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Bypass/Loop Road

For more than 15 years, Rockingham residents have voiced their strong opposition to building a Harrisonburg bypass through our region’s beautiful farms, battlefields and rural hamlets. In that time, trends proved the project makes no sense.

Yet a bypass-loop road project remains in the transportation plans approved at every level of government – Rockingham County, the City of Harrisonburg, the Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) and the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT).

And old habits die hard. In the MPO draft Long Range Transportation Plan, the Loop Road remains as a project, cutting through productive farmland and historic battlefields. We are following this plan closely as well as how it will inform the Comprehensive Plans of both Rockingham County and Harrisonburg City and will call on you for input and comments at every opportunity. The time is now to strike this unaffordable, destructive Harrisonburg bypass from all of the plans.

Here’s how the process will go:

  • January 19, 2017 – MPO Policy board gets its “first look” at the LRTP
  • February 2, 2017 – MPO Technical Advisory Committee (TAC) recommends that the Policy committee release the plan for formal public comment period (previous period was “informal”)
  • February 16, 2017 – Policy committee releases the plan for formal public comment – comment period ends March 15
  • March 1, 2017 – Public information meeting 4-6 PM in the Community Development room of the Rockingham County Administration Center 20 E. Gay Street, Harrisonburg, VA 22802
  • March 2, 2017 – TAC reviews any public comments and recommends the Policy committee approve the LRTP
  • March 16, 2017 – Policy committee approves the LRTP
  • June/July 2017 – Rockingham County begins Comprehensive Plan update
  • Spring 2017 – Harrisonburg City begins Comprehensive Plan update
  • Fall 2017 – Harrisonburg City public workshops
    • Thursday October 19, 6pm
      Lucy F. Simms Center
      Topics: Education; Arts, Culture, and Historic Resources; and Community Engagement and Collaboration
    • Monday October 23, 6pm
      Thomas Harrison Middle School
      Topics: Environmental Stewardship & Sustainability; Parks & Recreation; and Community Infrastructure, Services, Safety & Health
    • Monday October 30, 6pm
      Thomas Harrison Middle School
      Topics: Economic Development & Tourism; and Revitalization
    • Monday November 13, 6pm
      Thomas Harrison Middle School
      Topics: Land Use & Development Quality; Neighborhoods & Housing; Transportation
  • Summer 2018 – Harrisonburg city open houses

Maps:

CAP Comments on the LRTP:

What’s so bad about a Loop Road?
A Harrisonburg bypass is not needed to serve the rural areas that make Rockingham Virginia’s top agricultural producer. In fact, a bypass through the county’s prime farm land would fragment farms and battlefields and increase rural development pressure in direct conflict with the county’s Comprehensive Plan.

A Harrisonburg bypass won’t make it any easier for local people get to work. Bypasses enable through travelers to avoid an area, they generally don’t help with local traffic congestion. Our traffic jams come from people trying to travel east-west, so we don’t need a destructive new north-south road. The recently completed Stone Spring-Erickson Avenue Connector and Port Republic Road projects will ease that congestion.

A Harrisonburg bypass on long-range plans hurts our region’s ability to plan for and fund the sensible road projects we really need.

Finally, a Harrisonburg bypass is no longer a priority for long-term Interstate 81 plans. State officials acknowledge that the 2007 Plan for I-81, which calls for 8-10 lanes and a possible Harrisonburg bypass is outdated and too expensive. In 2009, the General Assembly barred any tolls on the highway without legislative approval, eliminating the only way to pay for a costly new corridor. Further, the plan dramatically overestimated traffic growth, which has been relatively flat. State legislators and administration officials are now rightly focused on targeted safety and congestion improvements instead of wholesale widening and destructive bypasses. See our I-81 page for more info.

INFORMATION

CAP provides timely and accurate information to foster good public policy in transportation, land use planning and land conservation.

ANALYSIS

CAP studies how local, regional and state plans will impact Rockingham County's rural heritage, traditional towns and villages, and the natural, historic and other resources essential to our high quality of life.

ENGAGEMENT

CAP helps Rockingham residents make their voices heard on matters that impact the County's rural character, urban spaces and natural and cultural resources.