Developers, government officials and elected leaders gathered on a bridge over Rt. 7 on Tuesday morning to celebrate the opening of an overpass, the end of a stoplight, and hopefully the end of one more traffic headache during rush hour.
They cut the ceremonial ribbon to open the interchange at Ashburn Village Boulevard.
“The significance of today is that tonight, the traffic signal beneath us will be decommissioned,” said Miller & Smith Vice President and One Loudoun developer Bill May to applause.
Supervisor Ralph M. Buona (R-Ashburn) said it’s part of an ongoing plan to get rid of stoplights on Rt. 7 from Clarke County to Countryside Boulevard near Sterling. The remaining stoplights are at Belmont Ridge Road, Lexington Drive, Battlefield Parkway and Cardinal Park Drive.
He also said it’s an example of what the General Assembly threw away with legislation restricting proffer agreements. The interchange was built as part of a proffer agreement with One Loudoun despite being off the developer’s property.
“This is a win for One Loudoun. This is a win for Loudoun County. This is a win for Loudoun citizens,” Buona said. “All because we had a proffer system, it was a win-win. We couldn’t do this today under the new proffer law.”
“This is what it should be like,” agreed Supervisor Ron A. Meyer Jr. (R-Broad Run). “This is what development should be like.”
And Supervisor Suzanne M. Volpe (R-Algonkian) said the bridge is an example of what collaboration can build.
State Delegate J. Randall Minchew (R-10) said the lesson for legislators is “we never should take tools out of the toolbox for local governments.”
The ramps for the interchange are not all complete. Those are expected open in two months. Motorists will continue to navigate temporary detours until the interchange and its ramps are completed.
Eastbound traffic on Rt. 7 will not be able to turn right to go southbound onto Ashburn Village Boulevard. Instead, drivers will detour right at Lexington Drive, turn right at Atwater Street, turn right again onto Russell Branch Parkway and then left onto Ashburn Village Boulevard.
Southbound traffic on Ashburn Village Boulevard will not be able to turn right to go westbound on Rt. 7. Drivers will need to go west on Riverside Parkway, turn left onto Lansdowne Boulevard and take the ramp onto westbound Rt. 7. Northbound traffic on Ashburn Village Boulevard will not be able to turn left to go westbound on Rt. 7. Drivers will cross Rt. 7, turn left onto Riverside Parkway, then turn left onto Lansdowne Boulevard and take the ramp onto westbound Rt. 7. Eastbound traffic on Rt. 7 will not be able to turn left to go northbound onto Ashburn Village Boulevard. Motorists will exit Rt. 7 onto Lansdowne Boulevard and turn right onto Riverside Parkway.
Miller & Smith agreed to build the Ashburn Village Boulevard interchange after the Board of Supervisors agreed to use county funds to build the Rt. 7/Loudoun County Parkway interchange that is closest to One Loudoun. Loudoun County contributed $5 million toward the cost of the Ashburn Village project, which is expected to be completed in the summer of 2018.
Also next year, construction will wrap up on the Rt. 7/Belmont Ridge Road interchange, removing that traffic light.
The Town of Leesburg and the Virginia Department of Transportation are working on designs for the Rt. 7/Battlefield Parkway interchange that will remove the final two traffic lights.
This article was updated Oct. 10 at 5:35 p.m.