The proposed Rt. 7/690 interchange in Purcellville is moving one step closer to reality.
On Monday, April 16, county government representatives will hold a public information meeting at Woodgrove High School from 6:30-8:30 p.m. to solicit feedback on designs of the $40.7 million project. Representatives from the county’s Department of Transportation and Capital Infrastructure and its design consultant, Dewberry, will give a presentation on the design and location of the interchange, answer questions and take comments.
The interchange, which would be located between the Rt. 7/287 and Rt. 7/East Loudoun Streetexits, is expected to reduce traffic congestion in Purcellville and give residents another route option when traveling to destinations north of Rt. 7.
The Purcellville Town Council has heavily supported the project since its inception. Mayor Kwasi Fraser said earlier this year that Hirst Road’s levelof service rating of “F” for morning peak hour traffic would be improved to an “A” once the interchange is complete. “The voters supported the funding of this solution and it should be pursued most expeditiously to benefit Purcellville and western Loudoun,” he said.
The Board of Supervisors initially discussed the project in 2012, when it included preparations for an interchange justification report in its fiscal year 2013 Capital Improvement Program budget. In January 2013, the board awarded a contract to Dewberry to conduct a 30 percent plan preparation design along with the justification report, which VDOT and the Federal Highway Administration approved in 2015.
More recently, as part of the final design work, Dewberry performed an inspection of the Rt. 690 bridge over Rt. 7, which showed that the existing pavement on Rt. 7 failed to meet current VDOT standards and that expanding the current bridge would provide insufficient clearance. “After months of discussions and evaluation by staff and VDOT, we concluded the lowest cost and most practical solution was to replace the bridge structure as opposed to lowering Rt.7 to provide the required clearance,” said Joe Kroboth, director of the Transportation and Capital Infrastructure Department.
Last June, the Commonwealth Transportation Board awarded the county $9.5 million through its Smart Scale Program, helping to fully fund the project. Because the program uses federal funds, the project is now required to follow federal procedures. The county will now need to adhere to the National Environmental Policy Act process by preparing documents for the state’s review that outline how the project might impact the surrounding environment.
Aside from paying for the project via state funding, bonds and revenue sharing, the county has estimated nearly $16 million to be pulled from local tax revenue beginning in the later part of this year.
The department is inviting residents to review the environmental documents, the proposed project conceptual plans, a preliminary project schedule, property impact information and right-of-way policies at the April 16 meeting or beforehand at its office in Leesburg. Comments can also be submitted 15 days after the meeting by emailing them to Greg Barnes at firstname.lastname@example.org with “Route 7 and Route 690 Interchange Project” in the subject line.
Kroboth said the county would seek an endorsement from the Board of Supervisors on the project’s design once the meeting has passed. “Following that action, the design would be completed and approvals sought,” he said.