Loudoun County moves closer to removing traffic lights on Route 50
LOUDOUN COUNTY, Va. - Plans are underway to clear up one of Northern Virginia's most notorious traffic jams.
The intersection of Route 50 and the Loudoun County Parkway is not only the busiest in the county, but it's also one of the most frequent scenes of car crashes. Traffic signals along the six-lane highway cause as many as 38,000 drivers to hit the brakes every time the signal changes color. But now help is on the way.
The Northern Virginia Transportation Authority has decided to give Loudoun County $35 million to eventually build a highway interchange and remove the traffic lights altogether.
Loudoun County Supervisor Matt Letourneau tells FOX 5 that the lights need to go, and the improvements are desperately needed.
Download the FOX 5 DC News App for Local Breaking News and Weather
"The lights are going to go away and be replaced with ramps — at least the lights on Route 50," Letourneau said. We don’t know yet what type of interchange this will be. There are a number of different designs that VDOT is doing, but it’s possible there could be some lights at the top of a ramp."
Drivers tell FOX 5 it can take 20-30 minutes to get through the light cycle, and they say it's getting worse.
"I saw them do it on Leesburg over there and I’m not going to lie, it makes going to work so much faster," one commuter said.
Download the FOX 5 Weather App
"There’s a lot of people who work at these trucking industries and you can’t go around it except for Pleasant Valley, so I think it would help a lot," another driver told FOX 5.
While the good news is the state has a plan, the bad news is this is not going to be quick or cheap. It's estimated that the entire price tag for the project could come to nearly $500 million. That means they have a lot more money to raise from state and federal government, and it could be another six years before the lights come down.