Lucketts Residents Push on Rt. 15 Median Plan

Another long-awaited project finally is nearing work in Lucketts, and was the subject of a sometimes-contentious meeting Monday night.

In 2003, Congress allocated about $4 million to Rt. 15 improvements with a 10-year timeline to get a project started. Since then, about $1.4 million have been spent on studies and planning, and no project has begun. Instead, the federal government has granted an extension on that 10-year time limit—an extension which is now also nearing its end. That leaves VDOT with about $2.5 million to use or lose. The state agency has plans to use that money to build raised grass medians—“splitter islands”—just north and south of the village, along with drainage improvements.

A project with that money must be underway by April 21—or the state will have to pay back the $1.4 million it has already spent.

VDOT representatives faced questioning about why the project doesn’t do more, including building out plans for sidewalks and turn lanes. Supervisor Geary M. Higgins (R-Catoctin) said the project needs to move ahead regardless.

“We can go back and we can dig up all those bodies, 10 or 12 or 15 years ago, of which, fortunately, I’m not one of them, or we can move forward with this money that’s available now,” Higgins said.

One of the people who came to the meeting to question those plans was Democratic candidate to replace Higgins on the Board of Supervisors Forest Hayes, who suggested pushing for a second extension for the money.

“In that period of time, you’re talking more than 10 years, the realities on the ground have changed,” Hayes said. “That’s nobody’s fault. We’re just saying, let’s recognize that, let’s do something that’s actually going to be relevant and have value today.”

VDOT staff members at the meeting advised that a second extension is unlikely.

“Our thought process was … that it was preferable to do a part of the project in whole, rather than bits and pieces of it, which wastes time and money because you have to go back and do the same thing,” Higgins said. “Having said that, that doesn’t mean we can’t go back and do that.”

Feedback on both projects can be directed to the Board of Supervisors or Higgins by email; contact information for supervisors is at loudoun.gov/bos.

rgreene@loudounnow.com

4 thoughts on “Lucketts Residents Push on Rt. 15 Median Plan

  • 2019-10-01 at 5:26 pm
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    To correct Supervisor Higgins–he IS one of those “bodies.” He was fully informed on this project upon his election in 2011. For 8 years, he did nothing to acquire funds for Lucketts Safety improvements (even if they were pretty much VDOT’s widening plan instead of slowing down the traffic and eliminating safety hazards in front of the elementary school, since the 2003-07 Tulloch BoS refused to consider a lower-cost traffic calming approach). Instead, he worked to 4-lane the road for Phase 1 up to Montresor Road, and avoid environmental and historic reviews–and to preserve the Whites Ferry signal instead of a safer and more efficient roundabout. For that favor, he got a $30K SuperPAC donation at his Senate kickoff at the home of the Raspberry Falls Route 15 stakeholder. Now he refuses to own it. Correction: the federal earmark that Rep. Frank Wolf obtained for Route 15 safety was for $3 million. I have the page from the Congressional Record.

  • 2019-10-02 at 7:36 am
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    We learned something of strategic importance at this meeting. VDOT has installed and maintains a light at the Rasberry Falls and Whites Ferry intersection with Route 15 that does not consider honestly the dis-proportionate time of day traffic volumes. The maximum delay in the light changing to allow 30 seconds for the cars coming out of R.B. or Whites Ferry is 320 seconds. Consider that the relative volume of cars and trucks on route 15 going north or south is well more than 10 to 1. The continued refusal of VDOT to fix this situation even if they have to use some of this “Route 15 safety funding” is the problem! This meeting was both a sham yet a good example of how our tax dollars can be spent (in this case they already dropped $1.4 million on plans we now don’t have enough funding to even do) when the process does not start with a firmly defined problem. If elected to the BOS I will enforce a process where EVERY issue is defined in terms of fairness, efficiency and community support BEFORE tax dollars are spent on it. FIX THE LIGHTS ON ROUTE 15 NORTH OF LEESBURG APPROPRIATELY BEFORE FURTHER BURDENING THIS AREA TO YEARS OF CONSTRUCTION TRAFFIC!

  • 2019-10-03 at 5:05 pm
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    Now that we know why there won’t be a roundabout at the Rasberry Falls/White’s Ferry intersection let’s find out who we can go to above Mr. Higgins. Emailing his office takes 2 months to get a response so don’t waste your time. The elections will be over by then.

  • 2019-10-03 at 11:12 pm
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    As the Catoctin Coalition safety coordinator Martha, you and your network have been wildly successful over the past 20 plus years – at blocking any and all improvements to Route 15! And that federal money that you whine about? Well that was all part of an elaborate ruse that your network engineered at the federal level to “handcuff” any improvements by the local governments along Route 15 due to the onerous mandated strings attached to it. That small amount of federal funding of $3M was holding up ALL IMPROVEMENTS to Route 15 much to your delight. Finally, the local governing officials, both town and county, had ENOUGH of the vehicular accidents and deaths along Route 15. The officials decided to do something after the residents demanded action! You and your network have “blood on your hands” while the rest of us drive in constant fear for our lives when taking our children and family members on a perilously dangerous road each day! Shame on you Martha, no words can aptly describe the depths of shallowness you and your network have sunk. You shamelessly attack any and all persons and communities who dare disagree with your opinions – not safety facts, but your opinions. Well here is one fact you overlooked; the residents along the Route 15 corridor will overwhelmingly support candidates who support substantive improvements to Route 15 this November. Game ON!

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