Traffic is flowing through downtown Middleburg again, to the relief of town businesses and residents.
Construction crews are wrapping up work on the final segment of the Rt. 50 Traffic Calming Project and a major utility line upgrade that had the town’s main street and sidewalks dug up and detoured throughout the year.
Now that the dust has settled, Washington Street’s new streetlights, crosswalks and other traffic calming features are fully on display.
The project began, in concept, in the late 1990s when a citizen group pressed state and federal leaders to employ traffic calming measures on Rt. 50 between Upperville and Gilbert’s Corner, rather than build a bypass that had been advocated by some planners. That citizen campaign resulted in federal funding to support a demonstration project that included the Gilbert’s Corner roundabouts and streetscape work in Upperville, Aldie and, finally, Middleburg.
In Middleburg, the traffic-calming project was managed by VDOT. The work included replacing a 2,200-foot water line, installing curb extensions and brick crosswalks, and removing and replacing the town’s old street lights. The total project cost was just more than $4 million.
The town managed and funded the eastern portion of the waterline project—about 1,100 feet—which accounted for almost $412,000 in improvements to the town’s water system. The work involved replacing a line and adding a new loop in the system, which improved water pressure in the area.
Completing that project was a good example of “cobbling it together,” according to Town Manager Martha Semmes, who noted the town worked with VDOT, the county and local nonprofits to assemble the different funding components to complete the project.
But where there’s a will, there’s a way, Semmes said. The town put in about $489,000, including $50,000 for the street lights contributed by Middleburg Beautification and Preservation Inc. Another $13,272 came from a Middleburg street light fund established with the Community Foundation for Loudoun and Northern Fauquier Counties.
The county government put in $1.79 million, while VDOT contributed the remaining money, including funds from a transportation alternatives grant the town secured.
And, Semmes noted, despite the inconvenience to customers and business owners alike, which the town tried to minimize as much as possible, “we are now receiving compliments from local citizens, as well as visitors, on the project—which is good to hear after such a disruptive project.”
The town will hold a formal celebration in early November to mark the completion of the projects.