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Application for parkway funding to move forward

VDOT could help with costs of estimated total $12 million road construction project

By Kaitlin Mayhew -- kmayhew@nvdaily.com

FRONT ROYAL-- The Town Council voted unanimously on Monday to approve resolutions that will allow the construction of the Leach Run Parkway to proceed.

The road will connect John Marshall Highway with Happy Creek Road, and is proposed as a 110-foot-wide right-of-way with four lanes, a sidewalk and protected left-turn lanes.

The approvals at the meeting on Monday will allow an application to be sent to the Virginia Department of Transportation by the Nov. 1 deadline. The application requests funds from VDOT to help with the estimated $12 million cost of the project.

If the resolution had not been approved by the town and the county in time, they would have had to wait until next fall to submit the request, according to Town Manager Steve Burke.

The council approved a memorandum of understanding that outlines dividing the costs for the design, acquisition of right-of-way and construction of the project between the town and the county.

The memorandum states that the town will benefit from the construction of Leach Run Parkway by easing traffic congestion, allowing cars to travel from Happy Creek Road to John Marshall Highway without having to go through downtown.

The county will benefit by reducing the travel distances and times of school buses and emergency vehicles between that same area as well as improving access to Interstate 66.

The document also allows any portions of the property acquired, but not used for the right-of-way directly, to be purchased by the county or the School Board for construction of a school. However, the property would have to be purchased at its original price.

"Essentially we would be getting our 6 acres of right-of-way free of charge," Councilman N. Shae Parker said.

Burke sad that the Leach Run Parkway project has been in the planning stages for Front Royal since the late 1970s or 1980s.

He said last month that submitting the funds application to VDOT is an important step.
"Until we've secured the funding, we can't move forward, Burke said.

The resolution requests an amount of up to $6 million from VDOT.

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