FORT BELVOIR, Va. (WJLA) - Shovels are literally in the ground, just feet from the stretch of Route 1 that will soon be expanded. The equipment Monday may have just been ceremonial, but it's a project that's been in the works for 20 years.
The project will expand a 3.5 mile stretch of Route 1 between Telegraph Road and Mount Vernon Highway from four lanes to six. The idea is to alleviate traffic congestion and provide a smoother ride along a busy corridor that includes Fort Belvoir and the new Belvoir hospital.
For drivers like Raheem Owens, who drives on that stretch daily, the renovation can't come quick enough.
"Route one is not a good way to go," Owens said. "And 95 is just as bad."
Congressman Jim Moran (D-Va.) secured $180 million to pay for the project.
"We asked for a $300 million designation," Moran said. "11,000 people here at Fort Belvoir, we don't have the transportation capacity to accommodate them."
Construction is expected to be completed sometime next year, but many drivers know that before it gets better around here, the road work will make things much worse. Even once it's finished, some remain skeptical that the congestion on Route 1 can be alleviated.
"You can get one accident, miles and miles of blockage," Ownes said. "Expanding it probably wouldn't do any good, so much traffic going through it anyway."