Transportation, planning and Board of Supervisor officials held a meeting Aug. 30 to go over proposals for a new interchange at the intersection of Route 50 and Loudoun County Parkway. Over 50 area residents attended the meeting at Liberty Elementary School in South Riding, while many more are expected to stay engaged in the progression of this latest construction project in an increasingly congested section of the county.
After weighing several design options, leaders behind the project have narrowed down the choices for the new construction to either a “Full Clover” design or a “Half Clover.” Each has its own pros and cons said Department of Transportation and Capital Infrastructure transportation planner Marc Dreyfuss. The Full Clover eliminates traffic lights and presents a more complete solution to the traffic problems in the area. It also will take up more space, which could impact future development in the impacted areas.
Conversely, the Half Clover has stop lights, but allows more space. Not surprisingly, with less construction involved, the Half Clover also costs significantly less. Based off initial estimates, Dreyfuss said the Half Clover would cost between $150 to $215 million, while the Full Clover could cost between $212 to $300 million.
Dreyfuss also said estimates could change dramatically as the process continues. The land hasn’t even been surveyed yet, and these findings, as well as more formal plans, could help the county better understand costs.
The two proposals will go before the Board of Supervisors at its meeting on Sep. 20. The board will likely endorse one of the two, which play a major factor in which design is approved.
“Your instinct initially is to build the full cloverleaf, but it is a complicated story and the more that people see that, the more they see both sides,” said Supervisor Matt Letourneau of the Dulles District. “What we’re weighing here is a max project which we know will handle the project… versus a solution that is better than the existing condition by a lot.”
Letourneau said the project will be funded by a combination of funds including the Virginia Department of Transportation, regional transportation groups and potential the Dulles Airport Authority. A key to getting the project approved is balancing the needs for the project with what is most likely to get funded by these respective groups, Letourneau said.
The Route 50-Loudoun County Parkway Interchange still has several years before completion, in large part due to a backlog of other construction projects statewide and specifically in the area, which has seen a huge influx of new residents and developments in recent years.
“People around here are frustrated because they’ve looked for various improvements, specifically the Route 50 widening project, and they haven’t seen a lot of improvement, and that’s because of the level of growth that we’ve had,” Letourneau said.