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Plans for Fort Evans Road interchange move forward

The snarl of pedestrian and vehicle traffic at the intersection of Fort Evans Road, Edwards Ferry Road and the Route 15 Bypass will be changing within the next few years after Leesburg Town Council voted for a new design Tuesday night.

“It’s not an easy project,” Public Works Director Renée LaFollette said.

Council voted 6-1, with Councilman Tom Dunn against, to choose the third of three options as its preference for the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) plan.

The approved plan will ramp the Route 15 bypass over both Fort Evans Road and Edwards Ferry Road. “Frontage Road” will connect Edwards Ferry Road to Fort Evans via two one-way streets: The frontage road on the east side of Route 15 will go north, while the one on the west side of Route 15 will go south. Drivers on Route 15 will have to feed onto the frontage roads to access both cross-streets.

Pedestrian crossings, in either the form of crosswalks or a pedestrian-only bridge, will provide safe access to local foot traffic.

The total project is expected to cost $101 million by its potential completion date in 2023. While it is the most expensive of the three plans, staff and citizens generally preferred the design in preliminary meetings.

One of the rejected plans would have placed Fort Evans over Route 15, and the other would have left both Route 15 and Fort Evans at the same grade.

In addition, the two sections of Fort Evans Road will not be connected. During Monday night’s work session, council expressed concern that if it were to connect the roads, VDOT would have to acquire at least two current businesses, and traffic would be diverted into residential areas.

The pedestrian crossing proved a point of discussion among council members. Councilmen Ken Reid and Dunn expressed interest Monday night in prioritizing a pedestrian bridge over the interchange construction.

On Tuesday, Councilman Ken Reid made a motion to require a pedestrian bridge in the design to ensure its quick construction, even if the interchange does not receive full funding in a timely manner.

“The public seemed to be more interested in pedestrian safety and bike crossings rather than traffic control,” Dunn added, referring to the results of VDOT’s public information meetings.

The bridge amendment died for lack of a second, but council did pass Reid’s amendment that all construction options must include pedestrian connectivity.

Now that the design preference is decided, VDOT will create an interchange justification report and work with the county to approve a final design, hopefully by mid-2018.

In other news:

-Council also voted Tuesday night to hire a lobbyist to help receive funding for the remote air traffic control tower at Leesburg Executive Airport once the tower is fully approved by the Federal Aviation Administration.


The NVTA awarded $20 million for the Battlefield/7 interchange (unsure if that covers construction, or design and planning, both, ?), announced in July 2016. Search for it on this website, article dated July 25 2016.

The Belmont Ridge intersection construction is quoted at $48 million, which includes a mile and a half of widening BRR south of the interchange.  All the roads at Battlefield and 7 are in their ultimate widths.

The pedestrian crossing should absolutely be a priority.  I see somebody get hit in this area nearly daily and eventually we will run out of pedestrians.  So maybe the crossing isn’t that important.  You know what, somebody else decide.

Without also having a plan for reducing the traffic tie-up at Battlefield and north of Leesburg on Route 15 at the same, this is a moot point.  You’ll fly past these intersections only to sit at Battlefield for 5 minutes.

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