Rt. 15 Meeting Brings Out Community’s Divisions

A meeting hosted by the county government on plans to alleviate congestion on Rt. 15 brought out the differences in views among the people living along that corridor.

People entering the Lucketts Community Center Wednesday evening were greeted outside the doors with protest signs bearing messages like “Loudoun B.O.S. abandons rural farms & businesses” and “Loudoun BOS votes for less safe 15.” Inside the doors, opponents to the county’s plans to widen parts of Rt. 15 had set up their own parallel meeting with a map of an alternate plan for the corridor.

People meet over a map of an alternate plan for Rt. 15. at a meeting Wednesday, Sept. 26. (Renss Greene/Loudoun Now)

Inside the county government meeting, opinions were not more reserved.

“It’s about time something’s done,” said one attendee. “And I’m sorry that these people want to live on the farms. My thing is, sell your house and go to Wyoming.”

Others worried widening the road could impact agricultural businesses in the area.

“Moving forward, we’re going to have make a determination about are we going to maintain the agriculture that we have, and the infrastructure to support that,” said another.

Susan Glass, of the county Department of Transportation and Capital Infrastructure, said the intent of the project approved by county supervisors was to “retain the rural character of the corridor.” And Supervisor Geary M. Higgins (R-Catoctin) said he has met with farmers along the road.

“Nothing is not an option,” Higgins said. “We’ve got to do something on this road to address the safety. We’ve had three fatalities in the last year and a half, and I don’t know how many other accidents.”

He also dismissed the alternative design for the corridor, which is based on work by the same engineer who designed traffic calming improvements to the Rt. 50 corridor. Higgins said he met with that engineer, Ian Lockwood, for hours, but said the designs that worked on Rt. 50 won’t work on Rt. 15 because of its heavier traffic load.

In 2017, the Virginia Department of Transportation counted an average 18,000 vehicles a day on the most congested part of Rt. 50 west of Rt. 15, near Aldie. By comparison, the state counted an average 26,000 cars a day on Rt. 15 between Leesburg and Lucketts.

East of Rt. 15, traffic on Rt. 50 scales up dramatically, reaching about 49,000 vehicles a day at Old Ox Road.

County supervisors last week unanimously voted to start designing work on Rt. 15 just north of Leesburg. Conceptually, that includes widening Rt. 15 to a four-lane divided road between Battlefield Parkway and Montresor Road, redesigning the intersection of Rt. 15 and North King Street to a T-intersection with a traffic light, and bringing Limestone School Road and Montresor Road together at one intersection on Rt. 15. They also recommended accommodating design guidelines from Journey Through Hallowed Ground where feasible.

The design was arrived at after a public input process that Glass said brought in thousands and responses at public meetings and online surveys.

The county government does not yet have concrete plans for that work. The county is also conducting a parallel safety and traffic study on Rt. 15 north of Whites Ferry Road.

Loudouners were divided at a meeting on plans to fix congestion and safety concerns along Rt. 15 Wednesday, Sept. 26. (Renss Greene/Loudoun Now)

rgreene@loudounnow.com

4 thoughts on “Rt. 15 Meeting Brings Out Community’s Divisions

  • 2018-09-27 at 7:38 pm
    Permalink

    To the moron who said something like “if you want to live on a farm, sell your house and move to Wyoming.” You were not invited to move here, jackal like developers brought you here and this county has been destroyed by people like you who came here with your New Jersey like attitudes…if you don’t like farms, you should move to Passaic, New Jersey were vermin live, maybe you would be happier surrounded by filth.

  • 2018-09-28 at 6:30 pm
    Permalink

    What a deal! State bashing. What next, attack Wisconsin? Anyway, the Board of Supervisors did the right thing by taking action to do what was needed to make improvements for safe use of Route 15 North. One can like farms, and still understand that the road had to be widened, and improved. What is sad, is that there are clearly those who refuse to understand this, and instead insist on mocking the Board of Supervisors and those who use Route 15 North and want it to be truly safe.

  • 2018-09-29 at 10:10 am
    Permalink

    Sedonacat

    I was in attendance at the meeting and heard the older woman who made this comment. She said she has lived in Loudoun over 41 years. So, while I do appreciate your sentiment, as I strongly support the protection of the rural west and farmland, she’s an “old timer”. She also made another comment about the county being full of wineries, breweries and alcoholics.

  • 2018-10-01 at 2:41 pm
    Permalink

    The bottom line is that there is no easy way to fix the traffic congestion. One of two things are going to have to happen.

    1 – Loudoun widen’s RT 15 up to the point where congestion isn’t an issue (but that’s not usually until you get into MD. Widening RT 15 would at least relieve some of the congestion. Their is no way to stop the traffic from coming. As Loudoun grows, so do those that commute from the WV and MD area. I hate it, absolutely hate it, but unless we can get other localities to stop building…there is no choice.

    2 – We need to push for RT 28 to cross the Potomac. Let all those WV and MD’s coming up from the toll and across 7 to push across their. Yeah I know there is land issues and what not, but this is really the only other options unless we look at removing the ferry and putting a bridge there as well.

    Can we just toll the MD/WV side as they come down 15 across the bridge 😛 I’m sure we’d have enough money for it as many of them that try to run me off the roads in the morning!

Leave a Reply