To Speed Up Arcola Boulevard, County Turns Down Money

In an effort to get a missing link of the Arcola Boulevard built sooner, county supervisors have decided not to accept any more state or federal money for the project.

The Board of Supervisors signed off on that recommendation from the county transportation staff as part of the new Capital Improvement Program, which details the next six years of government construction projects in Loudoun.

Most of the road is being built through proffer agreements with developers expected to be done in the next 18-24 months, according to Department of Transportation and Capital Infrastructure Director Joe Kroboth. The developers of Arcola Center, Arcola Limited Partnership, have agreed to build much of the road, including a section between Rt. 50 and Loudoun County Parkway. However, the proffer commitment for that section is not expected to be triggered for several years, and it could be five to seven years before the project is complete.

Kroboth said county staff members are already negotiating with the developers to see if there’s a way to get it built sooner, exploring possible cost savings from combining that construction with other proffered work on the road. But that accelerated timeline means that the county will not be able to accept federal Smart Scale money for the road, which the developers have already designed.

“Under the federal process, which is Smart Scale, you would be forced to navigate or realign the road around environmental, historical, cultural resources to minimize and avoid any impact to those,” Kroboth said. “Because we have fixed that alignment, we cannot certify that we are compliant with the [National Environmental Policy Act] process and therefore we would not qualify for the federal funds.”

He added that county staff members “don’t like turning back funds that we’re trying to leverage from an outside agency, but in this case we simply don’t qualify for that.”

The developer estimates the work will cost $4.2 million.

Director of Management and Budget Erin McLelllan also offered supervisors on the finance committee a more general warning: As the county’s capital budget has ramped up by a billion dollars over the past decade, it has also gotten tighter and has less flexibility for new or accelerated projects. Committee Chairman Matthew F. Letourneau (R-Dulles) said if supervisors want to put new projects in the budget, they will have to find tradeoffs somewhere.

rgreene@loudounnow.com

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