County officials discuss upcoming transportation projects
The transportation bill will generate $816 million annually for the completion of backlogged and unfunded transportation projects. The bill will generate more than $300 million yearly to improve mobility and safety in the area.
Northern Virginia Transportation Authority has recommended funding from 70 percent of its funds for five projects in Loudoun – three in roadway and two in transit.
In Loudoun County, proposed roadway projects to be addressed in fiscal 2014 include the expansion of Belmont Ridge Road between Portsmouth Boulevard and Hay Road; Route 28 Hot Spot Improvements at Sterling Boulevard and the Dulles Toll Road – widening from six lanes to eight; and the design of the Edwards Ferry Road at the Route 15 Leesburg Bypass Grade Separation.
Transit projects in Loudoun include the acquisition of land for the Leesburg Park and Ride and the addition of two new transit buses.
Tony Howard, president of the Loudoun County Chamber of Commerce, asked York to urge the NVTA to make the Bi-County Parkway a priority as soon as possible.
“The Bi-County Parkway is clearly a project of significant regional importance and the type of project the General Assembly had in mind when it adopted 2313,” Howard said. “By connecting major employment populations in Loudoun and Prince William Counties, the Bi-County Parkway will help reduce traffic congestion in our region, a region that is home to Virginia's fastest growing and economically vibrant communities.”
Dwight Dopilka, a resident of Leesburg, also suggested another project that would greatly reduce traffic coming into Leesburg on Route 7.
“One of the projects I think is more important than the Sycolin flyover is the Belmont Ridge and Route 7 Interchange,” Dopilka said. “Having traveled Route 7 frequently to get to work, that is a major bottleneck. I see it is on the schedule, but if there is any way to expedite that and make it a priority that would be beneficial.”
Construction at the interchange at Belmont Ridge Road and Route 7 is scheduled to begin in fall 2014 with funding coming from both the state and county.
In response to Dopilka, York pointed out he would like to see that interchange sped up as well, but there are hang ups in the process.
“I would like to see it sped up very dramatically, in fact the funding has been there for several years now. But with that project, the paperwork is just enormous and it just befuddles me how come it takes us too long to get paperwork done,” York said. “Somewhere, Richmond needs to really examine this because not only does it cost more the longer it takes, but you are also costing the time of the folks who are having to use that intersection right now sitting in all that traffic just for paperwork.”
NVTA will hold a public meeting on projects June 20 at Fairfax City Hall beginning with an open house at 5:30 p.m.
For more information on projects and funding, visit novaauthority.org.