Friday, June 26, 2009

Gilbert's Corner Roundabout Construction Detour Starts July 1

Beginning July 1, motorists on Route 50 in Loudoun County will be detoured around the intersection at Route 15 (Gilbert’s Corner), as the Virginia Department of Transportation continues to build four roundabouts along the two corridors. The shift will last 10-12 weeks, and is expected to add five minutes to non-rush-hour trips and up to 15 minutes during rush hour.

Route 50 will be closed between Route 15 and the newly built connector road, Howsers Branch Drive, about a quarter-mile south of Gilbert’s Corner. Motorists will be detoured to Howsers Branch Drive and a new roundabout on Route 15. A final detour is planned for Watson Road later this summer to complete construction on the roundabouts. VDOT will keep the public informed well in advance of this change.

The roundabouts are an effort to improve safety and traffic flow, while slowing motorists along Routes 50 and 15. Roundabouts are being constructed at Gilbert’s Corner, Route 50 and Watson Road, and at either end of Howsers Branch Drive. The direct link Howsers Branch creates between Routes 50 and 15 will allow some northbound Route 15 and westbound Route 50 traffic to bypass Gilbert's Corner, reducing vehicles through that intersection by about one-third.

This $15.8 million project is scheduled to be complete in late 2009. Under a design-build contract with The Lane Construction Corporation and Vanasse Hangen Brustlin, Inc., design and construction are being closely coordinated to reduce the project’s cost and duration.

Gilbert’s Corner is the second of three Route 50 traffic-calming projects along a 20-mile corridor from Paris in Fauquier County to Lenah in Loudoun County. Improvements in Upperville were finished in October 2008, and a project in Aldie is expected to begin construction in 2010.

According to a VDOT press release, roundabouts are considered one of the safest types of intersection, moving traffic while reducing crashes, delays, fuel consumption, air pollution, and maintenance costs.

More information on Virginia’s roundabouts, including an instructional video and printable brochure are available here. Gilbert’s Corner project information is available at and at

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  1. So how many of the officials responsible for this 'traffic calming' project drive through this mess every day? Instead of improving the roads to allow smoother traffic flow, you instead congest it?
    Traffic circles work in other countries because their drivers have stricter requirements for drivers' licenses, and obey the rules imposed upon them. Here, it's a free-for-all to get in/out of circles.
    I'd be interested in seeing the accident/fatality rates for the Gilbert's Corner instersection pre-circles. Where can I find it?

  2. Thanks for your comments and observations. We'll put in your request for accident/fatality rates and see what information we can find. Thanks for reading Loudoun County Traffic.

  3. Having driven in the U.K. for over 20 years I found that traffic circles are a great way to keep traffic flowing. However, in order for the process to work drivers need to know the rules and also use there turn indicators to show other drivers which way they plan to go when in the circle. It would be to each drivers' advantage if you could show the proper procedures for signalling in the circle it would have a positive impact in moving traffic through much faster. I suggest that the county or the state suggest a web site that show: Use turn signals. Indicate intent to turn so those waiting to enter the rotary ahead and drivers behind your vehicle will know what to expect.

    Readers can go to wikihow for instructions: