Progress seen on parkway, middle school

Construction crews work on the facade of the new Warren County Middle School at Leach Run Parkway in Front Royal. Rich Cooley/Daily

FRONT ROYAL – Work on Warren County’s second middle school – and the road to get there – remains on track.

County Administrator Doug Stanley gave an update on both projects to local leaders at the Town-County Liaison Committee meeting recently. Branch Highways could complete construction of Leach Run Parkway – a project in the works for about 30 years – in June, Stanley said. The Front Royal-Warren County Economic Development Authority is spearheading the project.

Officials originally estimated crews to complete Leach Run Parkway by the middle of this month, Stanley reminded the committee. EDA Executive Director Jennifer McDonald said Branch expects to complete the highway by June 24. Stanley explained the reason for the delay.

“With the spring weather delays, that got moved back to December and then basically we’ve been kind of, I wouldn’t say arguing with Branch, but talking about time with them,” Stanley said. “The reality is by the end of (this) week, we’ll have asphalt down on basically the entire length but not the final coat of asphalt.”

Asphalt plants close around Christmas with temperatures falling below freezing, Stanley said. Crews need to install 74 streetlights, traffic signals, landscaping. Workers likely plan to delay the putting down of the rest of the asphalt until March. Crews intend to install utility poles and work on other parts of the project not temperature sensitive. Officials also are waiting on Centurylink and Comcast to relocate cables to town-owned utility poles on state Route 55, Stanley said.

“The biggest thing that was always pushing us was to make sure that the road was ready to open when school started,” Stanley said. “The road will be finished in June. We’ll open the school in August so we’re a couple months ahead of that target date – hopefully it will allow the community to get used to the traffic patterns before that happens.

“We’ve been pleased with Branch’s progress especially over the last couple of months,” Stanley added. “Where we got behind was that six weeks of rain last spring.”

Town officials plan to put out a public notice warning motorists and pedestrians to stay away from the construction site, Stanley said.

Construction of the second middle school recently hit the 65-percent complete mark, Stanley said. The administrator provided a detailed list of benchmarks the project had reached. Crews have nearly completed work on the roof, Stanley said. Workers then can begin other tasks once the building is closed in, Stanley added. The gymnasium is closed in and can provide storage space for workers, he noted.

Good weather helped crews make progress, Stanley said.

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