Courthouse Tunnel to Require Months-long Church Street Closure

It looks to be a long couple of years for residents and commuters who regularly navigate Church Street.

The upcoming start of the Loudoun County Courthouse expansion project will require the complete closure of Church Street between Market and Cornwall streets starting in March and continuing through December.

Renee LaFollette, director of the town’s Public Works & Capital Projects Department, briefed the Town Council on the latest construction update Monday night. She said the street closure was needed to accommodate the construction of a tunnel to connect the current courthouse complex to the new District Court building that will be erected on the other side of Church Street, on the current parking lot and former jail site.

Both LaFollette and county government representatives at Monday night’s work session stressed the complexity of the project to council members. It was initially thought a full street closure would only be needed for six weeks, but once constraints such as water, sewer, gas lines and the foundation of the existing building were considered, it was determined that the closure would need to be for much longer. The tunnel will be 100 feet long, 18 feet wide, and 10 feet tall.

Although the full closure will be in effect for nine months, traffic disruptions will continue beyond that. LaFollette said that daytime closures, from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. weekdays, will still be in effect for Church Street as construction continues through 2021.

Adding to the traffic challenges downtown will be two capital projects the town is working on, with sidewalk projects on both West Market Street and Edwards Ferry Road. The West Market Street sidewalk project will require a closure of that road between Morven Park Road and Ayr Street for two-and-a-half months this summer.

The Edwards Ferry Road sidewalk project, between Dodona Manor and Woodberry Road, does not require a street closure, but construction there will compete with one of the planned routes for construction traffic at the courthouse project. LaFollette underscored the need for close coordination and communication with county staff and contractors as they navigate through these projects.

The courthouse expansion project looks to begin moving dirt next month along Edwards Ferry Road and archaeology site work. Completion of the project is anticipated for summer 2022.