By Alex Bridges - firstname.lastname@example.org
The replacement of the South Fork Bridge over the Shenandoah River tops a proposed list of transportation priorities for the Front Royal area.
Work on the bridge project continues to move forward -- with a contractor demolishing the former Relax Inn to make way for a future park and ride lot. But other road projects remain on a wish list for the town and county.
The Warren County Planning Commission this week scheduled a public hearing for Oct. 10 to receive comments on the 2030 Front Royal Area Transportation - a document years in the making. The plan addresses transportation needs both throughout the town and the county.
But as Town Manager Steven Burke explained Friday, any and all roads projects depend on funding.
"The small urban area transportation plan is intended to be a guide to allow the county, town and VDOT to prioritize funding as it becomes available," Burke said. "It's also intended as a tool to work with developers coming into areas that may impact projects or desired projects and identifies opportunities for them to offer proffers towards those projects."
Some priorities in the 2020 plan, such as the first phase of improvements to Happy Creek Road, the North Fork bridge and several minor projects throughout the town, have been completed, Burke noted.
The proposed plan still includes projects from the current document not yet completed or funded.
"In essence the proposed plan is very similar to the previous [document]," Burke said. "So a number of the projects as were identified as necessary in the 2020 plan continue to be proposed for this updated plan."
County and town leaders in 2006 asked the Virginia Department of Transportation to conduct a study to update the 2020 version of the plan adopted in 2000. A committee consisting of County Administrator Douglas Stanley, Board of Supervisors Chairman Archie Fox and other representatives worked with VDOT transportation planning staff on the plan from 2006 to 2008. However, VDOT needed additional information from the town so work to complete the plan was delayed. The liaison committee of the town and county agreed at its meeting July 19 to move the plan forward for consideration at both levels.
Based on results of the VDOT study and the updated plan, the county existing transportation priority list and the commitment to the Leach Run Parkway project, the following improvements are recommended:
- South Fork bridge replacement
- Leach Run Parkway
- Widening and improvement of Va. 55 East
- The intersection of Va. 55 East and Va. 638
- Expansion of the Linden park and ride lot
- Safety improvements to U.S. 340 South
- Leach Run Parkway overpass at the intersection of Va. 647 and Va. 606
- The Interstate 66-Va. 606 interchange
- The Western Bypass
The transportation study noted that improvements to Va. 55 must come before the interchange project, according to county officials.
A map included with the updated plan pinpoints intersections in the town eyed for improvements, such as additional turn lanes and roundabouts.