Round Hill, County Break Ground on $7M Road/Trail Project

After decades of planning, work will begin in the coming weeks on a project that will improve pedestrian safety in Round Hill and give residents a safe connection to Franklin Park.

Loudoun County and Round Hill town leaders Tuesday afternoon hosted a groundbreaking ceremony marking the start of the $7.04 million Main Street Enhancement and Franklin Park Trail projects, which will connect the town with Franklin Park about 1.5 miles away and improve pedestrian safety along about a quarter mile of Main Street.

That work will be carried out by the Gaithersburg, MD-based Highway Safety Services construction company, and is slated to begin as early as August. Work should wrap up in spring 2022.

The trail project will see the construction of a shared-use trail stretch from the Franklin Park Pool west across Lakefield Road and into Lakepoint Village before meandering along the neighborhood’s existing asphalt trail, traveling through the tunnel under Rt. 7 and onto Newberry Crossing Place where it will intersect with East Loudoun Street. From there, Highway Safety Services crews will construct 4-foot sidewalks along both sides of Loudoun Street all the way to the Main Street intersection, where the trail system will merge with the Main Street project. The trail project is funded with local tax money and a Federal Highway Administration grant that originally was awarded in 2000.

The Main Street enhancement project will see crews install a sidewalk along the east side of Main Street from the Loudoun Street intersection all the way north to High Street. The sidewalk will then switch sides and continue along the west side of the road to the former W&OD railroad station, where it will connect with an existing sidewalk. Crews will also install curbs, curb ramps, retaining walls and a new storm drainage system along Main Street. That project is being funded through a separate Federal Highway Administration grant that was awarded in 2008, along with county and town tax revenue.

Present at Tuesday’s groundbreaking ceremony were county Chair Phyllis J. Randall (D-At Large), county Supervisors Tony R. Buffington (R-Blue Ridge) and Michael R. Turner (D-Ashburn), Mayor Scott Ramsey and Town Administrator Melissa Hynes.

Turner said county leaders need to stop talking about saving western Loudoun and start doing it. An avid cyclist, he encouraged residents to use the county’s existing, and soon-to-be-constructed, shared-use trails. He noted that the ongoing $350,000 countywide trail study will include the Franklin Park Trail.

Ramsey thanked prior Town Council members and town staffers for their work advancing the projects through the years, including Hynes and the four town administrators who served before her. He especially thanked former Mayor Frank Etro, who served as mayor for four terms from 2000 to 2008.

“He did so much,” Ramsey said of Etro. “I’m just happy to see this project come to fruition.”

Ramsey also thanked Buffington for helping to obtain project funding through the past five years. He concluded by apologizing to residents in advance for the frustration they might experience throughout the next 18 or more months as construction crews work in the town.

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