One of the most highly-trafficked roadways in Leesburg looks to be getting a bit safer, in the area it intersects with the Rt. 15 Bypass.
On Tuesday night, the Leesburg Town Council approved two separate motions related to Battlefield Parkway. In its consent agenda, the council authorized Town Manager Kaj Dentler to move forward with a grant agreement with VDOT for funding of the Battlefield Parkway trail across the Rt. 15 Bypass.
VDOT awarded the town a $726,000 Highway Safety Improvement Program grant for the project last summer. The grant is expected to cover all of the project’s cost, except for local project management costs. According to a staff report, under the terms of the contract award, the town will administer the design and construction of the project with VDOT oversight. The funding requires the project design to begin immediately, and that construction be completed by the end of FY 2019. To comply with this, Tuesday’s motion also amended the approved FY 2017 Capital Improvements Program to accelerate the schedule for the project and the funding for it. Construction is now anticipated to start in the winter and wrap up by summer 2017.
The project will include sidewalk extension to the bypass on the west, a trail extension from the bypass to the east, and pedestrian signals and a crosswalk at the bypass.
In a separate motion, the council also unanimously approved a temporary regulation prohibiting U-turns at Battlefield Parkway’s nearby intersection with Fieldstone Drive. The regulation will be in place 3-6:30 p.m. for the next three months. During that time, the council has directed the Standing Residential Traffic Committee to study its impact.
The action is an effort to cut down on drivers using the intersection as a way to facilitate faster access to the northbound Rt. 15 bypass, an area that is heavily congested during the afternoon and evening rush hour. A staff report notes that, to avoid waiting to turn right onto Rt. 15 Bypass from Battlefield Parkway, some motorists are crossing the intersection and making U-turns at the next intersection, Fieldstone Drive NE. Drivers then proceed east back to the Rt. 15 Bypass intersection, where they make a left turn at the signal.
In conjunction with the “No U-Turn” signage, the town will also be installing “Don’t Block the Box” signage and striping at the Battlefield Parkway and Rt. 15 Bypass intersection. Signage indicating fines for this violation up to $250 will also be included.