|Dear Homeowners and Residents,
At the July HOA board meeting Dave walked through the briefing for the community via Zoom, and also presented the survey results and had an open Q&A at the end.
Here are those summarized results and Q&A:
Survey Feedback and Interview with the Loudoun Project Manager
The #1 question/concern was about timing, with roughly 75% of respondents citing that issue. The general consensus from the community was, “Why will construction not start until the beginning of 2024, and can we speed anything up?” If you did not read the briefing, the expected timetable and milestones were presented, which noted that the long pole in the tent was land acquisition, which they estimated could take up to 2 years. There were other questions about doing work in parallel, such as utility work, construction bids, etc.
Here is the official response from the Loudoun Project Manager. (Going forward responses directly from the Loudoun PM will be in quotes and begin with the letters PM, and questions from the community will begin with RF.
PM: ”We understand the concern with project timing. To the extent practicable, activities will be performed in parallel. In general, land acquisition begins when the design is approximately 75% complete. The design needs to reach a level of completeness where acquisition and easement areas are known and will not be changing. The land acquisition phase includes pre-acquisition activities such as obtaining title reports, developing plats and having them reviewed by the appropriate regulatory agency (in this case the Loudoun County Department of Building & Development). Given the size of the project and the number of properties involved, our schedule assumes land acquisition may require the County’s use of eminent domain. This process requires a Public Hearing and action by the Board of Supervisors that have stipulated timeframes and notice requirements.
“Utility relocation activities are performed by the utility providers in coordination with the County. Utility relocation cannot start until all land and easements necessary for the utility relocation are acquired. As much as we try our best to coordinate with the utility providers as early as possible, the County cannot control the utility providers’ schedules and resources allocated to the work. On our most recent roadway construction projects, utility relocation has been a lengthy process after work is released to the utility providers. Due to the County’s inability to control the utility providers’ schedules, the County typically waits until utility relocation is nearing completion before bidding projects for construction. On multiple past projects, the County has paid significant contractor demobilization and remobilization costs when utility relocation was not substantially complete when construction contracts were awarded and contractors were given notice to begin construction.
“In summary, we feel the proposed schedule is realistic and includes reasonable contingencies give the risks associated with land acquisition and utility relocation. “
RF: The second most common concern was around congestion during construction, with 7 respondents citing this is a general concern:
RF: How would lane closures be handled?
RF: Will they do construction mainly at night to avoid rush hour?
RF: Will White’s Ferry continue to operate during construction?
RF: Several asked for some form of live camera feed and live web updates with lane closure times during construction so that we could plan our commutes and errands around lane closures, or particularly bad traffic days.
RF: Which lanes would get widened first (southbound or northbound)?
RF: Another asked about the traffic signal cycle optimization post construction. How would it be done?
RF: How long do you anticipate construction will last on Phase 1 south of White’s Ferry intersection?
RF: Will there be a noise assessment done to determine impact to nearby homes?
RF: Raspberry Entrance signage: There were no specific questions, just a lot of concerns that it was not going to look as nice as it does now if you guys have to tear it down, rebuild it, or move it.
RF: There were a couple of questions/comments about whether this was going to actually be effective given that it was projected that traffic will still back up all the way to Raspberry during peak rush hour times from Montressor where it merges back to a single lane each direction. The general gist of these questions was really about when/if the road would be four laned further up past Montressor.
RF: One person also asked whether this project included a bike path and widening on White’s Ferry Rd itself down to the Ferry.
RF: I also wanted to follow up making sure the bike path extends all the way to the main entrance of Tuscarora HS, and not the bus entrance as shown in the current 30% design.
There were also 4 comments that our intersection should be a roundabout vs a light. There were also 4 comments thanking us for keeping the light. The roundabout vs light debate was addressed during the stakeholder phase in 2018 where it was determined that both performed equally well in this situation, and the overwhelming majority of the RF community preferred to keep the light (taken via an online survey). At that time, it was also raised as a concern that during peak rush hours, commuters from White’s Ferry and school buses would not be able to safely traverse a four lane roundabout to go south, which could cause extensive backups on that side of the intersection. The intersection will remain a light.
There was also a question about the environmental impact and general appearance of the 4 laning and the movement of the utilities. There is an ongoing environmental study to address these two questions and all work would fall under JTHG guidelines for appearances.
HOA Board Meeting Q&A
If you submitted a question/concern and feel it was not addressed, please first review the briefing sent out to see if your question was answered in the briefing. If not, feel free to send David and Elaine a message and they will get back to you as soon as possible! Elaine: President@raspberryfalls.org David: firstname.lastname@example.org