When the Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) commission announced plans to move 22,000 civilian employees to Fort Belvoir, I warned the plan called for moving too many people to the Engineer Proving Ground, that the Fairfax County Parkway needed to be completed before workers moved to Belvoir and that the present plan left too many workers with no choice but to drive on already-clogged roadways.

The Army has begun to see the wisdom in these predictions. Under an agreement settled Thursday between the Army and the state of Virginia, the Army has agreed to limit the number of employees deployed to EPG to 8,500, to oversee completion of the Parkway and to locate some employees at the GSA Warehouse adjacent to the Springfield-Franconia Metro/VRE station.

Since the Army announced its plans for Fort Belvoir, I have been concerned they were trying to put too many people onto the Engineering Proving Ground. Left unchecked, the original plans would have led to unacceptable traffic congestion. That’s why I have been working to make the GSA warehouse property available to the Army. This is good news; it shows the Army sees the wisdom in what we have been saying all along.

Furthermore, 8,500 is somewhat of a magic number for the number of employees to be deployed to EPG. It represents the number of workers moving with the National Geospacial Agency. The NGA is the cream of the crop in terms of high-tech agencies whose jobs this area can ill-afford to lose. Moreover, it’s a 24-hour operation, which means all 8,500 people won’t show up at the same time. In fact, reports suggest NGA has the flexibility to begin and end work shifts at hours that don’t fall within traditional rush hours.