The Town of Leesburg continues to chip away at transportation chokepoints within town limits and several major road capital projects are coming to a close.
Capital Projects Manager Tom Brandon updated Loudoun Now on the progress of several major road projects within the town.
South King Street Widening
Construction of the second phase of the road-widening project, between Masons Lane at the town’s southern corporate limits to Greenway Drive, is set to kick off this spring. This 0.9-mile stretch will complete the road-widening project, with the first phase from south of Greenway Drive to the Evergreen Mill Road/Governor Drive intersection completed in 2013. In addition to a wider road to address the congestion on Rt. 15/South King Street, the project also will tie into improvements at Virts Corner and the Battlefield Parkway/Meade Drive intersection, as well as add connectivity to the bike/walking trail network.
Sycolin Road Widening
The final phase of this four-phase project is under design, Brandon said, with the expectation of beginning construction in the fall of 2017 and wrapping in the winter of 2018. The fourth phase involves widening from south of Tolbert Lane to the town’s corporate limits. Previous phases of the project have involved widening in the Battlefield Parkway intersection and the Tolbert Lane intersection. Also, the extension of Hope Parkway in the area has improved traffic flow.
Battlefield Parkway – Rt. 15 to Dulles Greenway
Set to begin construction this spring, the town has not yet come to agreement with all affected property owners in terms of right of way acquisition, Brandon said. Hopes are to have that resolved by next month, with the worst case scenario being that town staff would need to get the Town Council’s permission to acquire the land and easements through condemnation. The project includes construction of a 0.7-mile segment of Battlefield Parkway on a new alignment between South King Street and Evergreen Mill Road; and widening of the existing Battlefield Parkway to four lanes between Evergreen Mill Road and the Dulles Greenway. A future, as yet unfunded, project would widen Evergreen Mill Road from the town’s southern corporate limits to South King Street. A combination of Virginia Department of Transportation and Northern Virginia Transportation Authority funding has been requested from the county for that project. While design on that is expected to begin in the next six months, Brandon said it would be at least four years before that project begins construction.
While there has certainly been progress on the town’s road network, two interchange projects remain at the top of the town’s wish list for funding.
Leesburg Bypass/Edwards Ferry Road Interchange
An interchange at this active intersection hopes to solve the problem of traffic back-ups in the popular retail area, as well as provide safer access for pedestrians attempting to cross the highway. The project also will include the bypass’ intersection with Fort Evans Road near Leesburg Corner Premium Outlets. Brandon said the $2 million the town recently received from the Northern Virginia Transportation Authority will be enough to begin preliminary studies of the project. A kick-off meeting on the project was recently held. “We’re just at the early stages; we aren’t real sure how much [the interchange project] is going to cost at this point,” Brandon said. The project will be administered by VDOT, he said.
Battlefield Parkway/Rt. 7 Interchange
Brandon said the construction of an interchange at the intersection of Battlefield Parkway and Rt. 7 has been identified by Loudoun County as an “extremely high priority” now that construction on interchanges at Rt. 7’s intersections with both Belmont Ridge Road and Ashburn Village Boulevard is underway. The contracts for that project would be administered by VDOT and Brandon said that project is at a very early stage, which no projected budget or potential start dates as of yet. How the project is funded also remains an important question.
Rt. 15 North
While these current and future projects hope to remove anxiety from those commuting in and around the town, Brandon said the town staff continues to hear the most complaints about the area of Rt. 15 North leading to Maryland. Brandon said both the town and VDOT have done studies in that area that conclude that the backups are the result of congestion problems outside the town’s limits.
“Until those problems are addressed there’s not a lot the town can do,” he said.