Plans for Safer W&OD Trail Crossing Advance to Funding Debate

It could cost $6-8 million to build a bridge or tunnel to safely move cyclists and walkers on the W&OD Trail across Sterling Boulevard, Loudoun Board of Supervisors were told this week.

Members of the board’s finance committee last week agreed to continue talks about the safety project when it reviews the county’s six-year Capital Improvement Program next spring.

Supervisor Koran Saines (D-Sterling) has championed the project in an effort to improve safety at the busy crossing. During the past three years, there have been 17 crashes at the trail intersection, according to the county staff. Most were described as rear-end collisions caused by motorists stopping unexpectedly for crossing pedestrians or bikes.

Addressing a long-standing safety concern, the county is building a bridge for the W&OD trail at the Belmont Ridge Road intersection as part of the overall road widening project that kicked off earlier this year.

While supporting Saines’ effort to push funding for the Sterling Boulevard project, board Vice Chairman Ralph Buona (R-Ashburn) suggested the staff begin collecting accident data at all the at-grade W&OD trail intersections so county leaders can determine where other safety concerns are evident and develop a comprehensive plan to address them.

For the Sterling Boulevard project, a bridge crossing like those typically used on the 45-mile long trail would cost $6.2 million to build. The staff also looked at a tunnel option that would avoid the need to relocate nearby powerlines; that option would cost $8.3 million.

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