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Clarke County and Loudoun County - Route 7 and Route 601 Intersection Study

Project at a Glance
Locality
Clarke

District
Staunton

Contact
Adam Campbell, PLA
540-332-9067

Summary of Public Outreach and Revised Concept

At their June 13th worksession, VDOT staff provided a study update to the Clarke County Board of Supervisors.  The update consisted of a summary of public outreach efforts and received public comments.  As a result of the public comments, VDOT has developed a new improvement concept that maintains full access at the study intersection, but provides a new Route 601 northbound right turn lane and extends left turn lanes on Route 7 at the primary and downstream intersections.  This concept will make voluntary downstream U-turns during congested periods safer and more attractive to drivers.  The Board of County Supervisor presentation and revised concept sketch are linked below.

Presentation

Route 7-601 Revised Concept

Overview of Study

The Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) Staunton District, in collaboration with the VDOT Northern Virginia District, Clarke County and Loudoun County is conducting a transportation study at the intersection of Route 7 (Harry Byrd Highway / Leesburg Pike) and Route 601 (Blue Ridge Mountain Road / Raven Rocks Road) near Bluemont, Virginia to identify potential treatments to address operational and safety issues.  

Located at the crest of the easternmost ridge of the Blue Ridge Mountains, the study intersection provides access to and from Route 7 for residential communities and a number of destinations including wineries, breweries, the Appalachian Trail and the Mount Weather Federal FEMA facility on Route 601.  As a 4-lane divided principal arterial roadway, Route 7 serves as a high traffic commuter corridor with about 28,000 vehicles per day traveling at speeds of 55 mph or higher.  These characteristics, along with roadway grade and sight distance challenges create a difficult intersection for safe driver navigation. 

The goal of this study is to identify improvement recommendations to address the identified operation and safety needs at the study intersection that will be competitive in statewide transportation funding grants.  The study team assessed multiple conventional and innovative intersection improvements through preliminary alternative screening.  Based on anticipated improvement benefits, the study team advanced three innovative intersection alternatives for operational analysis.  Final study recommendations will be considered by Clarke and Loudoun County for advancement through state transportation funding programs.

Benefits of Study Improvement Alternatives

Study Timeline

  • Study kickoff meeting and traffic data collection were conducted in June of 2021
  • Study team finalized the study scope of work, determined the traffic analysis growth rate, reviewed crash data and conducted a field review of the study intersection in September 2021.
  • Traffic analysis of existing conditions and forecasted 2032 conditions, with preliminary screening of improvement alternatives conducted during the fall of 2021, with an update provided to the study team in December 2021.
  • Three improvement alternatives were advanced by the study team for full operational analysis in the winter of 2021 / 2022.
  • VDOT provided a presentation to the Clarke County Board of Supervisors of the study work to date and operational results of the improvement alternatives in March 2022.  Clarke County staff submitted a SMART SCALE pre-application for intersection improvements as a placeholder for consideration of a final application submission in the Summer of 2022
  • VDOT provided a presentation to the Blue Ridge Mountain Civic Association on May 10, 2022 to present the improvement alternatives under consideration and provide an opportunity for public feedback.

Next Steps

  • The study team will be accepting public comments on the proposed intersection improvement alternatives through May 31, 2022.  Please email comments to VDOT Staunton District Planner Adam Campbell at adamf.campbell@vdot.virginia.gov
  • Public comments will be considered by the study team in finalizing the study recommendations.  The study deliverable will be a technical report that incorporates the study process, public comments, and recommendations to address the needs of the intersection.  The report will be completed during the summer of 2022.
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Page last modified: June 15, 2022