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State money to boost local road projects

By Alex Bridges

State funding awarded this week can help speed up numerous transportation projects around the region.

Projects range from major intersection improvements to sidewalks to rural road enhancements.

The Commonwealth Transportation Board approved nearly $155 million in matching funds to projects across the state through its revenue sharing program, according to a press release issued Friday by Gov. Bob McDonnell's office. Counties, towns and cities provide local shares to receive the state money for projects approved in the program.

Strasburg will receive $520,750 in state funds toward the creation of a sidewalk or multi-purpose path along U.S. 11 (North Massanutten Street). The project calls for the path to connect the end of the existing sidewalk at North Massanutten Street to the Food Lion shopping center.

Town Manager Judson Rex said Friday the application to the Virginia Department of Transportation gave an estimate of more than $1 million for the total project. The money from the state covers half the cost.

"We were pretty conservative in the estimate, so when we get down the trail and move toward design and get a better estimate then we'll be able to nail that down a little better," Rex said. "It's very exciting."

The town manager noted that municipalities must compete for revenue-sharing funds. Rex credited Director of Public Works Mark Gundersen for writing the application with VDOT criteria in mind.

The town must spend the entire amount needed to cover the project before the state will pay the $520,750.

Town Council included $40,000 in the current budget for preliminary work on the path project, such as soil testing and drilling. The council's infrastructure committee recently heard a report from Gundersen on the project. Rex said council did not include funding in the next fiscal cycle because officials did not know how much money, if any, the state would allocate toward the project.

With this information Rex said town officials will go back to council for direction on the project.

"It definitely gives us a funding source, which we didn't have identified before, so I would say it's still up to the direction of council," Rex said.

Rex anticipated that council's infrastructure committee will direct staff to move ahead on the path's design. Rex said it's too soon to tell when the town would begin construction of the sidewalk.

Strasburg also will receive $104,000 toward the reconstruction of Queen Street near its intersection with North Massanutten Street. The money covers more of the local share of the project cost, Rex said. VDOT is administering the project. However, neighboring property owners have raised concerns with the design of the reconstructed road and intersection. Those concerns were brought to the attention of town officials who are currently working with VDOT to address the project's design elements.

Warren County received $160,000 in rural addition funding for improvements to Old Oak Lane near Mosby's Meadow Lane. The project is one of many aimed at improving roads in the Shenandoah Farms Sanitary District. The Warren County Board of Supervisors recently approved a list of projects for the district identified in a study of the neighborhood's road and drainage issues.

However, the funding amount awarded this week tackles only one of the projects for the sanitary district.

The state awarded $1.01 million in revenue-sharing funds to Warren County for improvements to U.S. 522-340 at the intersection with a private development. Childress explained that the developer sought the funds through the VDOT program to make the intersection improvements as part of the development. The developer provides the local match, Childress said.

Warren County also received $85,000 in rural addition funds for improvements to Homestead Drive near Va. 55.

Other allocations for the Staunton District include:

  • $2.8 million to construct a new road in Frederick County from U.S. 522 (Front Royal Pike) to Tevis Street
  • $6,250 for drainage improvements near Roberts Road in Shenandoah County

Contact staff writer Alex Bridges at 540-465-5137 ext. 125, or abridges@nvdaily.com

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