Loudoun Plans for New Potomac Bridge

As county supervisors gathered to hash out the county’s transportation questions, one thing was clear: they feel it’s time for a new Potomac River bridge.

Supervisors voted unanimously last week to add in the Countywide Transportation Plan a statement of the board’s support for a new Potomac River crossing. That river crossing would be east of Goose Creek and Leesburg.

Supervisors also directed the county staff to identify potential corridors for a bridge route. This year’s draft TransAction document from the Northern Virginia Transportation Authority suggests connecting to Rt. 28.

Speaking at the board’s June 29 transportation summit, David Birtwistle, CEO of the Northern Virginia Transportation Alliance, said “decades of study document a clear need” for a new bridge. He referred back to a raft of studies laying out a plan for more river crossings—back as far as 1950, before any current member of the Board of Supervisors was born. Birtwistle said it’s time now to make bridges a regional priority, and start working on finding a route and getting right-of-way.

Although the idea of a new bridge has been studied time and again—Birtwistle highlighted nine of those studies—the idea has never gained momentum, attributable in large part to resistance from Montgomery County, MD.

But Supervisor Geary M. Higgins (R-Catoctin) said, “I believe that the critical mass of support for this is there.”

Studies have shown broad support among residents on both sides of the river for a new bridge, with relatively few in opposition.

“Looking at some of those maps that have been drawn many, many years ago, if we’d done some of the things that are on there, our traffic situation would be a lot better,” Supervisor Koran T. Saines (D-Sterling) said.

And County Chairwoman Phyllis J. Randall (D-At Large) said she was concerned about environmental impact, but considering all the time cars spend idling in traffic now: “I have to think that the environmental impact of not having this bridge is probably far more harsh than having the bridge.”

The idea also garnered public support at the summit from Will Turner, chairman of the Economic Development Advisory Commission’s ad hoc bridge committee, and the Loudoun County Chamber of Commerce.

“This takes political will, and in my view that political will has not been there for the last 40 years,” said Vice Chairman Ralph M. Buona (R-Ashburn), who introduced the motion to include a bridge in the Countywide Transportation Plan. “No matter where you put it, there’s going to be some people that are upset, but at the same time—I always talk about the greater good. This is the greater good on steroids. This crossing would help hundreds of thousands of people in the region, and that’s not exaggeration.”

rgreene@loudounnow.com
@RenssGreene

3 thoughts on “Loudoun Plans for New Potomac Bridge

  • 2017-07-04 at 12:33 pm
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    .Re the BoS 9-0 vote supporting a study of prospective Potomac River bridge crossing sites:
    What a loaded exercise! No public input! Zero, zilch I mean none. One might suspect this was coordinated behind closed doors (collusion)?
    Randy Minchew’s first love seems to be eminent domain. He would pave all Loudoun if it would help business interests and the Chamber of Commerce.
    Why limit the area of survey to east of Goose Creek? Why is Rt 15 beyond consideration? Maryland is prepared to accommodate a crossing there. And why is River Creek Parkway not mentioned? It seems a logical route. The county owns much of the property and the parallel power line easement makes it a perfect choice.
    I noticed Buona’s motion did not include that road, as I do believe it’s in his district and would tee off his voters. Buona, the one who brought us Metro and the Hounds Baseball Park at One Loudoun! Now there’s two good reasons against providing his views any credibility!
    This meeting of the BoS demonstrates just how parochial county politicians can be. Major undertakings such as a bridge across the Potomac transcend the narrow interests of Loudoun Locals. It is properly a matter for regional , state, and federal officials.

  • 2017-07-09 at 4:49 pm
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    As I recall the Silver Line was supposed to be a great boon to the job market here in Loudoun County this according to Ralph Buona, how did that work for us.
    The baseball park passed 9-0 and was expedited by Ralph Buona and friends. They can’t build a minor league baseball park but hold a carrot out and say we will build a stadium for the Redskins if we just have a bridge across the Potomac.
    Instead of widening 15 North for 31 million they want to spend 11 billion for a bridge, not to relieve traffic congestion but you guessed it as a economic force on steroids, yikes!
    The zombie apocalypse will cause a need for the bridge because of a dirty bomb possibly being used in Washington D.C. and normal people needing a evacuation route this was told to us by you guessed it Ralph Buona, c’mon man! Next item on Ralphs Agenda, Godzilla!

  • 2017-07-14 at 6:56 pm
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    From Lawgh 12/15
    I am not surprised that Mr. Meyer is attempting to re-write his statements at a recent breakfast for “Loudoun leaders” (read, developers). After all, when you go so far as to state you are turning over your voting to developers, why wouldn’t that attract the attention of the press, or the public. It will be interesting to see how Mr. Meyer votes on these developer projects (or who, perhaps, is raising his hand “yes” for him).

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