County supervisors have agreed to a design for a roundabout at the intersection of Rt. 9 and Rt. 287, getting one step closer to acting on one of the most backed-up crossroads in Loudoun.
“The light at 287 and Rt. 9, you can sit there for a half hour,” said Supervisor Geary M. Higgins (R-Catoctin).
The proposed roundabout will have two lanes in each direction on Rt. 9 and one lane in each direction on Rt. 287, which will also mean widening Rt. 9 to four lanes for 0.16 miles to either side. The roundabout will also be built 100 feet east of the existing intersection to allow traffic to continue to flow during construction.
Supervisor Tony R. Buffington (R-Blue Ridge) pointed out the hybrid design—with two lanes in one direction and one lane in the other—has been done before, at the Gilbert’s Corner intersection of Rt. 15 and Rt. 50, although it was later changed to a one-lane configuration by the Virginia Department of Transportation.
Department of Transportation and Capital Infrastructure Preliminary Engineering Manager (and former VDOT employee) James Zeller said that was because the roundabout “almost worked too well.”
“You had very clear lines of sight, very straight approaches in all directions, so during off-peak times like the middle of the day when there wasn’t a whole lot of traffic, motorists were hugging the curves in the roundabout,” Zeller said—speeding through the roundabout and causing accidents.
The design was shaped in part by efforts to reduce the amount of land disturbance and limited right-of-way the county would have to purchase. Although county staff members and consultants are still working on cost estimates, the project is expected to cost $20 million—more than the $14.5 million already allocated or spent. The last $13.3 million allocation in the existing budget is scheduled for the current fiscal year, meaning the project can move ahead immediately.
Supervisors endorsed the design unanimously.