The Route 7 Task Force, a group made up of 15 business and community representatives and created by state Sen. Mark R. Herring (D-Loudoun), submitted a report last week to state and local government officials proposing seven steps to alleviate traffic congestion along the crowded Route 7 corridor.
As Loudoun County’s population has grown at a blistering pace in the past decade, the effects on Route 7 — a busy commuter route that stretches from downtown Alexandria to Winchester — have been tremendous, officials say.
Traffic problems have sparked fears that gridlock could hinder Loudoun’s economic development by discouraging businesses and residents to move to the area. Intersections along Route 7 have also proved to be among the most dangerous in the county in the past decade; last year, there were 75 crashes at Route 7 and Potomac View Road, and 65 crashes at Route 7 and Belmont Ridge Road, according to the report.
Concerns expressed by residents and members of the business community prompted Herring to form the task force in September, with the goal of proposing solutions to help ease congestion along Route 7 between Leesburg and the borders of Fairfax and Loudoun counties, according to a statement by Herring’s office.
The group had eight meetings between September and March and heard testimony from county, state and local officials, as well as transportation interest groups, traffic engineers and residents.
The plan, “Seven for Seven: Getting Loudoun Moving,” outlines seven proposals to help address Route 7 traffic, including funding the Route 7 and Belmont Ridge Road interchange, an overpass at the Route 7 and Sycolin Road Overpass, as well as other improvements and road widening along the corridor.
“Creating community consensus and bringing together those who have worked separately toward the same goals for years was one of the objectives I had for the Route 7 Task Force at the outset,” Herring said in a statement. “I am proud to say that we have accomplished that goal.”
Copies of the Task Force’s plan have been sent to state Transportation Secretary Sean T. Connaughton, Virginia delegates Joe T. May (R-Loudoun), Thomas Davis Rust (R-Fairfax) and Thomas A. “Tag” Greason (R-Loudoun), the Loudoun County Board of Supervisors, Leesburg Mayor Kirsten C. Umstattd and the members of the Leesburg Town Council.
Herring’s office said in a statement that the task force will continue to advocate for the recommendations outlined by the plan and will focus on supporting local and state officials in efforts to secure state or federal funds to address the top priorities identified in the report.
The plan is available at www.markherring.org.