WTOP/Inside NoVa: Federal grant seeks to address flooding problem in northern Virginia


Many roads in northern Virginia flood during rainstorms, but Stafford County has received a $10.2 million federal grant designed to prevent a reoccurring problem that often leaves residents unable to leave their community.

The grant was announced by Rep. Abigail Spanberger, D-Va., who along with U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg, spoke to WTOP this week about the new federal funds flowing to the Commonwealth.

The funding comes through a grant program established by the bipartisan infrastructure law that was passed by Congress in 2021.

The money for Stafford County will be used to realign a nearly half-mile portion of Brooke Road and Loblolly Lane to Maplewood Drive, so part of the road can be taken out of the flood plain.

The area often floods during heavy rainstorms, which can isolate hundreds of residents. The roadway is parallel to Accokeek Creek, which is a tributary of the Potomac River.

“Over the past few years, we’ve seen an increased number of work orders to the Virginia Department of Transportation for flooding and for water pumping,” Spanberger said. “We’ve seen major disruptions of about 600 residents at times, who are unable to leave their homes or get to their homes.”

Spanberger noted that parts of the road are actually sinking from repeatedly going underwater during storms.

First responders have had to rescue vehicles that have become stuck in high water and the issue has become a potential threat to public safety.

‘Get these projects done’

Buttigieg said that the funding comes from a new grant program called PROTECT — Promoting Resilient Operations for Transformative, Efficient and Cost-Saving Transportation.

This week, the Biden administration announced a total of $830 million in grants for projects across the country.

“This is the first time we’ve ever had this kind of specific federal funding to make sure that our infrastructure is better able to survive the threats that it faces,” Buttigieg said, noting that can include everything from flooding to wildfires and earthquakes.

He said Stafford County competed with hundreds of other applications and was able to secure federal funding.

“Our focus has been to get these dollars out, get these projects done,” he said.

President Joe Biden and Democrats have renewed their efforts to highlight infrastructure projects during this election year.

Polls often show public support for infrastructure improvements, but have also indicated many Americans don’t know about projects that may affect them.

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