It was a packed gymnasium at Leesburg Elementary School Thursday night, where residents learned more opinions improve traffic flow at two of the town’s busiest intersections.
The project to address traffic congestion, enhance pedestrian connections and make safety improvements at the intersections of Edwards Ferry Road and Fort Evans Road on the Leesburg Bypass does not yet have a construction date—or construction funding for that matter. However, the design of the project has been underway for the better part of the past year, and Thursday night’s meeting marked the second time the public has been asked to weigh in on the project design. VDOT engineers hope to have the design endorsed by both the Loudoun County Board of Supervisors and Leesburg Town Council by later this year, or early 2018.
Three options were presented to residents last night, with a $20 million cost differential among the three options. Although the layout of the Edwards Ferry Road improvements does not change in each option, different configurations for improvements at Fort Evans Road are shown.
The different Fort Evans Road alternatives are:
Alternate A, an at-grade right-in/right-out, with a pedestrian bridge across the bypass for a cost of $79.7 million;
Alternate B, a grade-separated interchange, with Fort Evans Road going over the bypass, at a cost of $96.3 million;
Alternate C, a grade-separated interchange with the bypass crossing over Fort Evans Road, at a cost of $100.9 million.
Slack Lane resident John Burnham called Alternate A “a non-starter.” He cited the lack of ability to turn left from Rt. 15 South onto Fort Evans Road as a problem both for local residents and those coming from Maryland to visit the Leesburg Corner Premium Outlets.
Nathan Place resident Kimberly Kidwell had similar concerns. She said she goes to the Home Depot off Fort Evans Road multiple times a weekend and the difficulty in accessing the road from Rt. 15 made Alternate A her least favored option. Kidwell voiced support for Alternate B, as she said she didn’t believe Alternate C offered much more to justify the extra cost.
Plaza Street resident Dave Torraca is also a fan of Alternate B. He said he is still concerned about pedestrian access through Rt. 15 with all the options presented.
“No matter how you do it, it’s still going to be dicey,” he said.
Anyone who was not able to attend Thursday night’s meeting still has a chance to weigh in, as public comment via mail or email will be taken through March 16. More information can be found at http://www.virginiadot.org/projects/northernvirginia/route_15_interchange.asp.