With Supervisor Geary Higgins and Joe Kroboth, Director of Loudoun County Transportation & Capital Infrastructure at the June 26, 2017 Rt. 15 Public Input Meeting at Ida Lee Park.
Along with my general transportation reform efforts, I am also active in addressing local transportation needs, whether that is getting a pothole filled, getting a gravel road graded, or building a necessary interchange.
One of the biggest needs in HD-33 is for capacity and safety improvements to US Highway 15 North of Leesburg. I'm glad that the Loudoun County Board of Supervisors is moving forward with improvements, and am advocating for as much as possible to be done as soon as possible.
Unfortunately, some individuals and organizations have been blocking improvements to US 15 for decades, even as study after study showed the need for improvements.
October 22, 2018 Rt. 15 Stakeholders meeting
I attended the meeting, where the results of the Safety and Operations survey were discussed, along with updates on the Congestion project from Battlefield to Montresor and the interim project at the King St. intersection to Tutt Ln.. More information from the meeting is at the project website here.
October 17, 2018 deadline to complete Safety and Operations survey
Loudoun County encourages residents to participate in an online survey about safety and operational improvements proposed for Route 15 between Montresor Road and the Point of Rocks Bridge. The survey presents three options for consideration:
- No Build – Keep the road as is.
- Option A – Keep Route 15 as two lanes but add a median and adequate shoulders between Montresor Road and St. Clair Lane; the segment north of St. Clair Lane would remain two lanes undivided but would add shoulders to that portion of the road.
- Option B – Widen Route 15 to four lanes with a median between Montresor Road and the southern portion of the Village of Lucketts, and improve the roadway section between Lucketts and St. Clair Lane to provide safety improvements described in Option A.
Both options A and B propose a bypass around the Village of Lucketts. The survey also asks if there is a preference for the bypass to be located on the east or west side of Lucketts.
The survey is a follow up to an open house hosted by the Loudoun County’s Department of Transportation and Capital Infrastructure on September 26, 2018. The survey will be open through Thursday, October 18, 2018.
More information about the Route 15 Safety and Operations study, including links to the survey and the proposed improvement concepts, may be found at www.loudoun.gov/route15
September 26, 2018 An open house about the Route 15 Safety and Operational Study (Whites Ferry Rd to Point of Rocks Bridge) was held. One new idea presented was an possible alternative alignment for the Lucketts bypass, on the East side, rather than the West side, of the village, mostly through County-owned property (red outline). The information presented at the open house is available here: https://www.loudoun.gov/Route15 and an online "Concept Preference Survey" is available here.
September 20, 2018 - Thank you to the Loudoun County Board of Supervisors for adopting the Congestion Report staff recommendations to move the Battlefield Pkwy to Montressor Rd. project forward to design and construction. Video of the Board's consideration is available here. I spoke in favor of moving these improvements forward to design and construction (video here).
June 14, 2018 - Tonight, the Northern Virginia Transportation Authority (NVTA) approved the full $54 million funding request for Rt. 15 widening North of Leesburg to Montresor Rd., as well as the final $25 million for the Rt. 7 interchange at Battlefield Pkwy! Also, some funding was included to help with design of the Rt. 15 Bypass interchanges at Battlefield Pkwy & Edwards Ferry/Ft. Evans Rd. More information on the NVTA funding award and their $1.285 billion FY2018-2023 Six Year Program of 44 regionally significant projects is available here.
November 8, 2017- Tonight the Loudoun County Board of Supervisors adopted a staff recommendation that the US 15 widening to four lanes from Battlefield Pkwy to Montressor Rd. be made the #1 priority in Loudoun's NVTA funding request. As noted below, Senator Black and I joined numerous local residents in urging the Board to make this a top priority, so I am very grateful to the Board and DTCI staff for making this change. The Board's item on this is here.
October 19, 2017 was an opportunity to speak out on the importance of these issues. I urged the Loudoun County Board of Supervisors to prioritize the critical Rt. 15, and Rt. 9 safety and congestion projects- instead they prioritized other projects to build roads through empty fields- projects that should be funded by the developers, not taxpayers. You can watch video of my speech at the 2:58 mark of the video below.
Here's what I conveyed to the Board:
Public Comment by Del. Dave LaRock
Loudoun Board of Supervisors meeting Oct. 19, 2017
I’m here to address the urgent need for improvements to Rt. 15 North of Leesburg.
Since 1998, 7 studies have all pointed to various needed projects for safety and congestion relief.
Some improvements have been implemented but many have not
Major crashes on Rt. 15 are a very
serious problem- they are happening more frequently because a road designed for
12,000 vehicles per day is seeing close to 30,000 vehicles per day
Major crashes on Rt. 15:
- Average per year, over last 20 years, 75 major accidents per year, 24 per year with injuries, and a fatality every other year
- 103 major accidents last year
- Already this year…. 2 fatalities, 20+ more accidents with serious injuries These are more than statistics, these are people- children, parents, family members.
Let’s look at this from the
perspective of a resident who lives near and travels Rt. 15
Moving into a community, there are certain expectations of our transportation network, the same expectations any member of the board has:
- First, basic mobility: you have to be able to get to and from work, shopping, family activities, etc.
- You need a functioning road system; if your house catches on fire or you have a heart attack, first responders need to reach you
- Your home is an investment: Property values are adversely impacted by the lack of viable transportation.
If you live close to Rt. 15 there are significant periods of time when basic mobility does not exist.
How did it get this bad, obviously the
roads have not kept pace with population growth.
Some speculate that influential people who prioritize historic preservation over personal safety have stalled progress to improve this corridor.
I poked around and was pleased to find that the JTHG “Corridor Management Plan” says this:
Quoting the Plan, “The overall Byway management goal for roadway safety and wayfinding is to “Promote the creation and maintenance of transportation systems that…protect efficient, safe, and enjoyable travel through the corridor…” end quote- I’m not sure that point in the plan has gotten enough attention.
I expect this Board agrees it is important to preserve the rural character of western Loudoun:
- We have a vibrant Agribusiness, Tourism, rural economy
- We can’t have visitors sitting in traffic instead of doing what they came here for
- People leave the traffic behind in DC, Arlington, etc. and enjoy Loudoun’s beauty for rest and ralaxation.
Rt 15 north of Leesburg is a primary corridor used to access these businesses when it becomes a parking lot as it often does people’s experience is diminished or ruined
Speaking of Historic preservation and enjoyment- no one in their right mind thinks cars sitting in traffic are good for the environment or enhance the historic experience.
Regarding the NVTA Funding request:
- Glad to see Rt. 15 and Hillsboro projects here
- staff-recommended “top three” projects:
- Why are we talking about building brand new roads, when our existing roads are more accurately described much of the time as a parking lot, or a demolition derby lot?
- Please prioritize safety on existing Rt. 15 north of Leesburg, Rt. 9 at Hillsboro, and Evergreen Mills projects
I urge the Board to address safety on Rt. 15 by moving this project forward ASAP, and prioritizing it for NVTA funding.
More photos from my involvement at recent US-15 meetings:
June 29th Loudoun Transportation Summit
July 15 Public Input/ Information Meeting in Lucketts
October 25 Rt. 15 CPAM (4-lane widening Battlefield Pkwy. to Montresor Rd.) Open House
November 17 Stakeholders Meeting #3