Jenni McCord 703-259-1779
Michael Murphy 703-259-1757
Oct. 27, 2015
MAJOR IMPROVEMENTS TO ROUTE 7 CELEBRATED
Truck-climbing lane, safety and operational improvements
LEESBURG―As construction reaches its final days along Route 7 west of Leesburg, Virginia Department of Transportation, state and local officials cut the ribbon this morning on $36.4 million worth of improvements designed to increase safety and ease congestion from West Market Street to Route 9.
“This project is so much more than a widening,” said Shirlene Cleveland, VDOT Design-Build Program Manager for Northern Virginia. “The improvements here not only benefit commuters, but also improve safety for the communities adjacent to Route 7 as well as the many Washington and Old Dominion trail users. We are also happy to deliver a project with features and aesthetics—retaining walls, roundabouts, plantings and trail improvements—that truly complement this landscape.”
While the event marks the project’s completion next month, most of the improvements have already opened to traffic in recent months, including:
• The primary improvement, a third lane westbound from West Market Street to Route 9, opened in late August and is designed to help slow-moving vehicles climb the steep incline and relieve a major traffic chokepoint during the afternoon rush.
• Relocation of the W&OD Trail, which opened at its new alignment in late September. Trail users no longer have to cross Route 9 at Dry Mill Road, as a new 80-foot long tunnel now carries them under the interchange.
• Modifications to improve safety for drivers accessing communities along Route 7, including reconfigured medians to reduce turn conflicts, new acceleration and deceleration lanes, and new side road connections:
o A modified intersection at Roxbury Hall Lane with a dedicated, barrier-separated left turn lane from westbound Route 7 and improved right-in, right-out access with acceleration/deceleration lanes on the eastbound side.
o The extension of Fort Johnston Road connects Alysheba Drive, Farm Market Road and Leeland Orchard Road. As a result, Leeland Orchard Road access could be closed, and Farm Market Road is now a right-in, right-out turn from westbound Route 7. Fort Johnston Road accesses eastbound Route 7 only.
o A new road segment completes the connection of neighborhoods along Beechnut Road. Hidden Gap Road is now a right-in only from westbound Route 7, and access for Beechnut Road at Route 7 is closed.
o A new turn lane from eastbound West Market Street to the westbound Route 7 on-ramp is expected be complete next month.
• The final piece, a pair of roundabouts designed to improve traffic flow and ease delay along Route 9 and the interchange with Route 7, are scheduled to open to traffic by the end of November this year.
The overall project was awarded to the design-build team of Shirley and Dewberry in fall 2013, with construction beginning at the end of June 2014. Work on the climbing lane and at the Route 9 interchange involved moving an immense amount of earth—almost 250,000 cubic yards—to make room for the widening, trail tunnel and roundabouts. Crews also laid an extensive length of storm drain and are placing a significant number of plantings. Pollinator-friendly plantings in the roundabouts and wildflower seeding mix in the gore areas of the Route 9 interchange, in particular, will create a favorable environment for bees, butterflies and other pollinators which are vital for Loudoun County’s agriculture. Incorporating these pollinator-friendly plantings was in partnership with the Loudoun Beekeepers Association.
With the bulk of traffic impacts complete, drivers can expect some daytime lane closures and traffic shifts on Routes 7 and 9 as crews finish details on the roundabouts, plantings, paving and other final items.
Route 7 carries about 70,000 vehicles a day through the project area.
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