Loudoun County supervisors have signed off on a list of 10 highway projects, plus creating ADA-compliant bus stops, to send to the state to compete for funding.
That is narrowed down from 19 road projects and two transit projects. The county and can submit up to 10 roadway and 10 transit projects to compete for funding in the state’s Smart Scale program, which targets projects that reduce the number of crashes, relieve congestion, improve access to jobs, address air quality and environmental concerns, and promote economic development.
Loudoun’s road projects include extending Shellhorn Road between Loudoun County Parkway and Sterling Boulevard; widening Rt. 7 between Rt. 9 and the Dulles Greenway, Croson Lane from Claiborne Parkway to Old Ryan Road, Belmont Ridge Road from Shreveport Drive to Evergreen Mills Road, Northstar Boulevard from Tall Cedars Parkway to Braddock Road; improvements to the Rt. 50 corridor between Northstar Boulevard and Pleasant Valley Road and Rt. 15 between Montresor Road and Point of Rocks Bridge; and constructing roundabouts at Rt. 50 Roundabout and Trailhead Drive, Rt. 15 and Braddock Road, and Braddock Road and Trailhead Drive.
The county will also ask for funding to build Americans with Disabilities Act-compliant bus stops across Loudoun. A recent study found that nearly 90 percent of the county’s 339 bus stops are not compliant with that law, which sets out requirements for handicap accessibility. That work is expected to cost anywhere from $2.8 to $4 million.
Supervisors also signed off on a letter from County Administrator Tim Hemstreet to state Secretary of Transportation Shannon Valentine endorsing the $100 million Rock Hill Road Bridge project. That project would connect Loudoun and Fairfax counties with a bridge over the Dulles Toll Road just west of the Innovation Center Metrorail station, near the Center for Innovative Technology.
That project has already been awarded $20 million from the Northern Virginia Transportation Authority, and Fairfax County is expected to ask the state for a further $30 million. Loudoun and Fairfax have each already contributed $500,000 toward a feasibility for the project.
With some regional transportation funding stripped away from the Northern Virginia Transportation Authority to send to Metro, Loudoun leaders have said the rest of the state may feel that funding impact in the form of more money from statewide programs going to Northern Virginia projects. Loudoun Board Vice Chairman Ralph M. Buona (R-Ashburn) said he expects Loudoun projects to score well in Smart Scale evaluations.
Last year, Loudoun County submitted 23 projects totaling more than $592 million to Smart Scale. The Commonwealth Transportation Board recommended funding seven of them, totaling nearly $81 million.
Smart Scale rankings are not binding on the state’s funding decisions. In 2016, the first year of Smart Scale rankings, the Commonwealth Transportation Board opted not to fund the Northstar Boulevard connection from Shreveport Drive to Rt. 50, despite the project ranking high enough compared to other projects.