Monday, October 28, 2013

Governor McDonnell Announces VDOT, Loudoun, and Airports Authority Partner to Widen Route 606

The main toll plaza of the Dulles Greenway
The main toll plaza of the Dulles Greenway (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
$106 million, five-mile widening begins in 2014

DULLES - At a ceremony this morning the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT), Loudoun County, and the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority (MWAA) celebrated their partnership to jointly fund and deliver widening Route 606, a critical commuter link between Route 50, the Dulles Greenway, and Route 28 in Loudoun County.

            Speaking about the project, Governor McDonnell remarked, “This partnership will make Route 606 safer and ensure that motorists and commuters reach their destinations more quickly. Once complete, it will mean easier, less congested commutes for Virginians on a vital transportation link.”

“The need for added capacity and safety improvements on Route 606 is clear,” said Virginia Transportation Secretary Sean T. Connaughton. “This partnership project will ensure the road can handle current and future traffic volumes, and provide easy access to Dulles Airport, the future Route 606 Metro station, the Dulles North Transit Center as well as the Sterling, Herndon, and Ashburn business centers.”

Under the partnership, VDOT will contribute about $40.5 million, Loudoun County, approximately $41.2 million; and MWAA, about $24.4 million. Subject to approval by its Board of Directors, MWAA will contribute 56 acres of land, valued at approximately $12 million, on which most of the widening would take place. The total cost of the project is $106.1 million.

“Improving Route 606 will enhance transportation options for commuters, business and visitors,” said MWAA President and CEO Jack Potter. “This project will help bring opportunities to all residents and businesses in the area, including the airport.”

“Securing funding to widen Route 606 has been one of my top priorities during my first term in Richmond,” said Delegate David Ramadan (87th District).  “As a key component of the Dulles Loop, 606 plays a vital role in the region's economy.  I'm pleased to see cooperation between VDOT, Loudoun County, and MWAA on this important project, which will benefit Loudoun commuters and Dulles Airport.”

“I’m extremely happy that we are able to move forward with this project to improve Route 606,” said Chairman Scott K. York of the Loudoun County Board of Supervisors.  “Route 606, which is a bottleneck now, is a vital link that connects the Dulles South communities with the northern part of the county. Improvement of this road from two lanes to four lanes will be a tremendous relief to both commuters and business that depend on this route on a daily bases.”   Chairman York added, “I want to thank both the Virginia Department of Transportation and the Metropolitan Washington Airport’s Authority for partnering with the Loudoun County Board of Supervisors, thus making it possible to move forward with construction.”

Dulles District residents and businesses have been plagued for years by severe congestion on Route 606,” said Loudoun County Supervisor Matt Letourneau.  “This project will bring much-needed relief to my constituents who spend far too much time on this road.  Widening 606 was identified as the top transportation priority by the Board of Supervisors, and I'm eager to get this project underway and thankful for the support of Loudoun's partners on the project.”

Route 606 will be reconstructed and widened from two lanes to a four-lane divided roadway for 5.3 miles, from Evergreen Mills Road to the Dulles Greenway. Work also includes:

·         Acquisition of 43 parcels
·         Major utility relocations
·         Signalized intersections and turn lanes
·         A 256-foot-long twin-decked bridge over the Horsepen Dam spillway
·         Improvements to Horsepen Dam
·         Nine storm water management ponds
·         Major drainage structures for Cabin Branch

Construction will begin in fall 2014 and take nearly three years to complete.

Route 606 currently handles about three times the volume of traffic considered acceptable. Based on pavement width, shoulders and sight distance, an acceptable traffic volume for Route 606 is 6,700 vehicles a day. Traffic counts in 2011 were 21,500 and are expected to grow to 35,250 a day by 2036. 

From 2007 to the end of 2010, a total of 158 accidents were reported on Route 606 between Evergreen Mills Road and the Dulles Greenway. That number increased by 49 percent in 2010. This indicates that road conditions on Route 606 are not designed for the high volume of traffic, resulting in unsafe conditions.

Planning for the widening of the Route 606 corridor has been ongoing since the early 1990’s. Route 606 was widened between Route 50 and Route 621 in 2003. The project is part of the planned “Dulles Loop” an 18-mile loop that would circle Dulles Airport by improving portions of Route 50, Route 606, and Route 28.
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