMELINE Previous actions Remaining actions (anticipated) May, Approval of preliminary site development plans with comments. None. Prepared by Michael Weil July 3, 2013

3 Executive Director s Recommendation Page 3 I. PROJECT DESCRIPTION Site The United States Marine Corp Base Quantico (MCBQ) installation is located approximately 35 miles southwest of Washington, DC as the primary base for the U.S. Marine Corps in the Metropolitan Washington Region. The installation is approximately 87 square miles in area and bi-furcated by Interstate Route 95 (I-95), occupying portions of three Virginia counties: Prince William, Stafford, and Fauquier. MCBQ, west of I-95, is known as Westside, and the area to the east of I-95 is known as Mainside. Figure 1 shows the location of the project area within MCBQ Mainside, as well as some surrounding geographic context. As shown in the figure, the project is along Russell Road, near Chopawamsic Creek, which is a significant and biologicallydiverse wetlands area on the installation. Figure 1: Map of MCBQ Mainside and Project Context Russell Road is one of two east-west roads that connect the downtown Mainside commercial area to the I-95/Route 1 Corridor. The other east-west road, Fuller Road, is currently 2-lanes wide and located to the north of Russell Road, adjacent to residential neighborhoods and a golf course.

4 Executive Director s Recommendation Page 4 Background The current project proposal was granted Preliminary approval by the Commission at its May 2, 2013 meeting, in conjunction with several Commission comments related to the project s tree removal, project s consistency with the MCBQ Master Plan, and the planned Potomac Heritage Nation Scenic Trail. Figure 2 shows the geographic context for two previously-approved projects, the current Phase 2 widening proposal, and future planned Phase 3 Russell Road widening, which is currently unfunded. Figure 2: Project Background The multi-phased widening of Russell Road and re-location of the Russell Road/Purvis Road intersection are designed to reduce existing traffic congestion along Russell Road, between downtown Mainside and the I-95/Route 1 Corridor; to accommodate expected future population growth at MCBQ; to improve driver and pedestrian safety along Russell Road; and to mitigate dangerous traffic queuing along I-95.

5 Executive Director s Recommendation Page 5 Proposal The project will widen a 2,600 foot long section of Russell Road from two to four-lanes, between the existing merge area (just east of the Marine Corps Federal Credit Union Building) to just east of the access drive to the Davis Building, which houses the Marine Corps Combat Development Command headquarters, as shown in Figure 3. The widened Phase 2 segment will provide additional roadway capacity for traffic between the MCBQ ACP and Davis Building, which houses over 600 workers. Figure 3: Proposed Russell Road Widening Project Area The project will make the following specific improvements along the widened Russell Road segment: The old Purvis Road alignment will be disconnected from Russell Road and redeveloped into a new 26-space customer parking lot 1 for use by Navy Exchange (NEX) customers and other nearby commercial uses such as McDonald s; Two new pull-off areas will be constructed at existing transit stop locations; Three new crosswalks will be striped in two different intersection locations; Two new eight-foot wide sidewalk trail segments will be constructed along the south-side and north-side of widened Russell Road; Retaining walls and culverts will be constructed along various segments of the widened roadway (along both north and side sides); 1 The project submission indicates that the additional parking will off-set a future proposed expansion of the Navy Exchange to the east of the existing building, which could remove approximately 45 customer spaces, resulting in a net local area parking reduction of 19 spaces.

6 Executive Director s Recommendation Page 6 One right-turn only and two left-turn only lanes will be created through re-striping and re-location of the through traffic lanes; Several new traffic and pedestrian signals will be installed at two intersection locations; and All existing utilities (including street lighting) will be re-located as needed. Overall, the project will remove trees and increase impervious surface from 3.13 (35% of the project area) to 4.88 (55% of the project area) acres within the project area. The proposed widening will be along the north-side of Russell Road to the maximum extent feasible to minimize impacts to the sensitive wetlands, Riparian Buffer Areas (RPAs), and Resource Management Areas (RMAs) associated with Chopawamsic Creek, directly to the south of the existing roadway. MCBQ will not plant any new trees/vegetation within the project area due to clear zone/driver visibility requirements. PROJECT ANALYSIS/CONFORMANCE Analysis Based on review of additional project information provided by the Applicant, which includes final site development plans (dated April 12, 2013), NCPC staff recommends that the Commission approve the final site development plans for the Phase 2 widening of Russell Road, located at Marine Corps Base Quantico in Quantico, Virginia. Staff believes that MCBQ has submitted adequate follow-up information regarding the project s proposed tree removal, mitigation, and MCBQ s re-forestation policies in response to the Commission s request during its May 2, 2013 preliminary approval action. The follow-up information, which was submitted by MCBQ in two separate documents, is summarized in the following sections. Tree Removal Estimate MCBQ has submitted a more refined tree removal estimate of based on the final site development plans and area of woodland disturbance as stated in their submission letter dated June 6, The letter is included in Appendix A. Tree Removal Areas Figure 4 shows the total area of tree removal as 2.28 acres within the project area, with defined boundaries for the tree clear areas along both sides of Russell Road, indicated with cross-hatched shading. Tree Removal Mitigation MCBQ will mitigate the widening project s tree removal by planting new trees adjacent to an existing residential development on MCBQ to create a new nature preserve area and to ensure no net tree loss. The proposed nature preserve area is shown in Figure 5.

7 Executive Director s Recommendation Page 7 Figure 4: Proposed Tree Clear Areas Figure 5: Proposed Future Nature Preserve Area

8 Executive Director s Recommendation Page 8 MCBQ Reforestation Plan MCBQ submitted MCB Order B, which governs their woodland tree and shrub management. The submission letter explains that the heavily forested lands on MCBQ serve a unique and integral component of the military training environment. As stated in the letter, The diverse forest structure affords a variety of vegetative covers and landscapes, which provide vast flexibility for the development of assorted military training scenarios and exercises. To ensure that this valuable training resource remains functional, an aggressive forest management program directed at the improvement and maintenance of forest health and diversity through the application of silvicultural practices is in place. Since 1988, this program has averaged 44,700 tree plantings each year. The full management policy is contained in Appendix B. Comprehensive Plan for the National Capital The Comprehensive Plan for the National Capital provides goals and policies that guide the Commission in evaluating and acting on plans and projects in the National Capital Region. Staff has determined that the proposed project is consistent with the following policies from the Transportation, Parks and Open Space, and Federal Environment Elements of the Comprehensive Plan for the National Capital. 1. Provide sidewalks among buildings on federal campuses as well as between federal buildings and transit stations. 2. Avoid destruction of or damage to wetlands. 3. Coordinate wetland activities with federal, state, and local government programs and regulations, and with special programs such as the Chesapeake Bay 2000 Agreement. 4. Protect the scenic and ecological values of waterways and stream valleys. 5. Minimize tree cutting and other vegetation removal to reduce soil disturbance and erosion, particularly in the vicinity of waterways. When tree removal is necessary, trees should be replaced to prevent a net tree loss. 6. Incorporate new trees and vegetation to moderate temperatures, minimize energy consumption, and mitigate stormwater runoff. 7. Restore forested buffers along waterways and stream valleys Marine Corps Base Quantico Master Plan The phased widening of Russell Road, including the Phase 2 widening project, is contained within the current 2002 MCBQ Master Plan. National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) The MCBQ studied the Phase 2 project s impact to the natural environment through an Environmental Assessment (EA), which concluded with a Finding of No Significant Impact

9 Executive Director s Recommendation Page 9 (FONSI) on March 2, 2012 to complete their NEPA review responsibility. For federal projects in the environs, NCPC does not have independent NEPA responsibility. National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA) The EA summarizes the project s Section 106 process follows: Past the eastern terminus of this project Russell Road passes through locations that were conducive to Native American and Early Colonial settlement. Between Buildings 3300 and 3280 two sites have been identified, 44PW946 and 44PW945 dating to the Late Archaic through Late Woodland Periods (3000 BCE 1607 CE), with an early 18th century Colonial component included in the latter. After a series of Phase II archaeological investigations, these sites were determined ineligible for the National Register of Historic Places (NRHP). In both cases conditions of the sites had been degraded by the effects of erosion, plowing, and the construction of the existing roadway. No further coordination with the State Historic Preservation Officer under the National Historic Preservation Act is required. For federal projects in the environs, NCPC does not have independent Section 106 responsibility. II. CONSULTATION Coordination with local agencies In accordance with the Commission s Procedures for Intergovernmental Cooperation in Federal Planning in the National Capital Region, the project was referred by NCPC to the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT), the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ), Prince William County Office of Planning, Prince William County Department of Planning, the Northern Virginia Regional Commission (NVRC), and Northern Virginia Transportation Commission on February 11, Comments received back from two of the referral agencies indicate that the project will have no significant impacts on their jurisdictions. In addition, as part of the EA process, the project s preliminary design was referred out to multiple Virginia State agencies, which all generally concurred that the project is consistent with all applicable federal and State policies and laws, assuming that proper construction methods and Best Management Practices are used for the project.

10 Executive Director s Recommendation Page 10 APPENDIX A MCBQ FINAL PROJECT SUBMISSION LETTER

11 Executive Director s Recommendation Page 11 APPENDIX A (CON T.)

12 Executive Director s Recommendation Page 12 APPENDIX B WOODLAND TREE AND SHRUB MANAGEMENT B

13 Executive Director s Recommendation Page 13 APPENDIX B (CON T.)

14 Executive Director s Recommendation Page 14 APPENDIX B (CON T.)

15 Executive Director s Recommendation Page 15 APPENDIX B (CON T.)

16 Executive Director s Recommendation Page 16 APPENDIX B (CON T.)

17 Executive Director s Recommendation Page 17 APPENDIX B (CON T.)

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