STEPHENSON — The busy intersection of Old Charles Town Road and Martinsburg Pike (U.S. 11) in Frederick County will get a traffic signal next year, not a roundabout.
Officials made the announcement at a community meeting Monday night attended by residents of the 800-acre Snowden Bridge housing development, which is located east of Martinsburg Pike and off Old Charles Town Road.
The meeting, held in the Snowden Bridge Residence Club, was spurred by Judith McCann-Slaughter, who represents the Stonewall District on the Frederick County Board of Supervisors. Her district includes the Old Charles Town Road/Martinsburg Pike intersection, which is a common concern among residents in that area, according to Frederick County Assistant Planning Director John Bishop. The meeting was a way to address those concerns and others that Stonewall District constituents have.
In recent years, Snowden Bridge residents have complained about frequent traffic backups at the intersection, which can make it hard to enter Martinsburg Pike from Old Charles Town Road because of the steady traffic on Martinsburg Pike. The traffic is only expected to get worse when the new Jordan Springs Elementary School opens in August just east of the Snowden Bridge development.
The Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) previously said a roundabout would be the best way to handle traffic at the intersection, but Frederick County was denied funding by the state’s Commonwealth Transportation Board for such an improvement.
Bishop said at Monday night’s meeting that he knows some residents would prefer a roundabout at the intersection. “Frankly so would we and VDOT. It’s probably the right traffic control measure … but the fact of the matter is the county applied for the money through the state, but did not get the funding.”
He told the crowd that designs for a traffic signal are underway and that Snowden Bridge’s developer, Canadian-based Brookfield Residential, will be responsible for adding the signal to the intersection. The signal is slated to be installed in the spring and be operational before Jordan Springs Elementary School opens, Bishop said.
Snowden Bridge residents also wanted to know when the Snowden Bridge Boulevard extension will be completed so that they can use it to access Martinsburg Pike near the Rutherford Crossing shopping center.
In September 2017, a mile-long, four-lane section of Snowden Bridge Boulevard opened to the public. It stretches from Martinsburg Pike to about one-tenth of a mile west of Milburn Road (Route 662). It cuts through the planned 271-acre Graystone Industrial Park, which is owned by Graystone Corp. of Virginia, a division of Frederick County-based Shockey Companies. In a future phase, Snowden Bridge Boulevard will cross over Milburn Road and connect to an existing section of Snowden Bridge Boulevard to the north. This will connect the road with the Snowden Bridge housing development.
Bishop said the extension’s completion is tied to the road’s traffic count. Based on the most recent data from October 2018, there are 4,100 daily trips on Snowden Bridge Boulevard. There needs to be 17,699 trips per day before work begins, according to proffers made by various property owners. Proffers are commitments made by developers to offset the impact of development.
“We are definitely a ways off,” Bishop said.
Bishop said the county and the property owners, which include Shockey and Brookfield Residential, could try to get state funding to finance the extension of Snowden Bridge Boulevard, but that is unlikely to happen, as the state does not want to spend money on a project that has been privately obligated, he said.