Worries, Divides Remain on Rt. 15 Plans

A virtual public meeting June 23 on the county’s plans for Rt. 15 north of Leesburg showed the divides that remain among people living nearby.

The county has begun work amending the Countywide Transportation Plan on Rt. 15 between Montresor Road north and the Point of Rocks bridge. It is the latest in ongoing work on the road. The county in 2018 approved a comprehensive plan amendment covering Rt. 15 from Leesburg to Montresor, upgrading plans for the road from a two-lane, local access, undivided rural road to a four-lane median, divided road.

The new proposed plan would see shoulders and a shared-use path added to Rt. 15 between the bridge to Chestnut Hill Lane; a median, shoulders and path added between Chestnut Hill Lane to the village of Lucketts; and a four-lane, median-divided road with shoulders and a path between Lucketts and Montresor. The county also is planning on a bypass around the Lucketts core along with traffic calming and streetscaping measures in the village and roundabouts at Montresor and Spinks Ferry Road, with New Valley Church Road being realigned to connect to the Spinks Ferry roundabout.

Those plans got very different reactions from those participating in the virtual meeting last week—ranging from individuals asking for less or even adding toll plazas to Rt. 15, to people asking for a road that looks more like a highway. And some argued county planners have not done enough to gather public input.

“There’s low-income communities in that area which you seem like you are not planning to engage,” Martha Polkey said.

“It certainly seems that there is a theme this evening about more involvement with the village of Lucketts,” said Gem Bingol of the Piedmont Environmental Council. “The idea of a comprehensive look at the land use and transportation issues is really critical, and it hasn’t really been done.”

She warned widening the road could invite unwanted development, as well as impacts to Lucketts businesses.

But County Chair Phyllis J. Randall (D-At Large), who was in attendance, pointed to the long process of meetings on Rt. 15 so far.

“I don’t think it’s fair to say or correct to say that there hasn’t been just huge amounts of public involvement,” she said.

For now, Randall said, it appears that Rt. 15 will remain one of the few ways to cross the Potomac River, and Maryland officials have historically shown little interest in widening the road on their side of the river. Randall said she has gone to Maryland to meet with officials four times to ask about studying a new bridge, “and it has been a consistent and incredibly loud no.”

And, she said, although there have been possible indications of changing attitudes on that among some Maryland residents and chambers of commerce, “if that change is real, it has not reached the elected officials in Maryland.”

“What the chair has heard from Maryland officials is consistent with what others of us have heard: Maryland is so far not budging in its opposition to another river crossing and there has been no advocacy from Maryland’s local officials to widen or replace the Point of Rocks bridge,” agreed Supervisor Kristen C. Umstattd (D-Leesburg), who also attended.

More information on the ongoing comprehensive plan amendment is at loudoun.gov/route15CPAM.

7 thoughts on “Worries, Divides Remain on Rt. 15 Plans

  • 2021-06-29 at 5:01 pm
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    The 15 corridor really is a conundrum. It is overloaded right now, but you know darn well Randall and Umstattd will approve more housing along the corridor as soon as capacity is added, if not sooner.

    If we could trust our elected officials (and we can’t), widening 15 would be a no-brainer. As it is, people are right to question whether this will beget more development (it will).

  • 2021-06-29 at 11:20 pm
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    Why is it that Maryland proves over and over that they are smarter than Virginia? It is so apparent because they know that putting a new bridge at the end of Route 15 to cross the Potomac at Point of Rocks would only invite rampant development and Frederick County will look like the hodgepodge poorly designed mess that is Loudoun County. Next time you land at Dulles if your plane comes in from the north, look out at the pristine farmland of Frederick and Montgomery County and the radical change once you cross the Potomac. It is shocking and sad. Do you realize that in some “western” papers over the years, when they look at development, they cite Loudoun as “lousy done” county? They show Loudoun’s innocuous growth and chuckle at the crammed in apartments and houses between the river and Dulles Airport. It is not a good look and is why Maryland is smarter than VA, in so many ways. Route 15 is a mess because of past BOS clueless drones who allowed unchecked development like Selma, Potomac Crossing and Raspberry Falls etc. Instead of looking at the ramifications of such housing, and how it would affect Route 15, they just plopped down house after house, and now we pay for it. We have no one to blame but our own greedy BOS and the developers who cater to them. Now, the “leaders” want to fix Route 15, but there are few choices left, sort of like closing the barn door after the horses are out.

  • 2021-06-30 at 4:03 am
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    These great thinkers want to add a bridge at Route 7 and Route 28 into Maryland, tell me what bridge you know that does not increase and become overloaded within 5 years of opening. Turning Dulles Airport into a cargo hub increases big rig traffic through sensitive areas. See the proffered baseball park, gone, see the golf course, gone, see the erosion on the runs and Potomac, gone yet Randall wants a bridge. She may be an administrator but proves daily she isn’t much of a Chairman.

  • 2021-06-30 at 10:06 am
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    Every section of RT15 that gets 4 lanes makes the RT17 RT15 route that much more attractive an option over I495.

    Look at a map Raspberry Falls residents- they’re building an outer beltway by a different name

  • 2021-06-30 at 11:33 am
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    The main worry for the elected officials is how much money they can get from the developers for their next campaign.

    Build it and they will come.

  • 2021-06-30 at 1:25 pm
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    I am a yellow dog Democrat but I will join the chorus of right wing cranks when it comes to pointing out what an empty-headed leader Phyllis Randall proves herself to be…over and over.

  • 2021-06-30 at 5:36 pm
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    Well the road to development is probably going to have an effect on several folks and businesses. the trailer park in Lucketts. Consider it gone. Little Rock Motel. Gone. Most other roadside markets, gone. The BOS isn’t going to be satisfied until RT 15 is a four lane divided highway. Imagine all of the new traffic lights between Leesburg and the Point of Rocks bridge when both sides of the road are taken by eminent domain.

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