BAD NEWS: LEXINGTON LIGHT REMOVAL NOW FIRST HALF OF 2020

Got some unfortunate news to pass along tonight.

Just days after the county told us the much-hated traffic light on Route 7 at Lexington Boulevard would be removed later this year, they’ve issued an update. Now, Glen Barbour — the Public Affairs and Communications Officer for Loudoun County — reports the light won’t likely come out until the first half of next year — between February and June of 2020.

Commuters hate the light because it dramatically slows down traffic on Route 7 during rush hours. It’s the only remaining traffic signal on the road between Sterling and Leesburg.

Since we published the text of Barbour’s message to The Burn the other day, we will do the same now. It’s long and has lots of details — but since we know some of you like to get into the weeds, here you go.

==================================

I am emailing you to provide you with new information that I have received regarding the removal of the traffic signal at Route 7 and Lexington Drive. The information that I provided to you on April 23 was incorrect. To ensure your readers and the general public have accurate information about this project, I am requesting that you update your published story with the latest and most accurate information currently available, which is contained in this email.

Based on the current process, the projected timeframe for the removal of the traffic signal at Lexington Drive and Route 7 is sometime between February 2020 and June 2020. It is important to note that as with all construction projects there are many factors that could influence the schedule, such as weather; therefore, the information I am providing today is still subject to change as the county works through the procurement process and ramps up to the construction phase.

To help explain how the project will proceed and to understand the projected timeline for the removal of the traffic signal, I am providing you with details from our Department of Transportation and Capital Infrastructure.

First, the County must complete the bidding process. Right now, the county is preparing to advertised for construction bids, which we expect will happen by June 1, 2019. Generally, our bids are posted for a minimum of 30 days. Based on the county’s experience, we anticipate bids will be received in the month of July 2019, at which time the bids must be evaluated for responsiveness, errors, and compared against the project budget to ensure sufficient funds exist to proceed with a contract award recommendation.  As a result, we anticipate the contract will be brought to the Board of Supervisors for award in September or early October 2019.

Once the contract has been awarded by the Board, next, county staff must prepare the contracts for the contractor’s signature and the contractor must execute the contract, provide the appropriate bonds, submit a project schedule, and other project related submittals.  This process can take up to 60 days to complete. When all matters are in order, the county will then issue the Contractor’s Notice to Proceed (NTP), which we estimate will be issued no earlier than November 1, 2019, and could be as late as January 1, 2020. Once the county issues the NTP, construction may begin.

To expedite removal of the traffic signal, the county’s contract documents have been prepared with the stipulation that “within 30 days of initiating field operations, the traffic signal at Route 7 and Lexington Drive will be removed from service.” The schedule for initiating field operations is determined by the contractor, so until the contractor is on-board, we cannot determine the exact schedule. Assuming the contractor initiates field operations shortly after the issuance of the NTP, we estimate that the traffic signal will be removed from service sometime in the first six months of calendar year 2020.

As I mentioned above, there are a number of factors that may include this schedule. This timeframe is completely dependent upon many variables in a process like this, including whether the procurement process proceeds without any unforeseen interruptions, such as the county actually receives one or more responsive and responsible bids; the timely issuance of the VDOT land use permit; the successful contractor’s schedule stipulating when field operations will commence; and weather conditions.

To summarize the timeline:

  1. Project advertised in the month of May
  2. Bids to be received and evaluated in the month of July
  3. Contract award by the Board of Supervisors in September or early October 2019
  4. Contractor NTP issued November or December 2019
  5. Contractor initiated field construction operations in January or February 2020
  6. Traffic signal to be removed within 30 days of initiating field operations, which would likely be between February 2020 and June 2020.

Again, this is the best information we can provide at this point regarding the removal of the traffic signal at Lexington Drive. Once the contractor is hired, we will likely have an update on the potential schedule. The county intends to inform the public about the schedule once it is confirmed. So, we ask for the public’s patience as we work as quickly as possible on this project that will result in the removal of the traffic signal at Lexington Drive.

I hope this detailed explanation is helpful. I regret any confusion the information we previously provided to you may have caused.

==================================

Sorry to be the bearer of bad tidings. Please don’t kill the messenger.

(Image at top: Google Maps)