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    Local lawmakers split on Dulles Access road plans

    The VDOT-recommended proposal, Alternative 3C, would expand Route 50 between Northstar Boulevard and Loudoun County Parkway (Route 606) by creating two lanes in the median of 50 that would essentially become “express lanes” for traffic en route to the airport.
    Loudoun lawmakers want Virginia Department of Transportation officials to take their time and closely consider all options for the planned Dulles Air Cargo, Passenger, and Metro Access Highway, commonly referred to as the Dulles Access Road, and the local legislators are split on which of those options is the most sufficient.

    Aiming to enhance transportation options for local residents and air cargo traffic to the Dulles airport, VDOT and the Federal Highway Administration have proposed several options for construction of a limited-access roadway west of the Dulles airport.

    The proposal recommended by VDOT in April, Alternative 3C, would expand Route 50 between Northstar Boulevard and Loudoun County Parkway (Route 606) by creating two lanes in the median of 50 that would essentially become “express lanes” for traffic en route to the airport. Of those two lanes, one would be for eastbound traffic and one for westbound traffic, and Route 50 would become limited access, with interchanges built at Northstar Boulevard, Gum Spring Road and Route 606. In order to accommodate the median lanes, Route 50 would need to be expanded on each side.

    This alternative is opposed by state Del. David Ramadan (R-87th) and Loudoun County Supervisor Matt Letourneau (R-Dulles), who represent the area and say VDOT has identified at least 10 existing businesses that would be significantly impacted or relocated completely because of the construction.

    Letourneau says the VDOT-endorsed option “will provide virtually no benefit to residents” and put “us through years of more pain.”

    A different proposal, known as Alternative 2 and supported by Ramadan and Letourneau, would provide a connection between the “unbuilt section” of Northstar Boulevard on the north side of Route 50, across to Route 606, with an entrance to the airport near the existing Evergreen Mills Road-Route 606 intersection. Alternative 2 would be a new, four-lane road similar to Loudoun County Parkway, according to Letourneau.

    But three members of Loudoun's state delegation – Dels. Tag Greason (R-32nd ) and Randy Minchew (R-10th ) and Sen. Jennifer Wexton (D-33rd ) – say Alternative 2 should be stricken from consideration because of its “nonconformance” with the county's transportation plan. In a recent letter to Tom Fahrney of VDOT, the lawmakers, who instead support Alternative 3C, also stated the cost of Alternative 2 “appears to be grossly underestimated.”

    A Board of Supervisors-initiated public hearing on the Dulles Access road will be held June 2 at 7 p.m. at Briar Woods High School.

    The Board of Supervisors is expected to select its preferred option for the road in the next couple months, after which the Commonwealth Transportation Board will decide which alternative, if any, to proceed with.


    Contact the writer at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

    Comments

    Why does the airport deserve such special treatment? Why would so much money be spent, and so many commuters be affected by the airport’s desire to do more business?  Further, what percentage of people on the road at any point in time is actually going to the airport, vs. commuting to work, or to a mall, or to a movie theater, or to friends, etc.? Maybe 1 in a thousand? Any taxpayer money, or representative’s time, would be FAR better spent on improving east/west traffic flow.  This whole idea is not making sense to me.  From what I can see, this should be a non-starter. 

    Perhaps I’m missing some information (I am out of the loop on this).  If so, pls enlighten me.  As far as I can tell, we shouldn’t be picking which option he hate the least, but rather should be asking why money and elected official’s time is being spent here at all.

    If it does go however, I sure hope/expect that the airport is paying for it - 100%.  I don’t want a single penny of taxpayer’s money going towards it.  If so, then it seems to me that every other business should have the right to ask for improved traffic patterns so their businesses can prosper as well.


    Hi David, I found a link to Alternative 2. I completely agree with mosborn; Alternative 3C sounds pretty horrible!

    http://southriding.net/images/content/static/Alternative_2..jpg


    Where is the picture of Alternative 2?


    “Alternative 3C would expand Route 50 between Northstar Boulevard and Loudoun County Parkway creating two lanes in the median of 50 that would essentially become “express lanes” for traffic en route to the airport.”

    Great. So traffic to this new airport entrance is going to have dedicated lanes for a half mile. But prior to those short dedicated lanes, all of that additional traffic is just going to be funneling on to Rt 50? So we’re really just adding more cars to an already overburdened Rt 50, except for that last few blocks. Where we’ll have to deal with a new merge.

    Alternative 2 removes airport traffic from Rt 50 almost entirely. Less cars on Rt 50 = a win for those of us who are forced to commute on it.

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