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Board wants Exit 94 project back on list

PULASKI — Citing safety as a primary concern, the Pulaski County Board of Supervisors is seeking to have Exit 94 improvements placed back in Virginia Department of Transportation’s Fiscal Years 2009-2014 Six Year Improvement Program.
At the urging of Ingles District Supervisor Ranny Akers, the supervisors unanimously voted to approve a resolution requesting the Commonwealth Transportation Board (CTB) to reconsider a decision to remove the project from the plan.
Nearly 600 projects were either delayed or removed from the program. Secretary of Transportation Pierce R. Homer pointed out a $1.1 billion shortfall has forced the state to “focus only on safety and projects that we can advance through the pipeline to make the most of the funds we have available.”
The Exit 94 project would have reconstructed the northbound acceleration lane at the exit, off Route 99. It’s a project that has garnered the support of many area residents and officials who feel the lane is too short and poses a traffic hazard for motorists entering Interstate 81 and already traveling on 81.
Akers said he doesn’t know how the CTB can remove the Exit 94 improvements if safety was a major focus of the decision as to which programs to cut or delay.
“I’m sure there are other projects in the state (left in the program) that aren’t as much of a safety issue as Exit 94,” he added.
“I think the safety issues there needed to be addressed a long time ago. I believe there was an engineering flaw made at construction time.”
Akers spoke with Pulaski Town Councilman-elect Robert Bopp after Monday night’s meeting, urging him to have the Town Council follow suit with its own resolution.
The Exit 94 improvements project was one of two Pulaski County projects affected by a shortfall in the $10.1 billion program adopted last week. The program addresses funding for public transportation, rail and highway projects that will begin July 1.
The other local project that was cut was reconstruction of a section of Rock Creek Road (Route 764) from Route 693 to the Carroll County line.
The 2009-2014 program commits $7.9 billion statewide for highway construction and $2.2 billion for public transportation and rail over the next six years. There are 2,288 individual line items in the program that represent safety, bridge, maintenance and operations, transit, construction and rail projects.
A slowing economy, shrinking revenues and increased maintenance costs were cited as reasons for the shortfall.

Lists of other projects delayed or removed from the program are posted on VDOT’s web site at http://www.virginiadot.org/projects/syp-default.asp.
“The majority of the projects in the plan are targeted to much-needed bridges, pavement rehabilitation projects and safety programs. We have to make tough decisions about what projects we can afford,” Homer added.
The commonwealth is required by law to adopt a Six-Year Improvement Program by July 1 each year based upon the most recent official transportation revenue estimates issued by the Department of Taxation.

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Board wants Exit 94 project back on list

PULASKI — Citing safety as a primary concern, the Pulaski County Board of Supervisors is seeking to have Exit 94 improvements placed back in Virginia Department of Transportation’s Fiscal Years 2009-2014 Six Year Improvement Program.
At the urging of Ingles District Supervisor Ranny Akers, the supervisors unanimously voted to approve a resolution requesting the Commonwealth Transportation Board (CTB) to reconsider a decision to remove the project from the plan.
Nearly 600 projects were either delayed or removed from the program. Secretary of Transportation Pierce R. Homer pointed out a $1.1 billion shortfall has forced the state to “focus only on safety and projects that we can advance through the pipeline to make the most of the funds we have available.”
The Exit 94 project would have reconstructed the northbound acceleration lane at the exit, off Route 99. It’s a project that has garnered the support of many area residents and officials who feel the lane is too short and poses a traffic hazard for motorists entering Interstate 81 and already traveling on 81.
Akers said he doesn’t know how the CTB can remove the Exit 94 improvements if safety was a major focus of the decision as to which programs to cut or delay.
“I’m sure there are other projects in the state (left in the program) that aren’t as much of a safety issue as Exit 94,” he added.
“I think the safety issues there needed to be addressed a long time ago. I believe there was an engineering flaw made at construction time.”
Akers spoke with Pulaski Town Councilman-elect Robert Bopp after Monday night’s meeting, urging him to have the Town Council follow suit with its own resolution.
The Exit 94 improvements project was one of two Pulaski County projects affected by a shortfall in the $10.1 billion program adopted last week. The program addresses funding for public transportation, rail and highway projects that will begin July 1.
The other local project that was cut was reconstruction of a section of Rock Creek Road (Route 764) from Route 693 to the Carroll County line.
The 2009-2014 program commits $7.9 billion statewide for highway construction and $2.2 billion for public transportation and rail over the next six years. There are 2,288 individual line items in the program that represent safety, bridge, maintenance and operations, transit, construction and rail projects.
A slowing economy, shrinking revenues and increased maintenance costs were cited as reasons for the shortfall.

Lists of other projects delayed or removed from the program are posted on VDOT’s web site at http://www.virginiadot.org/projects/syp-default.asp.
“The majority of the projects in the plan are targeted to much-needed bridges, pavement rehabilitation projects and safety programs. We have to make tough decisions about what projects we can afford,” Homer added.
The commonwealth is required by law to adopt a Six-Year Improvement Program by July 1 each year based upon the most recent official transportation revenue estimates issued by the Department of Taxation.

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