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DOD Coughs Up $270M To Ease BRAC Traffic

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A view of the new Fort Belvoir Community Hospital pavilion at Fort Belvoir in Viriginia. The hospital is just one of several new facilities at the military installation bringing thousands of new employees to area roads.
Todd Frantom (http://www.flickr.com/photos/usnavy/5912914559/)
A view of the new Fort Belvoir Community Hospital pavilion at Fort Belvoir in Viriginia. The hospital is just one of several new facilities at the military installation bringing thousands of new employees to area roads.

Commuters in Fairfax and Montgomery Counties could be getting some relief courtesy of the Pentagon. The Department of Defense has agreed to pay nearly $270 million to ease traffic congestion created by its recently implemented Base Realignment and Closure, according to local lawmakers. 

In Bethesda, nearly $90 million of that funding will be used to improve the intersections and build a new underpass near the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, which opened earlier this year after the old Walter Reed Army Hospital close and relocated all patients to the at the site of the former National Naval Medical Center.

Across the river in Virginia, DOD will spend $180 million to widen U.S. Route 1 to six lanes near Fort Belvoir, which has significantly increased its number of employees as a result of BRAC.

The amount is $30 million more than Virginia lawmakers originally expected, because it covers all three phases of the widening project, according to a statement from Rep. Jim Moran (D-Va.)

Local members of Congress have been pressing the Pentagon for the money, saying the military had underestimated the traffic gridlock that would ensue after thousands of workers and patients were transferred to the facilities. Many of them praised the DOD's decision yesterday.

"This money -- which has taken nearly two years to secure -- will help ensure wounded warriors and their families are able to access the new facility and lessen the impact on the surrounding community," Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.) said in a statement. 

"This is a big win for Northern Virginia as a region, the commuters along Rt. 1 and DoD employees at Ft. Belvoir," said Moran. 

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