Fredericksburg Free Press: Stafford County awarded over $10M for Brooke Road flooding fixes

FREDERICKSBURG FREE PRESS, KATHY KNOTTS

U.S. Representative Abigail Spanberger announced Wednesday that — following a letter of support from her office— Stafford County has received a $10,251,613 federal grant to raise and realign a portion of Brooke Road to alleviate frequent flooding along the road. 

This funding is made possible through the U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) and Federal Highway Administration’s Promoting Resilient Operations for Transformative, Efficient, and Cost-Saving Transportation (PROTECT) Grant Program — created by the bipartisan infrastructure law.

This award will allow Stafford County to realign a 0.45-mile portion of Brooke Road from Loblolly Lane to Maplewood Drive to relocate the road out of the floodplain. The project will address frequent flooding on portions of the road that become impassable for extended periods of time during heavy rainstorms, isolating more than 600 residents and restricting access to food, water, shelter, places of work, and emergency services. The roadway runs parallel to Accokeek Creek, a major tributary to the Potomac River. 

The flooding concern was raised at the April 2 Stafford County Board of Supervisors meeting. Resident Rich Ryan commented that residents are seeing property damage due to the flooding and that the issue is more than just an inconvenience.

“It’s a safety issue, as even our first responders can’t respond to an incident (in the area),” Ryan said. “Additionally, school buses often refuse to pick up our children because the roads are unsafe for them to pass.”

Ryan also referred to members of the county’s fire and rescue departments stating there are sections of the road that are sinking to dangerous levels and the fire engines are forced to drive down the middle of a road and risk hitting another vehicle head-on, or the road could collapse under the weight of the firetruck.

Homeowner John Edgar spoke on behalf of families living in the Potomac Overlook subdivision on Marlborough Point Road. He stated that the problem stems from rainwater running from higher terrain on the north side of Brook Road, which the culverts and ditches “are totally inadequate to support handling the runoff.”

The second cause Edgar cited was that the roadbed is only slightly above or even below in some places the “swampy area” fed by Accokeek Creek within the Crows Nest preserve. “Anytime the rain gauge at my house exceeds one inch of rain,” said Edgar, “I either stay home or I use my 4×4 pickup truck to safely ford the flooded roads.”

“Virginians deserve safe roads to drive on in their communities,” Spanberger said. “The bipartisan infrastructure law is continuing to deliver for Virginia’s communities — and I was proud to have a hand in crafting the bipartisan framework that led to this investment in our nation’s physical infrastructure needs.” 

“Stafford County is grateful to the Federal Highway Administration and Department of Transportation for the opportunity to be awarded the $10.2 million PROTECT Grant,” Meg Bohmke, chair of the Stafford County Board of Supervisors said in the release.

“Once obtained, it will play a crucial role in addressing the persistent flooding issues at the ‘S’ curve on Brooke Road. It will also enable the county to implement a sustainable solution, ensuring the safety and accessibility of the residents living beyond that point.” 

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