About Project & Study Phases

Loudoun County is focused on context-sensitive planning and design that addresses the unique characteristics and needs of the county’s urban, suburban and rural landscape. The Loudoun County 2019 Comprehensive Plan serves as the guide for land use and transportation policy and provides a flexible framework and implementation strategy to meet the county’s future priorities and needs. After the Board of Supervisors’ review and approval, projects are placed in the Capital Improvement Program. Public involvement is completed throughout the project’s lifecycle. 

Described below are the phases and milestones of the county’s transportation, facility and study projects. 

Phases and Milestones

  1. Transportation Project Phases
  2. Facility Project Phases
  3. Study Phase

Design Phase

The design of a roadway considers the setting and character of the area where the road will be built, the community’s interest, the needs of the drivers and other challenges on the corridor. Design is a process of creating the description of the new roadway, usually represented by detailed plans and specifications. Before Design starts, an RFP is issued and a contract awarded.

Milestones of Design Phase

  • RFP Issued  Engineering – A request for proposal is a business document that solicits bids from qualified engineering consultant to complete the project. This happens through the Division of Procurement.
  • Award Contract Engineering – The contract is awarded to an engineering consultant to design the roadway. Some contracts are awarded as a design/build project where the contractor designs and builds the project.
  • Notice to Proceed Engineering – A Notice to Proceed (or NTP) marks the dates when an engineering consultants' work can begin.
  • Scoping/Predesign – This process develops the projects objectives, preliminary cost estimate and the preliminary schedule.  
  • Design Start – This is the start of the project. Road projects take longer than expected due to the complex steps involved in the design and construction process.
  • 30% Design Plans – During 30% design, the major design elements of the project are developed, and the project’s scope, schedule and budget is refined.
  • 60% Design Plans – During the 60% design, the designers confirm that the project can be constructed and that the submitted plans and specifications meets the objectives of the project.
  • 90% Design Plans – The design plans are completed and sent for review to the permitting and funding organizations.
  • 100% Design Plans – The design plans are complete.

Right of Way Phase 

Once the design work has progressed far enough along to indicate what additional land is required, our land acquisition team begin negotiating with the adjacent property owners for the needed land. Independent appraisals are required. The process is governed by federal and state law for fair compensation for the land. Review A Guide for Property Owners and Tenants (PDF) for details.  


  • Land Acquisition Start – At this point, the land acquisition team begins the process to the process of acquiring property/real estate.
  • Land Acquisition Complete – The land needed to construct the roadway has been acquired.

Utilities Phase

Utility relocation is a deliberate, months-long process that includes the removal and relocation of utilities, so they do not interfere with the construction of the roadway.


  • Utilities Relocation Start 
  • Utilities Relocation Complete

Construction Phase

 Construction of a roadway is the process of making the design into a physical reality.

Milestones of Construction Phase

  • Procurement of Construction Contractor – The Invitation for Bids (IFB) is a bidding process to obtain the contractors’ proposals including the costs to completing the project. Through the Division of Procurement, proposals are evaluated and then a contract is awarded.
  • Contract Award – The contract is awarded to a contractor to construct the roadway. Some contracts are awarded as a design/build project where the contractor design and builds the project.
  • Notice to Proceed – A Notice to Proceed (or NTP) marks the dates when a contractor’s work can begin.
  • Groundbreaking – Loudoun County hosts ceremonial groundbreakings to highlight the beginning of construction. 
  • Substantial Completion – Substantial completion is the stage when a construction project is deemed sufficiently completed to open the roadway to drivers.
  • Ribbon Cutting – The roadway is nearing completion where it will be opened to traffic. Loudoun County hosts a ribbon cutting ceremony to celebrate the roadway’s opening.
  • Full completion – Full completion means the contractor has completed the roadway including all punch list items, in accordance with the contract documents.                                                    

About the Project Timelines

Project phase and milestone timelines are estimates only and may vary for many reasons, including length of stakeholder reviews, material shortages, funding, inclement weather, public feedback, and more. Changes to the timeline will be communicated as they occur. 

Timeline Seasons

  • Winter - January, February, and March
  • Spring - April, May, and June
  • Summer - July, August, and September
  • Fall - October, November, and December