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Governor's roads plan skips I-81

By Alex Bridges

Bridge projects make up the bulk of the governor's proposed improvements in transportation for the region.

Gov. Bob McDonnell's list released Tuesday calls for the state to spend millions of dollars on approximately 30 different projects in the Staunton District of the Virginia Department of Transportation. The district covers much of the Northern Shenandoah Valley and the Interstate 81 corridor through Frederick and Shenandoah counties.

McDonnell's list does not include projects aimed at improving safety along the Interstate 81 corridor.

Whether legislators who represent the Northern Shenandoah Valley plan to ask for more money to improve roads such as Interstate 81 remains uncertain. Delegates and state senators whose districts include the I-81 corridor were not available Tuesday for comments on the governor's transportation proposals.

Among some of the highest-priced projects statewide, the governor has recommended the replacement of the bridge on U.S. 340 in Warren County at a projected cost of $67.5 million.

Warren County has had the U.S. 340 bridge replacement project on its "wish list" since 2007. VDOT funding for design and engineering became a priority once the agency allocated the money for the North Fork Bridge replacement, County Administrator Douglas Stanley stated in an email Tuesday. VDOT began construction of the replacement in 2005 and completed the project in 2009.

"We are certainly pleased that the South Fork Bridge has been included in the Governor's plan," Stanley stated. "We want to thank the Governor, our Commonwealth Transportation Board member Dixon Whitworth and Staunton District Administrator Randy Kiser for their recognition of the need and their support of the project."

The governor's list does not include additional transportation needs identified by the county such as the widening of Va. 55 East, improvements to the intersection at Va. 55 and Va. 638 or the expansion of the Linden commuter parking lot.

"We look forward to addressing these pressing transportation needs in the coming years as funding becomes available," Stanley states.

McDonnell's proposed list may likely change in the near future, according to deputy press secretary Paul Shanks.

"The list of recommended projects can and will be modified to address the most pressing concerns," Shanks states. "We welcome feedback and recommendations from members of the General Assembly, localities and members of the public."

McDonnell's list of projects for "Virginia's Road to the Future" consists of 158 highway improvements at a cost of approximately $1.07 billion. Of that number, 30 are in the Staunton District.

McDonnell's list of proposed projects for the Staunton District of the Virginia Department of Transportation include the following:

Shenandoah County

  • $1.27 million for construction to replace the Va. 600 Bridge over the North Fork of the Shenandoah River

  • $1.42 million to repair the bridge and replace the approach on Va. 698 over Mill Creek

  • $1.49 million to pave 400-1,500 miles of unpaved roads

  • $2.86 million to repair or replace the bridge on U.S. 11 over the North Fork of the Shenandoah River

  • Warren County

  • $67.54 million to replace bridge on U.S. 340

  • $1.17 million to pave 400-1,500 miles of unpaved roads
  • Frederick County

  • $1.7 million to acquire rights-of-way and for reconstruction of Va. 655

  • $3.55 million to replace the bridge on Va. 623 over Cedar Creek

  • $10.2 million for construction of the bridge on U.S. 17 over Interstate 81

  • $1.06 million to pave 400-1,500 miles of unpaved roads
  • Rockingham County

  • $9.84 million to repair the bridge on U.S. 33 over Interstate 81
  • Contact staff writer Alex Bridges at 540-465-5137 ext. 125, or abridges@nvdaily.com


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