VDOT to hold Route 7 Corridor Improvements Meeting on May 14th
On May 14, a Public Information Meeting will be held at Colvin Run Elementary School regarding the Route 7 Corridor Improvements.
Display boards and representatives from VDOT, Shirley Contracting, Dewberry Engineers and Washington Gas will be available starting at 7PM. A presentation will begin at 7:30 PM followed by a Q&A session. This is the second of two public meetings. The first was held at Forestville Elementary School on May 7th. Although GFCA is sharing the following information below, residents are strongly encouraged to attend.
The first VDOT presentation included a project overview, details of design changes, and the design build schedule. The project is currently engaged in right-of-way acquisition, which will continue through Q1 of 2021. In the areas west of Difficult Run, the project is performing shoulder improvements and will begin construction in the medians Q3 2019 (i.e. July through September). Construction on relocation of the Washington Gas Pipeline has also begun and will last through the duration of the project.
Details of the project are available at www.connectroute7.organd a new interactive map has been posted at http://connectroute7.org/learn_more/interactivemap.aspto allow you zoom in to see specific changes near your home.
Key changes include removing the partial-interchange (i.e. overpass in one-direction) at the Route 7/Baron Cameron intersection, a reduction in the number of storm water management ponds, temporary widening of Towlston Road on the north side of the Route 7/Towlston Road intersection, building new noise walls with “architectural treatments” (such as pictures of the state flower), and finally, that fewer noise walls will be built than originally planned.
GFCA continues to express serious concerns about gridlock that will be created by the removal of the partial interchange at the Route 7/Baron Cameron/Springvale intersection. Instead, an at-grade intersection will be built with three left turns to allow traffic from Route 7 to Baron Cameron. VDOT’s own Environmental Studies Documentstates that wait times at the Baron Cameron interchange will be an average of 3 times longer with an at-grade intersection instead of a partial interchange by 2040. This level of delay is likely to occur sooner since the study does not appear to factor in traffic increases caused by increasing tolls on the Dulles Toll Road and Dulles Greenway. One commenter at the meeting pointed out that there are no proposed changes to the design of the Baron Cameron/Hunter Mill intersection, which will cause the sudden flow of traffic turning left from Route 7 to back up to Route 7.
GFCA Transportation Co-Chairman Scott Knight also highlighted that there are nine full interchanges along Route 7 in Loudoun County between the Loudoun County line and Leesburg. VDOT stated that those bridges were partially paid for with proffer funds from developers. Given that the biggest increase in traffic on Route 7 is coming from those new developments in Loudoun, some of that money should be used to make up for the funding shortfall on Route 7.
Figure 1: Proposed at-grade intersection at Baron Cameron
The Stream Relocation of Colvin Run between the eastern Colvin Run Intersection and Difficult Run also raised concerns. The revised artificial channel design removes features designed to slow the velocity of water with the potential for increased flood damage downstream on Difficult Run.
For the Towlston Road intersection at Route 7, VDOT has proposed adding a third lane on the north side of the intersection. This provides a 250 foot long left turn lane to allow stacking alongside a lane for traffic going straight and making right turns.
VDOT encourages community feedback. The project website is www.connectroute7.organd the email address is email@example.com
Mark your calendar and attend this important public meeting on May 14that Colvin Run Elementary School!