HEALTH

Residents at 395 ramp express concerns over possible environmental hazards

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Mary Hasty moved into the overlook subdivision in Alexandria knowing her home would be next to 395. But she didn't sign up to be neighbors with a hot lanes ramp and its potential environmental hazards.

She shares her concerns with other homeowners and nearby communities.

“The ramp is going to cause such a concentrated level of pollution that's not only going to affect our neighborhood but dozens of neighborhoods throughout Fairfax County and Alexandria,” Hasty says.

Construction on the ramp is already underway on 395, north of Edsall Road at Turkeycock run. With work on track to be finished by the end of 2014, residents say they need to see more assessments from VDOT before the project moves ahead.

“They were required to do local studies of the impact of their project on this community and they did not do any of those studies,” Hasty says.

“In 2011 we did an environmental assessment for the entire project which included the northern terminus. So we received approval of that assessment from federal highway in December 2011 which included the air quality analysis as well and that analysis showed that the project impacts did not exceed the EPA requirements,” says John Lynch of VDOT Megaprojects.

Community members say they requested data on a more localized study plus information on alternate sites, but coming up with nothing, they took matters into their own hands and paid $70,000 for their own study.

They hired an air quality firm for answers.

“Every single part of this map for several miles around is in exceedance of nitrogen dioxide standards that EPA says is unsafe for humans to breathe, one hour or less,” Hasty says.

VDOT plans to take a closer look at these findings.

“We want to address their concerns and see why there's a discrepancy between the results of our study done in 2011 and their study completed in late 2012,” Lynch says.

Next Saturday, residents will be holding a morning rally in their neighborhood, at the Stevenson Avenue cul de sac hoping their concerns will reach both state and local officials.

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