Toll Road Investors Partnership LLC II, or TRIP II, the owners of the Dulles Greenway, have proposed improvements at both the east and west ends of the privately owned toll road and asked the county government to help pay for it.
At the west end of the Greenway in Leesburg, consulting firm Dewberry has proposed extending the third westbound exit lane from the Greenway past the ramp onto the Leesburg Bypass. That would effectively change the lane from an exit lane into a third lane across the Rt. 7 bridge over King Street. That change is also expected to save drivers six minutes of travel time and boost traffic speeds there from 8.5 miles per hour to almost 32 miles per hour.
But TRIP II has argued that that exit ramp, which is on TRIP II property, is off the Greenway, and has offered to partner with the county on funding the project. County transportation staff members maintain it is TRIP II’s responsibility, however acknowledge that the backup starts beyond the Greenway on the bypass. The project is estimated to cost at least $5.8 million. The Virginia Department of Transportation has indicated it does not have any funding for the project.
“That’s the standard answer for money for VDOT, ‘we don’t have any money,’” remarked board Vice Chairman Ralph M. Buona (R-Ashburn). “That’s because the General Assembly doesn’t give them any money.” He also said, “it’s wonderful to pay an over-six-dollar toll” to hit backups in the morning and evening commute.
Supervisors instructed the county staff to keep working with TRIP II.
At the east end of the Greenway, TRIP II has begun a project to extend a third eastbound lane to connect with the Dulles Toll Road. TRIP II is paying for that project, although it’s still waiting for approval from the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority, which owns the Dulles Toll Road.
Supervisor Matthew F. Letourneau (R-Dulles) said traffic at the east end of the Greenway, already bad, will only get worse when Loudoun’s Metro stops open, planned for 2020.
“So I think it’s essential that that work proceed, and that we make it clear to all the parties—including MWAA if needed—that that’s a priority for the county,” he said.
In May 2017, supervisors Matthew F. Letourneau (R-Dulles) and Tony R. Buffington (R-Blue Ridge) pushed to make sure the Greenway was living up to its agreement with the county and state, which requires that TRIP II ““shall identify and provide for appropriate enlargements and expansions to the [Greenway], including its ramp system […] TRIP II is also responsible for maintaining a minimum level of service on its road and ramps, and improving those when they get too congested. They also said the company needed to filing annual reports on its exit ramps, which had not been included in previous annual reports.
In March, TRIP II provided its 2017 report, prepared by the consulting firm Dewberry, to the county. Dewberry also proposed the improvements at the east and west ends of the Greenway.
Letourneau said the county needs to keep holding TRIP II’s feet to the fire.
“I don’t think it’s a coincidence that when the board initiated this item, within 12 months all of a sudden the Dulles Toll Road and the Greenway problem was finally being addressed, so I think daylight is a good thing on this as much as we can,” Letourneau said.
The report also found traffic on the Greenway decreased between 2016 and 2017, particularly eastbound during peak hours. The Greenway saw an 8 percent decrease in eastbound traffic between 7 and 8 a.m.
Average overall daily traffic also decreased overall, by about 6 percent eastbound and 1 percent westbound.