LOUDOUN COUNTY, Va. — Four of the five intersections with the most collisions so far this year in Loudoun County are along Route 7/Harry Byrd Highway, but it’s hoped that plans for overpasses to replace traffic lights will help cut down on crashes.
Data provided to WTOP ahead of its official release show that the Route 7 intersections with Ashburn Village Boulevard, the Loudoun County Parkway, Belmont Ridge Road and Potomac View Road have each had more than 44 crashes so far this year that the Loudoun County Sheriff’s Office has responded to.
The data is through Sept. 30.
In years past, intersections along Route 28 dominated the list. Many of those intersections have since been eliminated in favor of interchanges.
The crash data and consistent congestion are two of the top reasons Loudoun leaders are moving projects forward to build new overpasses across Route 7 that would separate the busy cross-streets and allow traffic to keep flowing with merges rather than traffic lights. Many of the projects also include improvements to the roads connecting to Route 7.
“There will be a lot of pain, but there will be a tremendous gain,” Ashburn District Supervisor Ralph Buona says of all the construction that is underway or planned along the corridor in the near future.
Buona joined other members of the Board of Supervisors, members of the General Assembly and Sheriff Mike Chapman at a groundbreaking Tuesday on one of the projects at Belmont Ridge Road.
“By having this project going forward, and by having this done elsewhere on Route 7, that’s going to alleviate a lot of traffic congestion and the accidents, which actually helps us out in the long run since it’s less calls that we have to respond to,” Chapman says. “You have a light and you have a big backup and it’s constant stop and go, and people get wrapped up and they’re not paying attention … all of a sudden the light turns red, they may not realize it, and the car in front of them stops, they don’t, and they end up hitting them from behind.”
He says the majority of multivehicle crashes his department handles are rear-end collisions, often at traffic lights.
While several of the planned interchanges are still years away, local lawmakers hope to eventually speed up traffic along Route 7 by eliminating many of the traffic lights between the Leesburg Bypass and Fairfax County.
Buona is running for re-election against Democrat Mike Turner. Chapman is running for re-election against Democrat Brian Allman and Independent Steve Simpson.