Construction Opens on Project to Remove Final 2 Rt. 7 Traffic Lights

In two years, drivers traveling the 35 miles of Rt. 7 between the East Main Street intersection in Berryville and Countryside Boulevard in Sterling won’t have to deal with a single traffic light.

County, town and state leaders dug up the first patch of ground at the Rt. 7/Battlefield Parkway intersection Tuesday morning, as part of a ceremony that has initiated work on a $77.3 million project that will see the Wagman construction company transform the intersection into a grade-separated interchange and remove two traffic signals by fall 2021. Bill Cuttler, the VDOT Northern Virginia District assistant district engineer for construction,led the 45-minute ceremony, with other VDOT and Wagman representatives, Town Council and staff members and county supervisors and staffers on hand.

The ceremony came one week after county leaders celebrated the decommissioning of the traffic light at the Rt. 7 intersection with Lexington Drive in Ashburn. Since 2017, traffic lights also have been removed at Ashburn Village Boulevard and Belmont Ridge Road. That’s all part of a plan initiated in the late 1980s to make Rt. 7 a limited access highway west of Sterling. 

 The Battlefield project—which is being paid for with federal, state, NVTA, county and town funds—will cost $66 million for construction and will make the travel on Rt. 7 a little easier for the 120,400 daily vehicle trips that pass through the Rt. 7/Battlefield Parkway and Rt. 7/Cardinal Park Drive intersections.

Supervisor Kristen Umstattd (D-Leesburg) noted that level of traffic is more than the amount of traffic that passes through Winchester along Interstate 81 each day. According to NVTA Chairman Marty Nohe, also a Prince William County supervisor, the interchange will save about 3 million hours in traffic delays by 2024.

County Chairwoman Phyllis J. Randall (D-At Large) thanked Wagman and its construction crews, as well as the county staff, whom she said she’d pit against any county staff in the nation, for advancing the project. “What we are doing is adding time back to peoples’ schedules,” she said.

Leesburg Mayor Kelly Burk said the project was first envisioned by the Town Council in 1986 and that it was a testament to the town’s and county’s ability to work alongside the state on a project of such size.

“We are witnessing the power of long-range planning,” she said. “This is going to be a great project that makes a difference to the travelers.”

Without it being asked, Supervisor Geary Higgins (R-Catoctin) addressed a question that might have been on the minds of some—why he’s interested in a project that’s not in the Catoctin District. Higgins said that for anyone to travel outside of Leesburg, they first have to go through his district to get anywhere. Higgins emphasized that when he was elected to the board in 2012, the county had no money budgeted for transportation projects while the most recent Capital Improvements Program has committed $1.2 billion toward them.

In addition to the interchange, the project will also add eastbound auxiliary lanes from the Leesburg Bypass to River Creek Parkway, add second left-turn lanes from southbound Battlefield to Fort Evans Road and from northbound River Creek Parkway to Fort Evans Road, construct a shared-use path along eastbound Battlefield, and construct a sidewalk along westbound Battlefield Parkway.

Construction crews are set to mobilize on site this month. Once construction beings, Rt. 7 travelers should expect periodic lane closures during off-peak hours of the day. Those will last the entirety of the project.

Beginning in fall 2020, Battlefield Parkway will be closed between Russell Branch Parkway and the Marketplace Potomac Station shopping center entrance for about 10 months, with traffic to be detoured along Fort Evans Road to the north and Russell Branch Parkway and Crosstrail Boulevard to the south.

pszabo@loudounnow.com

By fall 2021, Rt. 7 traffic won’t exit off the highway onto Battlefield Parkway when the traffic light turns green—they’ll continue nonstop off the highway via a grade-separated interchange. [Patrick Szabo/Loudoun Now]
The spot where Leesburg Mayor Kelly Burk, Councilman Neil Steinberg, Supervisor Kristen Umstattd (D-Leesburg) and VDOT Northern Virginia District Assistant District Engineer for Construction Bill Cuttler stood on Tuesday will be a new Rt. 7 offramp come fall 2021. [Patrick Szabo/Loudoun Now]

3 thoughts on “Construction Opens on Project to Remove Final 2 Rt. 7 Traffic Lights

  • 2019-10-15 at 5:06 pm
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    A lot of money was spent on that intersection a few years back. Now. it’s a “do over”. Why wasn’t it done right in the first place? Wasted money due to lack of planning.

  • 2019-10-15 at 10:26 pm
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    When I moved to Loudoun in the 80s, there was not one traffic signal from route 7 and 28 intersection so it is nice to see it return to that status!! When we turned onto route 7 west at 28, you saw no lights at all until you got near Leesburg, probably the FAA ARTC.

  • 2019-10-18 at 3:07 pm
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    According to Merriam-Webster’s dictionary, one of the definitions of irony is “an event or result marked by such incongruity or contradiction”.

    Geary Higgins showing up in another supervisor’s district to kick-off a road project when he voted against widening to fix Route 15 in his own district is “tragic irony” because of all of the accidents and loss of life on Route 15.

    It is time to send Higgins a message that his definition of “public service” is really a “disservice to the public” and that it could cost us our lives on Route 15.

    Let’s just end the nightmare now and dump Higgins on Nov. 5th before he keeps dumping on you!

    https://dumphiggins.com/

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