Leesburg’s proposed FY2017-FY2021 Capital Improvements Program is perhaps most notable for a project that is not there after decades on the books. Road barricades and construction activity will soon be a thing of the past for the Lowenbach neighborhood.
While street improvements, traffic-calming features and landscaping enhancements are nothing new to the CIP, the Lowenbach road network has a long history in Leesburg. It is the town’s oldest residential subdivision, originally platted in 1912. The subdivision is located to the north of Edwards Ferry Road between Prince Street and Washington Street and consists of Prince Street from Edwards Ferry Road to near North Street; Catoctin Circle from Edwards Ferry Road to near North Street; Queen Street from Edwards Ferry Road to near North Street; Washington Street from Edwards Ferry Road to north of Blue Ridge Avenue; and Blue Ridge Avenue between Prince and Washington streets.
According to the town website, in 1956, the Town Council adopted its first road master plan for Leesburg, which showed plans to extend Lowenbach streets to north of the subdivision. The extension of these streets continued to be endorsed in later Town Plans including the 1974 Comprehensive Plan and the 1986 Town Plan.
In 1992, Exeter Hills subdivision, located immediately north of Lowenbach, was approved. The development plans included the extension of the Lowenbach streets in accordance with the Town Plan. But when Exeter Hills was built, several of the north-south streets within Lowenbach remained blocked by barricades because of concerns the narrow streets could not handle the additional traffic. The Town Council passed a resolution in 1995 requiring that the barricades remain on Catoctin Circle, Queen Street and Washington Street until the roads within Lowenbach were improved.
In 2004, Town Council appointed an ad hoc committee, made up of residents of Lowenbach and Exeter Hills, to address the concerns. The panel recommended that a variety of roadway, pedestrian, and drainage improvements be constructed. The Town Council approved these recommendations in 2005.
The five-phase capital project, with a total price tag of about $10 million, began with traffic circles on Catoctin Circle, which were completed in 2007. Resulting phases of the project have included other traffic-calming features, sidewalk installation, drainage and utility improvements, street widening in some areas and new curb and gutter.
And after its long history in town, the neighborhood will see an absence of construction for the first time in almost a decade. Work is wrapping up this spring, with only some tree plantings, grading, and speed hump installation remaining.