Six-year transportation funding plan approved; see list of Roanoke area projects

VDOT-LogoRICHMOND, Va. (AP) _ The Commonwealth Transportation Board has approved a final six-year, $13.1 billion transportation blueprint for Virginia. The board met Wednesday in Richmond and heard from Democratic Gov. Terry  McAuliffe.   Earlier this year, the board staked out a plan that includes $9.9 billion earmarked for highway construction.  The board allocates funding for essential highway, bridge, rail and other transportation projects, starting July 1. The program is updated annually to reflect the latest revenue projections and other priorities.  Besides highway construction, the plan allocates $3.2 billion for rail and public transportation.

(Continue reading for the list of major Salem District projects funded under the plan.)

Route 220, Botetourt County – The program allocates $78 million in new funding to improve safety along a stretch of Route 220 that has been the site of fatal crashes.  Most of the allocation, $64 million, will rebuild and widen 2.8 miles of Route 220 between routes 622 and 696.  The remaining $14 million will go toward preliminary engineering and some right of way acquisition for two other segments.

I-81 reconstruction at Exit 150, Botetourt County – The program allocates nearly $47 millionto improve the safety and traffic flow at the intersection of Route 11 and Route 220/Route 220 Alternate.  The project will reduce congestion to and from I-81 at this busy intersection.

I-81 Northbound bridge replacement, Montgomery County – Nearly $62 million is allocated for project development to replace the aging I-81 bridge over the New River and rebuild the Route 232 overpass.

Route 460 Southgate Connector, Blacksburg – The program restores the full $46.7 million to the Route 460 Southgate Connector project, which will replace the signalized intersection at Route 460 and Southgate Drive at the entrance to Virginia Tech with a diverging diamond interchange. This new interchange will eliminate one of the last at-grade intersections on the Blacksburg Bypass section of U.S. Route 460.  The project is being developed in coordination with plans to extend the runway at the airport and the next phase of expansion at the Corporate Research Center.

Falling Branch Park and Ride lot Relocation, Montgomery County – The program includes $5.8 million to relocate and expand the existing Park and Ride lot off I-81 at exit 118.  The lot serves as a stop for public transit and MegaBus.  Relocating the lot will alleviate safety concerns from parents from nearby Falling Branch Elementary School about bus patrons who trespass on school property seeking restrooms or other amenities.

I-81 safety improvements, Botetourt County – The programprovides $3 million to begin preliminary engineering work to improve the roadway alignment and straighten curves on   a section of northbound I-81 near Buchanan.  Traffic diverting onto Route 11 during numerous traffic incidents on I-81 at this location hinders mobility and creates safety concerns for the Town of Buchanan.

Route 58 Corridor development improvements – Nearly$670,000 in included in program for planning Route 58 Corridor Development projects.

Transit improvements – Expansion of Amtrak service to Roanoke.

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