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Officials look to reapply for road project grants

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This 2007 aerial photo shows the Tevis Street area in Winchester. A proposed flyover bridge might connect Tevis Street to the county in the mixed-used development called Russell 150. Alan Lehman/ Daily file

Metropolitan Transportation Authority wants federal funds to help pay for construction of Tevis Street flyover

By Alex Bridges -- abridges@nvdaily.com

WINCHESTER -- Another round of federal grants could help kick-start an area road project eyed as a cure for some traffic woes.

But this time the Winchester-Frederick County Metropolitan Transportation Authority set its sights lower in hopes of winning the needed funding.

The MPO lost its bid in December when it applied for grants for two road projects totaling more than $54 million. The agency sought funds through the highly competitive grant program to help pay for an extension of Va. 37 from Interstate 81 at Crosspointe Boulevard to U.S. 522; and to realign Tevis Street and Hope Drive in the city, along with an extension of Tevis Street from Legge Boulevard over I-81 to U.S. 522 via a flyover, plus redecking of the U.S. 17-50-522 bridge over the interstate.

No request won in that round of funding through the Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery Discretionary Grant Program. John Thomas, senior transportation planner with the Northern Shenandoah Valley Regional Commission, explained to the board at its January meeting the amounts requested may have contributed to the denial.

At its meeting Wednesday, the MPO followed Thomas' recommendation to reapply for the grants but limited its request to one project at a smaller scope.

The board decided to apply for a grant in hopes of funding only the construction of the Interstate 81 flyover to extend Tevis Street across I-81. Officials estimate the bridge over the interstate would cost approximately $4.2 million but the remaining road construction likely brings the price of the project to the $10 million needed to apply for the grant.
As County Administrator John R. Riley Jr. noted, the bridge already is designed and its cost has dropped as the economy waned.

"That's a no-brainer," Riley said.

The bridge as proposed would connect Tevis Street to the county in the mixed-use development known as Russell 150.

The U.S. Transportation secretary announced the fourth round of funding under the TIGER program on Jan. 31, Thomas told the board. Pre-applications are due Monday, according to Thomas, with the full document required by March 19.

While funding and competitiveness this round remains the same as before -- $500 million nationwide -- Thomas advised approximately $100 million already appears slated for high-speed rail projects, further limiting the amount for other requests.
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