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Road plan includes $35M for Pulaski Co.

I-81 bridge-New River-webBy MELINDA WILLIAMS

melinda@southwesttimes.com

 

The Commonwealth Transportation Board (CTB) will hold a public hearing June 4 on a $15.4 billion draft Six-Year Improvement Program (SYIP) that includes just over $35 million in road projects in Pulaski County and $533 million in the Salem District.

Statewide, the draft program, for fiscal years 2014-2019, consists of almost $4 billion in additional funding as a result of House Bill 2313, the state’s first comprehensive transportation funding plan approved in 27 years. Gov. Bob McDonnell signed the bill into law after approval by the 2013 General Assembly.

Major new Salem District highlights that impact Pulaski County include:

•$47.1 million district wide for paving and pavement rehabilitation projects for interstate and primary roads.

•An additional $47 million to eliminate a shortfall in funding for replacement of the northbound I-81 bridge over the New River.

The $78.1 million bridge project is fully funded and to be advertised for construction bids in fiscal year 2018, according to Virginia Department of Transportation. The northbound project is included in Montgomery County’s allocations, but the SYIP lists the southbound bridge project among Pulaski County’s allocations.

The northbound project already had $6.5 million allocated. The remaining $71.6 million needed to complete it will be allocated during fiscal years 2014, 2017 and 2018. Already allocated to the southbound project is $2 million, with the balance of the estimated $6.1 million project allocated in the last three years of the SYIP.

•An additional $8.9 million district wide to pave unpaved secondary roads with traffic volumes of more than 200 vehicles per day. Residency Maintenance Manager David Clarke told Pulaski County Board of Supervisors Monday night that the county doesn’t have many secondary roads meeting the 200 vehicles per day volume.

•An additional $11.3 million for counties across the district to prioritize as part of secondary road improvements.  These funds are to be allocated in fiscal years 2017-2019.

Salem District funding increase more than 20 percent over last year’s $431 million SYIP for the district.

The draft SYIP also shows just under $4.7 million previously appropriated for four-laning of Route 99 in the town of Pulaski. However, Pulaski Town Council has already decided to use that funding for improvements to the Route 99 corridor other than four-laning because funding is not accumulating fast enough to keep up with escalating construction costs for extending four lanes beyond the Bob White Boulevard intersection.

The public has the opportunity to review the draft program and provide input, which will be taken into consideration by the CTB before the final program is adopted in June. The program goes into effect July 1.

The June 4 public hearing for the Salem, Bristol, Lynchburg and Staunton districts begins at 6 p.m. at Northside High School in Roanoke.

The full draft SYIP is available online at www.virginiadot.org/projects/syp-default.asp.