Letter: John Adams, Lucketts

Editor: Our Board of Supervisors on Sept. 20 will be making an important decision—whether to begin 4-laning Rt. 15 north of Leesburg for 3.5 miles to Montresor Road at a cost of $81.million, leaving 7.5 miles of the remaining roadway to the Potomac River unaltered.

This decision, if made, will essentially avoid making desperately needed safety improvements for 7.5 miles such as widening and hardening grass shoulders on both sides of the road and eliminating bottleneck lights at Raspberry Falls and the Village of Lucketts.  In place of lights, the county could install well designed and engineered roundabouts with slip lanes at all major intersections at a cost far less than the $81.million.

To begin 4-laining only 3.5 miles of this heavily traveled roadway without correcting the needs over the entire 12-mile road to the Potomac River is like starting to solve a problem with no solution in sight because Maryland does not plan to build a new bridge in the next 20 years. We are stuck with a two-lane bridge for the foreseeable future.

Meanwhile, 20,000+ daily drivers on Rt. 15 north will continue to face safety hazards on this roadway beyond Montresor Road, the point where the 4-lanes are projected to stop, if, as expected our board votes to proceed with this taxpayer boondoggle.

These desperately needed safety improvements over the entire 12.0 mile stretch of Rt. 15 north could be accomplished in the near future with existing funds with plenty of taxpayer dollars left-over!   Folks—it costs a lot of money to 4-lane any existing highway, especially a Rt. 15 north with approximately 120 private entrances to the road—all of which will have to be restricted to right turn only access, or side roads constructed to get these local residences to the nearest intersection.

There is also a lot of extra expense associated with 4-laning a road through a geological formation known as karst.  Rt. 15 goes right through the Karst Overlay Zone established by the county after many wells in Raspberry Falls were contaminated with construction of a golf course in that area.  Ask any traffic engineer who has had experience designing a roadway through such a geological formation.

It appears the supervisors are about to choose a direction with no solution in sight. A taxpayer boondoggle would best describe what is apparently now “cooked in” to the decision making process.  A decision that threatens to work against all the money taxpayers have spent with the County supporting rural economic development in the Rt. 15 north corridor.

If the board votes to begin the 4-laning process on Rt. 15 north at an estimated cost of $81 million, one has to wonder how we are going to protect western Loudoun from further development under the updated Comprehensive Plan.

We get Rt. 15 north 4-laned, then Rt. 9 west—what a developer dream formulae. Bad decisions made now on major roadways will have unfortunate land use impacts in the future, including discouraging rural economic development. Let’s hope the board has enough common sense not to repeat this mistake with Rt. 15 north.

John Adams, Lucketts

5 thoughts on “Letter: John Adams, Lucketts

  • 2018-09-09 at 10:00 am

    The best part of the whole soap opera is the Astroturf developer/roadbuilding group masquerading as a group of concerned citizens.

    You can read daily contributions to their blog (not that they allow comments) explaining why traffic circles don’t work, why we should build a 4 lane road that terminates at a 2 lane bridge regardless of the obvious issue, and why the sensible traffic solutions that worked well on major roads (RT 50/RT 15) won’t work a few miles north… on the very same road!

    This astroturf group, that unlike every other local organization that’s transparent and open and been working on our local issues for decades, prefers the opposite- like touting VDOT figures for future traffic counts that those of us who’ve lived here a long time know to view with great skepticism.

    Keep up the battle Mr Adams- the project is a taxpayer boondoggle (The State of Virginia is responsible for roadbuilding, not Loudoun taxpayers!) but the citizens in the North will be stuck with the superhighway WTC masquerading as a local road.

    Developer have been dying for a Western Beltway (WTC) for years. I’ll bet quite a few of your neighbors have no idea of the old plans shelved so many times to build one right through Luckets?

  • 2018-09-09 at 1:16 pm

    Thank goodness we have an upcoming vote this September on the Route 15 North solution. Then we can move on after that from the ludicrous arguments made by those who do not want to see a safer Route 15 North. Too many lives have been lost, and many more will be lost, until the widening of Route 15 North happens. Those who are trying to derail these necessary improvements really should be ashamed of themselves. To not see reality, is stunning. Anyone who regularly drives on Route 15 knows how dangerous it is, and so lets do what is right, and get it done. So, thank you, Supervisors Umstattd and Higgins, for finally getting this done.

  • 2018-09-09 at 4:31 pm

    John, your essay underscores the pitfalls you perceive in the proposed solution, but you do not offer one of your own. Please explain your position in this thread about what solution you support.

  • 2018-09-09 at 10:39 pm

    Now that the winds of change have turned on them, it’s really rather entertaining to watch the desperation of these groups who have been blocking all improvements to 15 for decades now come out and say that they want widening and safety improvements for the whole corridor (just not the section with funding approval, imagine that). Mr Adams very deceptively states, using language straight out of the Catoctin Coalition’s handbook, that improving this first 3.5 miles means that the northern half is ignored. Simply not true. This is phase 1.

    Pay attention folks. The same couple of people belonging to the same special interest group are writing all these letters to the editor with half truths and downright deception and then commenting support for each other in a futile attempt to once again stall progress being made on Route 15 improvements which are supported by vast majority of the public.

    If you’d like to know the real story and read data supported articles on why these people should be ignored, visit our website and join us on Facebook. Unlike what Ms Renshaw states above, comments are welcomed on our Facebook page. Come and enjoy seeing the opposition attack the messenger instead of disputing the facts.

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