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Plan addresses Front Royal area traffic

By Alex Bridges - abridges@nvdaily.com

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.


Where is the tentative route of the western bypass?

I just wish the county and VDOT would consider paving some of the gravel roads in the county. It would be nice to modernize most of our roads. I see millions of dollars seemingly wasted each year, repaving roads that are not in bad shape at all. Yet we have roads in the county that are more suited for a horse and buggy, rather than an automobile.

Forget tentative. Thanks to politically connected Good Old Boys acting in unison over the years, the route of the western bypass will be built right down the middle of property owned by Ron Llewellyn, who proffered land through the property for the bypass in exchange for the Board of Supervisors approving rezoning the land from agricultural to residential. Front Royal could not supply municipal water and sewer, (the Good Old Boys made former town manager Mike Graham the scapegoat) so a megabuck deal Llewellyn had with megabuck developer Brookfield Washington LLC fell through. This route will be very expensive to build. It is all solid rock hills and gullies. Other routes are cheaper to build and better situated to connect with the existing road infrastructure.

You may remember Ron Llewellyn as a current member of the Board of Directors of the Economic Development Authority?

Prior to being nominated to the EPA position (by Tony Carter?) you may remember Supervisor Ron Llewellyn sitting on the Warren County Board of Supervisors?

Want to take a wild guess where the Town Council approved the route for the Leach Run Parkway to be built? Could it be built right next to land owned by Ron Llewellyn? If you said yes, you would be correct.

And could you guess who owns land right next to where the proposed new South Fork bridge will be built?

We live in a small world filled with small coincidences, huh?

JT, forget paving the gravel roads. They do not meet existing VDOT requirements and would need to be rebuilt to new standards before they could be paved. Now, if you could get yourself elected to the Board of Supervisors and cut a sweetheart deal with the Good Old Boys....

A park and ride in one of the most congested traffic areas in town (relax inn site)? Let me know how that goes at 5pm on a weekday. We'll see a light there within 5 years

Can we at least get a skim coat of asphalt over the morgan ford bridge? it's bumpy as h3ll and it might speed up the waiting process for everyone. I'm about ready to buy my own bag of concrete to pitch in myself.

Isn't there a 'NO LEFT TURN' sign up where they want to put this Park & Ride? How will anybody be able to enter the lot then once they cross the bridge and try to drop off people? Or are they just going to drop people off the side of the road and let them try to cross the road on their own?

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