While plans for work on Rt. 15 north of Leesburg have drawn more attention, county supervisors on July 19 approved long-awaited plans for both short-term and long-term improvements on Rt. 15 south of town.
The board first commissioned a safety study of the road in June 2017. Supervisors first heard the results of that study in February, sending the study to committee for further discussion. Last week supervisors endorsed the recommendations in that study 8-0-1, with Vice Chairman Koran T. Saines (D-Sterling) absent.
Analysis of five years of crash data, from 2014 to 2019, found crashes most common on Fridays, late afternoons and weekends, especially at the intersections with Rt. 50 and Braddock Road. In the near term, the study recommendations include clearing vegetation to improve visibility, new signage, rumble strips, speed enforcement areas and eliminating a passing zone south of Braddock Road.
In the longer term, county staff members and supervisors will work to find room in the county’s capital improvement program for an estimated $44.2 million in projects. Those include, in priority order, roundabouts at Braddock Road and Old Carolina Road; at Hogback Mountain Road; and at Lime Kiln Road; turn lanes at the entrance to Quattro Goombas; improvements to the roundabouts at Rt. 50 and at Howser’s Branch Drive; turn lanes at New Road and Mountain Road; and a left turn lane from Harmony Church Road to Mt. Gilead Road.
The current capital budget includes some money the Braddock Road roundabout already. That project was estimated at $14.5 million; $6.7 million is already set aside for the roundabout only with Braddock Road, but additional funding will be needed to also incorporate Old Carolina Road as recommended in the study and approved by supervisors.