ASHBURN, Va. — With all of its growth and Metro’s Silver Line barreling in, Loudoun County has been working to connect missing portions of partially existing roads, to make sure its infrastructure is ready to handle increased congestion that’s expected next year.
Claiborne Parkway has now been crossed of Loudoun’s to-do list.
“This is a critical north-south connector,” said Dulles District Supervisor Matt Letourneau. “Claiborne runs all the way from Route 7 to Loudoun County Parkway, but we were missing one final piece of it.”
Letourneau and county leaders Wednesday opened the less than 1-mile stretch of four-lane median-divided roadway between Croson Lane and Ryan Road. A shared use path lines one side of the road, with a sidewalk on the other.
“It’s really important because we have Metro coming to Ashburn in a year-and-a-half, and when that happens you’re going to see a lot of congestion, and a lot of folks trying to get to the parking garages we’re building,” said Letourneau.
Letourneau said in 2012 the Loudoun County Board of Supervisors conducted a study of missing links — the Eastern Loudoun Transportation Study — “where we were identifying some big chunks of road that need to exist, but don’t, and committed to putting money into those projects when needed.”
Much of Loudoun County’s roadwork is done by developers as they build neighborhoods in what was previously farmland.
“For the first time, last year, more than half of our capital budget was going toward road construction specifically,” said Letourneau.
“It’s always (previously) been schools, and schools are certainly still a big piece, but the road network is really critically important as we get ready for Metro.”
The Metro stations will not only be a transit option for residents, they’ll also serve as the county’s main employment center, magnifying the need for a strong road system, he said.
“We’re going to have a lot of folks coming into Loudoun County, working around those Metro stations, and that means our residents have to be able to get there as well, because it will give them job opportunities closer to home than where they work today.”