Driving a car from the Greenway to Route 7 can be a tiresome experience. Winding roads congested with traffic can be frustrating or even the most skilled drivers. This will soon change with the completion of the Claiborne Parkway project, which is scheduled to open a major part of the extension by the end of the year.
As it is now, Route 659 and Ashburn Road, also known as Route 641, are the only two thoroughfares that extend from the Greenway to Route 7. It is suspected that the extension of Claiborne Parkway will have a positive impact on traffic flow.
"It will provide another way to and from Route 7 and relieve pressure on 641," said George Phillips, Transportation Planner for the Office of Transportation Services.
ACCORDING TO PHILLIPS, upon completion of the Claiborne Parkway, the portion of Ashburn Road, which intersects Route 7, will be closed and removed. The stoplights will be taken out and a cul-de-sac will be placed just past the Telos Corporation building. This will make the necessary room for the Claiborne interchange — a series of ramps connecting Claiborne to Route 7.
According to Danny Davis, assistant to Supervisor Lori Waters (R-Broad Run), the first part of the extension should be finished by October. "This is a part of the County Wide Transportation Plan," said Davis.
Fueled by private money from Toll Brothers, the extension is being built in two parts. The first connection traverses the Washington & Old Dominion Trail by Trail Side Park and connect with Gloucester Parkway. This section will be complete in October. The next connection will run north past Gloucester Parkway to Russell Branch Parkway, and on to Route 7.
WHILE DECREASING traffic will make it easier on the busy commuter, this project will also have a great effect on safety in the Old Ashburn area. Unlike the wide parkways that run through most of Ashburn, Ashburn Road is viewed as dangerous and incapable of handling the recent increases in traffic.
"That one [Ashburn Road] in particular is an issue," said Kraig Troxell, public information officer for the county Sheriff's Office. "There is a bend in the road, a line of stores and the W & OD Trail. It's somewhat of a blind spot."
Most notable is the intersection of Hay Road and Ashburn Road. According to the Sheriff's Office, there have been 10 accidents at that intersection since the beginning of the year.
"It ranges from property damage accidents to some personal injury accidents," said Troxell.
This intersection has been noticed by the Board of Supervisors and progress has been made to alleviate the danger. With help from the Virginia Department of Transportation, safety signs have been added and a double yellow line has been extended — however traffic is still a concern.
With the extension of Claiborne Parkway to Gloucester, this will provide more direct routes for drivers, and in turn, take the pressure off of Hay Road.
"Anything that will help alleviate the amount of traffic will greatly reduce not only cars, but hopefully accidents," said Troxell.