Traffic problems on mountain hard to resolve, Clarke

BERRYVILLE — It is really hard to resolve traffic problems in one locality prompted mostly by an intersection in yet another, Clarke County officials are noticing.

Subsequent Tuesday, the Clarke County Board of Supervisors intends to adopt a resolution to go after condition and federal Wise Scale resources. If the dollars is acquired, the Virginia Section of Transportation (VDOT) will use it to make enhancements to the intersection of Va. 7 (Harry Byrd Highway) and Route 601 (Blue Ridge Mountain Highway/Raven Rocks Highway).

Sensible Scale is a condition method in which proposed highway jobs are rated for funding thing to consider. Elements influencing the rankings contain how a lot the initiatives would strengthen targeted traffic safety, reduce congestion and help with financial advancement efforts.

The intersection is in Loudoun County, just a handful of ft east of the Clarke County line. Officials say heavy targeted traffic and rushing make it tough for Appalachian Trail hikers in Clarke County to cross Va. 7 close to the intersection. Targeted visitors disorders also make it complicated for drivers to make remaining turns to and from Route 601.

Traffic also receives backed up along slender Route 601, in particular on weekends. Officers blame the backups mainly on consumers of a preferred brewery on that highway.

Two things complicate attempts to resolve the website traffic issues.

One particular is that Clarke and Loudoun are in different VDOT districts. Clarke is in the Staunton District, even though Loudoun is in the Northern Virginia District. So the districts should function with each other to solve challenges influencing each counties.

And, regardless of the intersection becoming in Loudoun, Route 601 is managed by the Staunton District. Elements of the highway are inside of both equally counties.

“The intersection serves many Clarke inhabitants and is hence a precedence for us,” mentioned Clarke County Administrator Chris Boies.

“It has been my expertise that it is better to do the job with adjoining localities in cases like this,” Boies said, “simply because at the time it turns into confrontational, the vital concerns like protection get pushed apart.”

“Loudoun County has been a cooperative partner in doing the job to establish remedies to this intersection,” he mentioned.

Clarke supervisors have vowed not to shell out any of the county’s income on increasing the intersection. Still Loudoun has budgeted $500,000 toward enhancements there, Boies claimed.

The supervisors discussed the proposed resolution at their Monday do the job session. The resolution expresses assist for an “Option 1-Stage 1” proposal set forth by VDOT in mid-June.

Parts of the proposal include things like:

• Strengthening the westbound still left transform lane on Va. 7, in addition setting up a proper turn lane alongside Route 601 at the northbound approach to the intersection.

• Putting in “downstream crossovers” together Va. 7 west and east of the intersection. 1 would be at Route 679 (Pine Grove Street) the other at Route 734 (Snickersville Turnpike). Eastbound and westbound still left flip lanes would be improved to supply 200 ft of house in which turning motor vehicles could wait around.

• Increasing the median and putting in crossover pavement markings intended to make voluntary U-turns safer and far more appealing for drivers.

Loudoun, in the meantime, has asked VDOT to contemplate including an acceleration lane heading up the mountain at both equally designated U-flip spots, as effectively as one particular for drivers turning east on to Va. 7 from Route 601. Clarke officials are amenable to these requests, Boies stated.

Nonetheless, “VDOT has observed that the improved expenditures for the asked for improvements from Loudoun will harm the Good Scale software because, based on the versions, the advancements do not drastically boost basic safety,” he wrote in a report to the supervisors.

VDOT’s expense estimate for scheduling the undertaking is about $2 million.

Clarke officials participated in a convention simply call with Loudoun and VDOT officials on June 29. In the course of that simply call, 3 options for distributing the Wise Get started software emerged. They are:

• Publishing the application with no which include either Loudoun’s requested advancements or its money contribution. With this choice, Loudoun could use its funds to try and get those enhancements completed on its individual, individual from the Intelligent Scale undertaking, according to Boies.

• Submitting it with out Loudoun’s requests but like Loudoun’s allocation. VDOT asserts that in terms of Clever Scale scoring, this alternative would rating greatest and could support the challenge go forward faster than it may possibly normally.

• Submitting it with both Loudoun’s requests and the dollars, even if the choices wouldn’t rating very well.

The resolution is purposely vague, Boies mentioned, for the reason that it can integrate whichever alternative eventually is decided on.

Regardless of whether Loudoun places its revenue towards Clarke’s exertion is up to that county’s supervisors, Boies added.

White Put up District Supervisor Bev McKay stated, “If we can just get one thing up there” now to increase the targeted traffic move, probably Clarke County can go after yet another Sensible Scale venture for more advancements in the potential.

Board Chairman David Weiss, who represents the Buckmarsh District, claimed he cannot grasp that VDOT feels, “Yeah, it is a fantastic concept, but it will rating lousy.”

VDOT “ought to fund the undertaking that is likely to solve the issue, not the venture that’s going to rating the very best,” mentioned Weiss.