On the same day Gov. Bob McDonnell unveiled his statewide transportation legislative agenda for the next five years, Loudoun County’s Dulles South Alliance met to discuss several relevant topics, including transportation, at their monthly meeting.
The DSA sat listening to updates from Supervisor Janet Clarke (R-Blue Ridge) and School Board member Jeff Morse (Dulles) as well as Julie Leidig, provost from Northern Virginia Community College.
Also addressing the group was the President of the Northern Virginia Transportation Alliance Bob Chase and Assistant County Administrator for Loudoun County Charles Yudd.
Both Chase and Yudd highlighted local and regional transportation issues as traffic has become a major problem in the Dulles South area and along the Route 50 corridor.
Access roads like Gum Spring Road and Braddock Road are often overflowing with commuter traffic during rush hour.
Chase talked about the immense growth Loudoun has seen over the last two decades and its impact on transportation.
“When you talk about transportation in Loudoun, it is important to remember that 20 years ago, there were about 86,000 people in the county. Now, there is approximately 350,000 people,”Chase said. “Twenty years from now, who know how many people will call Loudoun County home. Possibly close to 500,000. It is important to remember past, present and future when talking about transportation in the county.
“Like economic development, transportation is an investment, not a cost,” Chase said.
Chase outlined a rather lengthy list of missing transportation links for the county, particularly a bi-county parkway and a tri-county parkway.
The bi-county parkway will provide a limited access parkway, much like Fairfax County Parkway, connecting two of the fastest growing communities in the nation, Loudoun and Prince William. The transit corridor will connect Route 234 to I-66 in Prince William County to Route 50 and then via Route 659 Relocated to Route 7 in Loudoun County.
This corridor would prove beneficial to passengers and cargo headed to Washington Dulles International Airport from the south, west and north.
According to Chase, work trips will increase 41 percent by 2030.
In June 2012, Virginia’s Commonwealth Transportation Board approved $5 million for preliminary engineering and design for the bi-county parkway in the fiscal 2013 - fiscal 2018 six-year Improvement Program.
The tri-county parkway has been discussed since the 1980’s.
According to the project description, its alignment runs from the Prince William County Parkway or Route 234 Bypass west of Manassas near Godwin Drive, north through the northwestern sector of Fairfax County and southeastern Loudoun County to the Loudoun County Parkway, in essence linking the Manassas area in Prince William County to Washington Dulles International Airport and Route 7 in Loudoun County.
In May 2011, the CTB voted to make a corridor connecting Route 7 to I-95 and Route 1 in Prince William County. The Commonwealth decided to make the Bi-County Parkway its most immediate priority.
Chase emphasized at the close of his remarks that the state is trying to catch up, but it doesn’t have the monetary means to produce these projects that are needed so desperately to alleviate these major traffic concerns.
“Virginia lacks the money to build the best solutions, to build key improvements and build performance based projects emphasized in state plans,” Chase said.
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