County marks project completion

Warren County officials on Wednesday celebrated the completion of another major road project — or at least its first phase.

Construction crews recently finished work on improvements to a 0.36-mile section of Old Oak Lane that lies in both Warren and Clarke counties. Workers put down a 20-foot-wide layer of pavement and stabilized shoulders, added or replaced culverts, installed drainage pipes for private entrances and dug side ditches where needed.

Old Oak Lane serves as one of four main access routes for Shenandoah Farms — this one is for the northwestern area, Ralph Rinaldi, a resident and member of the property owners’ board, explained Wednesday.

“It’s a very heavily traveled road,” Rinaldi said. “There’s always the washboard effect on part of the road and, by next year at this time, the entire road would be done down to Venus Branch [Road], which is very exciting for us down here.”

Contractors completed the project at a cost of approximately $230,000, though the county awaits final billing. Deputy County Administrator Robert Childress said the project cost came in below the original estimates and the funding amount of $320,000 approved by the Virginia Department of Transportation. Childress, who also oversees the district, developed the project and provided oversight of the construction.

Old Oak Lane is one of the few roads in Shenandoah Farms Sanitary District that is already paved, Childress said. However, the road was too narrow in spots and about a dozen culverts needed to be replaced. Vegetation needed to be cut back as well, Childress said.

“I can’t say that there was any major terrain or design challenges that were insurmountable that we weren’t able to address,” Childress said.

Warren County Administrator Douglas Stanley credited General Excavation Inc. of Warrenton, and Carroll Construction Company Inc. of Winchester, for completing the project within a tight schedule. Crews began construction in midsummer and completed the work last month.

The county ranked the first phase of the project as a No. 1 priority on the Shenandoah Farms Sanitary District’s Capital Improvement Plan that outlines the neighborhood’s road and drainage needs. The project falls under VDOT’s Rural Addition program through which the county, the state and the Shenandoah Farms Property Owners Association share the costs. VDOT picks up half the cost of each project; the county and the association cover the remaining 50 percent. The association’s share of this project’s cost is approximately $57,500.

The Clarke County Board of Supervisors also had to approve the project because the section is in Clarke County.

Rinaldi, who also serves on the Warren County Planning Commission, said the plan is to have the state take over as many roads as possible. Some roads or sections will not meet VDOT standards, either because of sight distance, steepness or other reasons, Rinaldi said.

VDOT has approved applications for funding improvements to Pine Ridge Road between Mountain Lane and Copenhaver drives, and Fellows Drive between Flynn Drive and Farms River Road. These projects are in the Capital Improvement Plan that outlines the district’s road and drainage needs.

Contact staff writer Alex Bridges at 540-465-5137 ext. 125, or