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VDOT shows Leesburg Sycolin Road overpass

The Virginia Department of Transportation held an impromptu public meeting May 17 to allow citizens of Leesburg the opportunity to ask questions, give comments and provide suggestions to the proposed plan of the Sycolin Road Overpass of the Route 7 and Route 15 Bypass slated to be construction next year.

According to VDOT documentation handed out at the meeting, the $19.6 million project will remove the traffic light currently at the intersection of Sycolin Road and the bypass.

The project will have an overpass 0.096 miles north of Hope Parkway to 0.016 miles north of Gateway Drive. The total distance of the overpass will be 0.398 miles.

The overpass will be four lanes across (two in each direction), separated by a concrete barrier. Included on the overpass will be a sidewalk and pedestrian and bicycle path.

Jim Zeller, a Transportation engineer with VDOT’s Northern Virginia District, said the project has been in VDOT’s plans for quite some time.

“We have had this project in our transportation plan since 2000 and this is one of the top intersections in the area that needs to be addressed,” Zeller said.

A large number of citizens and community leaders came out to learn more about the project.

According to Zeller, the feedback so far had been helpful for all involved.

“From my viewpoint and what feedback I have gotten, it has been mostly positive so far,” Zeller said. “Those that have concerns with the project have listened to us and through our conversations with them they have softened their stance a little bit and they understand why we have designed it the way we did.”

After construction begins in June 2013, Sycolin Road between Hope Parkway and Gateway Drive will be closed until July 2014.

Zeller said the plans of the local governing bodies has allowed the project to go on with the infrastructure improvements around town.

“This project has been in line with the Town of Leesburg’s and [Loudoun County] Board of Supervisors Transportation plan and we feel there will be no problems during construction or after the completion of the project,” Zeller said. “The completion of Battlefield Parkway has allowed access to points west because you can take it to the Greenway and hit the bypass that way. There is no toll for the Greenway to the bypass.

“With the local governing bodies transportation plans already completed for the surrounding areas, our studies show no potential problems,” Zeller said.

Comments


They improved Sycolin by paving it more than a few years ago, then a couple years ago a shopping center was built and they reduced the speed limit to 25mph. I don’t think a 25mph road filled with lights is an equal alternative to a 65mph road without lights.

IF I were to choose to drive on the Greenway, that is how much I would pay. Instead I along with all of the other people who think the Greenway is too expensive sit in piles of traffic at lights such as Belmont Ridge on Rt. 7, which should have had an overpass when Lansdowne was built. IF I am paying taxes that are supposed to go towards transportation and roads, why should there be a private road? There should be either other private roads that can compete with the Greenway, or there should be public roads that properly support the growth in the area. Instead a lot of our tax money that should go towards improving public roads get funneled to other areas outside of NOVA even though NOVA needs it the most.

The transportation planners in NOVA clearly lack imagination, ingenuity, and an understanding of the traffic patterns in this area. I don’t care if they have degrees in transportation planning, because it’s not helping.

Oh, and thanks for the suggestion to contact Mr. Cuccinelli (that’s how you spell his name BTW). I might just do that. There is no reason not to make an attempt at enlightenment here too, even if you continue to close your ears and eyes to reality.


Your griping about “abuses” of a Law, again, sounds like sour grapes complaining. IF you believe the law if being violated, contact Ken Cuccninelli.

I don’t get your Sycolin point. Yes, Sycolin is a parallel road to the Greenway, and it is getting improved w/ this bridge separating it from the Rt. 7 Bypass, and it was greatly improved (actually, paved from a freakin’ dirt road in sections) several years ago by VDOT (tmk). And proffered development is improving it at 659. So how is that related to the Greenway??

Why are you paying $3,000 to use a private road (Greenway)?? Because you CHOOSE to. Simple. Vote with your wallet. You want more VDOT money to build roads, lobby Richmond. Attacking legislation that allowed the development of an ALTERNATIVE that you can choose to or not to use is just…pointless.


@Captain O: First of all, the shortcomings of the VA Corporate Transportation Act were not as severely abused until recently when the tolls have started to gouge taxpayers who are already paying for public roads on which to drive. And there have been more recent amendments that protect the interests of Macquarie Infrastructure Group (the Australian owners of the Greenway) more so than the interests of the affected citizens living along the Greenway. The abuses of this Act have cost taxpayers living near the Greenway the most, and transportation planners behave like they can ignore improvements to alternative roads such as Sycolin, or building new alternative roads and connections in the area.

To say that changes to Sycolin (which runs parallel to the Greenway and is one of the few alternatives to the Greenway) has nothing to do with the Act and the Greenway is plain Captain Obviously ignorant. They are, and will continue to be very much intrinsically tied to each other until awareness is improved and people ask more tough questions, and get real answers regarding how our taxes are being used to maintain the constitutionality of the Act. Example: Why am I paying the same personal property taxes if I’m also paying $3,000 a year to drive on a private road? Shouldn’t I get a $3,000 tax rebate since I’m saving the Gov’t all of that money by not driving on the public roads that our taxes pay for?


CCS - Please keep on topic to this article,which is Sycolin Road. Keep the MWAA, Kaine, DTR discussion to those articles.  You dilute any credibility you may have started with by going directly to those meme talking points. You sound like a broken record, one that is at full squeak right now.  B*tching about 1988 laws and the actions of former Governors is just sour grapes. Grow a p*ir and lobby your current politicians to change the laws you don’t agree to. It’s clearly working on the current BOS, who have reversed course from decisions(good or bad) made by the last Board.


@Captain ObviouslyNot, Living in Loudoun for 25 years, paying taxes, common sense and logic go a long way in transportation planning in Loudoun. Something VDOT, BOS and various other politicians have claimed they’d do if elected. I’m still scratching my head on why Tim Kaine gave away the toll rd to MWAA? I’m sure he didn’t have a degree in transportation planning? And I highly doubt any BOS has a similar degree(if any).


I’m not convinced that this is an improvement at all. Sycolin is one of the few East-West alternatives to the Greenway, which is way too expensive to take for my daily commute. It seems that this change will clog Battlefield parkway, and encourage more people to take the Greenway, thus making the owners of the Greenway more money.

At the risk of sounding like a conspiracy theorist, it seems like there is some corruption going on here since none of the road and development projects are giving anyone viable options to the Greenway. The Virginia Corporate Transportation Act of 1988 is what legally allows the Greenway to be privately owned, but that road is being made into a monopoly in terms of viable East-West rout options. The Act should be deemed unconstitutional unless someone can provide direct competition to the Greenway to keep the price reasonable, whether it’s public or private roads. Right now the alternatives are more like parking lots than highways.


Pictures of the proposal would have been helpful here…..John, sorry about the noise but you were naive to think the existing noise level would lessen or stay the same when you bought your house…I mean who buys a house on a major traffic thoroughfare and doesn’t expect expansion…you apparently.  I totally agree that the improvements are needed, but the traffic will clog elsewhere.  Hopefully these other future clog areas will receive money to help deal with it.


As the name implies -  public metro meetings - they are meetings for the PUBLIC to attend, view, listen, and I would assume, participate.

Delgaudio and Reid are declared No votes on this - why do you not question them in the same manner, Poor Transportation Planning.

And tell us, where did you get your degree in transportation planning, since you feel you have the ability to be judge and jury on the topic?


John,

The conceptual drawings I saw had “Potential Noise Barriers” in place on both sides of the bypass west of the proposed overpass.  Unsure of the significance of “potential” but it appears as if some noise attenuation is in the planning.


I agree with you Bill, what good is it to build an overpass if you allow more red lights? We talk about not having enough money for roads, yet we pave them every other year. They allow developers to build but don’t make them do the up front road improvements.

On another note, Why is the BOS holding public metro meetings when we know Scott York, Ralph and Shawn already have their mind made up?


@John - sorry, but the Greenway was there before you r house was built, as was the 7 bypass.  I don’t want my taxes to pay for your home improvement.  I live on a gravel road, and while it sucks, I don’t expect you or any other taxpayer to pave it, just because I want it.  I suggest selling and moving.


@John

A couple of things for you to think about:

* The Town Council had no say over VDOT.
* Leesburg cannot build a sound wall on the private property of citizens
* Dominion Power give the town money? Your kidding right?


I am not against improvements to the intersection - but this does not address a long time noise problem. I have lived here long enough to know that the county, town, and VDOT are not the brightest when it comes to planning.  I could write a book on the examples. Example 1 - When the west-bound on-ramp to the Greenway was expanded to two lanes six years ago, both VDOT, the Greenway, and the Town had no interest in working with residents to lessen the traffic noise. In fact, the guidelines for erecting a sound wall were met, however, the official response from Town Planning… ” We don’t actually go to the site to approve permits - we review and make a decision from the office”.  I am still waiting for the results of the noise study promised over 5 year ago.  We have spoken to every member of the Town Council and it goes in one ear and out the other.  I have the emails and they are the facts.  Example 2 - A large sum of $$$ was provided to the Town by Virginia Power to allow for erecting Transmission Lines along the bypass.  There was no interest in using a small portion of the $$$ to erect a small sound wall to lessen the noise. Case in point, the improvements to this intersection will simply shift more traffic noise to the Greenway.  You are living in an area where urban expansion is not controlled or properly planned.  Watch and you will learn, you have a front row seat to this nonsense.


This is great news.  My sister got in a serious car accident there in the 90s which almost took her life.  I’m glad they are deciding to do this.


John - It is better for 99% of Loudoun residents.  That intersection is a disaster. 

Unless your house has been there long enough where a 2 lane country road has transformed into a 8 lane divided highway, I am not sure what your complaint is.  Just a standard NIMBY argument.


@John

Wasn’t the highway there when you bought your house? Get used to the noise.


When am I going to have a sound wall on the bypass for Evergreen Meadows, - VDOT and the Town have no interest in improving the lifestyle - just approve and build.  Last year we get stuck with Transmission Power Lines cascading the bypass, then a sign appears next to Isaac Walton park for office buildings.  I can’t tell you how frustrating it is when this crap gets approved and the public is brain washed into thinking its for the better.


Although I am looking forward to this project being completed, I suspect that, as with other overpass projects along Route 7 in Loudoun, it will only serve to highlight a bottleneck to another location.

The Loudoun County Parkway/Route 7 interchange is a good example. After all that construction, Route 7 eastbound on a weekday morning remains as clogged as ever because of the lights at Ashburn Village Blvd. and Lexington Drive. Westbound in the evenings, although it is easier now to exit from Route 28 onto 7 West, we soon hit a slowdown at those two lights.

Once the Sycolin interchange is built and traffic moves unhindered there, what will happen? Most likely, in the mornings we’ll see backups at Route 7 and Cardinal Park Drive and Route 7 and Battlefield Parkway. In the afternoons, most of the bypass westbound will be clogged thanks to the Market St. flow onto 7.


Who needs this?  Metro will solve the problem!


Now all we need is an overpass at RT.7 and Belmont Ridge and the traffic jams will be a thing of the past.


Why no picture?


Won’t all of the people who would have normally gotten on or off the bypass at the Sycolin intersection be forced to take alternate routs that are already at capacity, thus simply moving the problem somewhere else, and effectively solving nothing?


This will speed up the bypass in that are since there won’t be any traffic entering or leaving the bypass there anymore.

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