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Mapping Out Road Improvements for County

Commonwealth Transportation Board member Leonard ‘Hobie’ Mitchel presents supervisors with exhibit of future transportation projects.

Though these road projects are already approved in the state’s Long Range Plan, Leonard "Hobie" Mitchel mapped them out to give the Board of Supervisors a running start.

Mitchel, a member of the Commonwealth Transportation Board that annually approves the plan, presented the Eastern Loudoun County Transportation Exhibit to the Transportation Committee on Jan. 12 and to the full board on Jan. 20. The exhibit maps out segments of roadways that the county could design and construct or begin constructing in the next four to six years to improve traffic congestion in Leesburg and to the east.

"We have a very serious transportation issue in Loudoun County. Congestion is getting worse, and we have a number of road projects that we need to get done," said Supervisor D.M. "Mick" Staton, who asked that the Transportation Committee discuss road issues and invited Mitchel to make his presentation. "It’s an ambitious plan, but frankly for the first meeting, I wanted to start off by getting a broad overview of what we’re looking at and how we’re going to go about it."

THE BOARD of Supervisors gave their unanimous support but requested Mitchel provide the Transportation Committee with a written description of the eight projects depicted in the exhibit. In February, the board plans to adopt both the map and the project descriptions. The projects include:

* Finishing the proposed interchanges along Route 28 and widening the roadway from six to eight lanes from Route 625 to Route 50. The project is under a Public Private Transportation Act (PPTA) proposal and is funded through the Route 28 taxing district and various governmental entities.

* Constructing Route 606 as a six-lane divided roadway from the Dulles Greenway to Loudoun County Parkway, a project that will provide the last section of a 30-mile beltway around the Washington Dulles International Airport. The roadway currently has two lanes.

"It’s a matter of widening that road to handle the traffic that would happen there. It’s really an important piece for economic development in Loudoun," Mitchel said.

* Finishing Loudoun County Parkway from Route 7 to Braddock Road and turning it into a four-lane divided roadway including a two-lane gravel section south of Route 7. The project could be funded through a proffer agreement and finished within five years, Mitchel said.

* Turning Route 7 into a limited access roadway from Route 28 to Leesburg and building the intersections at Loudoun County Parkway, Ashburn Village, Lansdowne Boulevard and Route 650 as interchanges.

* Completing Route 659 from Route 7 to the Prince William County line.

* Widening Route 50 by two lanes to six lanes from Route 659 to Route 28.

To help implement and fund the projects, Mitchel recommended the county establish rules and procedures for the various financing options that the county can access. "You can’t fund transportation, whether its transit or roads, with one pot of money," he said.

THE BOARD of Supervisors directed staff to gather information and guidelines for the financing options, which include Public Private Transportation Act (PPTA) proposals, Community Development Authorities (CDA), design/build projects that are built privately with public funds and designated Telecommunication Network Corridors. At its meeting, the Transportation Committee asked staff to provide information on the proffers and financing alternatives the county can use for the segments and on their status in the state plan.

"We are not expecting the taxpayers to pick up the tab for [all] of these projects," Staton said. "This board is looking in new directions to finance our infrastructure."