|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.