U.S. Senators Mark Warner (D-VA) and Tim Kaine (D-VA) and Congresswoman Barbara Comstock (R-VA-10) announced Tuesday that Loudoun County will receive $25 million in federal funding to complete Northstar Boulevard between Shreveport Drive and Rt. 50.

The county won the funding though the U.S. Department of Transportation’s competitive Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery—or TIGER grant—program.

Completing that section of Northstar Boulevard will create another north-south connector between some of the county’s major thoroughfares. Northstar and Belmont Ridge Road together will form an unbroken connection between Rt. 50 and Rt. 7 with ramps onto the Dulles Greenway.

In 2016, county leaders were frustrated in their efforts to win state funding. The Commonwealth Transportation Board voted to move $43 million away from Northstar Boulevard and into a Rt. 7 project in Fairfax County. Supervisor Matthew F. Letourneau (R-Dulles) said after that, Comstock reached out to supervisors to see if they had any projects to submit for TIGER grant consideration. Loudoun put together a “last-second” application, which it improved upon over time.

The county also hopes to win funding from the Northern Virginia Transportation Authority for the project. Letourneau said that support is critical for construction to move ahead.

“One downside of federal money is that it usually does take longer to move forward with the project,” Letourneau said. “But I think the focus for Northstar is getting that done at NVTA, so then we can start allocating it.”

Comstock said Northstar “will serve as a vital route for local drivers and significantly improve traffic flow.”

“As a member of the Transportation and Infrastructure committee, I have been pleased to work with the Secretary on delivering on these needed priorities for Virginia’s 10th,” Comstock stated. “We fought hard for this very competitive grant and I would like to thank the Loudoun County Board of Supervisors, particularly Supervisor Letourneau and Supervisor Buffington for their and their staff’s work.”

In a joint statement, Warner and Kaine said Loudoun’s continued growth “is only possible with continued investment in roads and other transportation infrastructure, and that’s why it is so important that we continue the TIGER grant program and continue to invest in our nation’s infrastructure. These federal funds will help Loudoun County upgrade its transportation network so it is better prepared to meet the needs of its increasing population and workforce.”

The new Northstar Boulevard segment will be designed as a controlled access thoroughfare comprised of a four-lane divided roadway located within a proposed six-lane right-of-way. It will include a 10-foot wide shared-use path and 6-foot wide sidewalks, three signalized intersections, and two new bridges. The $25 million award chips away at the project’s total estimated cost of nearly $88 million.

“I’m extremely excited to learn that our grant has been approved by the Department of Transportation and I want to thank Congresswoman Comstock for her work in making this happen,” Buffington said. “While this award doesn’t fully fund the project, it will go a long way towards doing so.”

Comstock, Warner, and Kaine had all sent letters to U.S. Secretary of Transportation Elaine Chao voicing support for the application.

“I think the southern part of Loudoun is disconnected from the rest of Loudoun,” Letourneau said. “The extension of Loudoun County Parkway was helpful in rectifying that, but we still have significant delays, it’s still disconnected, so Northstar is a major piece of that.”

“This is a major north-south connector that will reduce traffic congestion in our part of Loudoun County, and we’re really excited about it,” Buffington said.

The county’s plans for Northstar reach even further south to Braddock Road, another east-west route to Fairfax County. The county plans to fund construction of the final sections of that road in fiscal year 2024. Those two projects, extending first from Rt. 50 to Tall Cedars Parkway and then to Braddock Road, total more than $75 million.

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Loudoun Now
March 6th, 2018
Renss Greene | rgreene@loudounnow.com@RenssGreene