It’s been more than two years since local government and business leaders gathered on the property of One Loudoun to break ground on the much-needed extension of Russell Branch Parkway. This morning many of those same people officially opened the road, which was largely completed by early 2009, but remained closed to traffic awaiting VDOT approval.
Russell Branch Parkway now extends from Loudoun County Parkway to Ashbrook, providing residents with a way to access the Ashburn North Park and Ride Lot without using Rt. 7 east of Ashburn Village Boulevard, as well as allowing Potomac Green residents to get to the Ashbrook Commons Plaza shopping center while avoiding Rt. 7, and its traffic.
Actually it extends past the Loudoun County Parkway over to Richfield Way which houses Strayer University’s Ashburn branch, among other things. (In fact, the linked map only shows that section since the part that extends past the Loudoun County Parkway to the west is the part that’s just opened.
This has been a bit of an irritant to me this past year. Having a fully-built, operational 4-lane divided parkway sitting unused while traffic on the parallel Route 7 crawls in perpetual gridlock just irks me. This wasn’t a question of whether the road should be built or not. It was already built and ready to go. It just took a year for someone at VDOT to finally get around to approving it. Another irritation: we know that VDOT’s approval was delaying things. However, even this story about the road finally opening doesn’t mention what the holdup was all about. Considering the road itself was built in about a year, I’d really like to know what part of paperwork took as long.
In any case, we made use of the road yesterday to head over to Harris Teeter and some surrounding businesses. It looks good but word apparently hasn’t spread about it being opened, yet. I’m sure that’ll come. Now if someone can just fix the squeeze-from-4-lanes-to-2-and-back situation at Loudoun County Parkway at Redskins Park, that would make the Loudoun County Parkway a truly usable north-south connector.