$53 Million Approved For Loudoun Roadways

By Arianne Aryanpur
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, January 17, 2008

The Northern Virginia Transportation Authority has approved more than $53 million in funding for road and transit projects in Loudoun County over the next two years.

The projects include an interchange at Edwards Ferry Road and the Route 15 Bypass in Leesburg, the widening of Route 15 in southern Leesburg, an interchange at Route 7 and Belmont Ridge Road and land acquisition for a park-and-ride lot in Sterling.

The Loudoun improvements are part of a $392 million regionwide transportation spending plan the authority approved last week, using taxing powers granted by the General Assembly to generate the funds.

All of the projects, however, are contingent on the authority prevailing in a case brought last week before the Supreme Court of Virginia, in which the Loudoun County government and a group of prominent conservatives and anti-tax activists are challenging the authority's right to raise taxes.

As part of the Route 15 project, for which the authority allocated a total of more than $9 million in fiscal 2009 and 2010, the portion of the roadway between Evergreen Mill Road and the Leesburg town limits will be widened. The road will be expanded from two to four lanes and a median of about 5,800 feet will be built, said Calvin Grow, transportation engineer for the Town of Leesburg. Grow said construction will begin in 2010 and end in 2011.

Construction of the interchange at Edwards Ferry Road and the Route 15 Bypass will be allocated $2.5 million over the two years. Grow said the project will lessen congestion and, by providing a pedestrian trail, reduce the danger of pedestrians trying to cross the bypass. Because the project needs additional funding, it is not expected to begin until 2015, he said.

The authority allocated more than $19 million for the interchange at Route 7 and Belmont Ridge, one of two remaining interchanges needed to complete a series of grade-separated roadways on Route 7 between Leesburg and Route 28. The money will be used to purchase right of way in the southwest quadrant of the intersection and relocate utilities, according to the authority.

The panel also approved more than $15 million to extend Pacific Boulevard, a Route 28 frontage road, from Dresden Street to Sterling Boulevard. It said the extension would complement other projects designed to improve traffic flow in the Route 28 corridor.

Construction of a collector road in Purcellville, running from Route 690 to Route 7, is to receive $3.8 million. The road will allow motorists headed for the Route 7 Bypass to avoid the congested downtown area.

A Route 50 traffic-calming project in Aldie received $1.5 million. The money will be used to fund sidewalks, rural splitters, landscaping and on-street parking.

The authority allocated nearly $2 million to acquire land for the 300-space park-and-ride lot to serve Sterling and Ashburn.

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