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Thursday, May 26, 2011

House passes bill to delay Mark Center relocation

The dreaded traffic nightmare expected around the BRAC-133 project at at the intersection of I-395 and Seminary Road in four months may be delayed.

The U.S. House of Representatives approved legislation May 26 to allow the Defense Department to delay the move-in date for the BRAC-133 project under construction at the Mark Center site for up to a year. The measure is part of the National Defense Authorization Act. The Senate is expected to take up its version of the bill next month.

The Mark Center site will house 6,400 Defense Department employees. They are scheduled to move into the complex Sept.15.

Local residents, along with people whose commute takes them near the Mark Center, have been concerned about the traffic nightmare ahead if the project opens on schedule before the necessary road and infrastructure improvements are implemented.

The bill passed by the House also includes an amendment proposed by Rep. Jim Moran that would cap parking at the Mark Center site to 1,000 spaces to ease traffic congestion until the transportation improvements are in place. 

A report released by April 20 by the inspector general of the Department of Defense found the Army failed to carry out the necessary environmental reviews and traffic impact analyses before proceeding with the project.

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