Loudoun Co. struggles to ensure roads match population growth

CHANTILLY, Va. — Driving straight through the Washington region’s fastest-growing county sometimes seems difficult or impossible because of its networks of mismatched road configurations, even on the roadway bearing the county’s name.

“Loudoun County Parkway has had a chunk missing, right in the middle, which has made it impossible to get from one end of the county to the other,” said Supervisor Matt Letourneau, R-Dulles, in a WTOP interview.

“It’s kind of been emblematic of the challenges a fast-growing county like Loudoun faces.”

Thursday marks the first morning carrying traffic on the just-completed mile-long segment and intersection at Old Ox Road, which enables drivers to drive from Braddock Road in South Riding, across U.S. 50, past Arcola and Brambleton, through Ashburn to Virginia Route 7.

Letourneau said Loudoun faces the same challenges of other fast-growing counties.

“Roads get built in stretches by developers, in fits and starts, depending on the housing market,” he said.

The Dulles North and Dulles South regions of the county are home to 90,000 people.

“The road infrastructure has just not kept up to be able to handle that degree of population growth,” Letourneau said.

For several years, Loudoun has been recognized as the wealthiest county in the United States, but roadways serving new neighborhoods often go from new four-lane roads to dirt roads within a matter of miles.

“Oftentimes it’s because a particular residential housing project was required to build a road to a certain point, and then it simply ends,” Letourneau said.

Letourneau said Virginia has not provided state money for these kinds of roads for many years.

“So, the Board of Supervisors decided in 2012 to start devoting 2 cents out of our tax rate for roads and transportation infrastructure.”

In 2012 Letourneau and Board of Supervisors gathered a list of roads with missing links.

Projects in the works include completing Tall Cedars Parkway, which runs parallel to U.S. 50 through the Stone Ridge and South Riding neighborhoods, and Claiborne Parkway, which will allow drivers to travel from Lansdowne to the Loudoun County Parkway.

Neal Augenstein

Neal Augenstein has been a general assignment reporter with WTOP since 1997. He says he looks forward to coming to work every day, even though that means waking up at 3:30 a.m.

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