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U.S. 58, bridge funds in plan
Thursday, June 19, 2014
By BEN R. WILLIAMS - Bulletin Staff Writer
Funds have been earmarked for a project to repair the Commonwealth Boulevard bridge and for planning U.S. 58 improvements, according to Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) spokesman Jason Bond.
On Wednesday, Gov. Terry McAuliffe announced that the Commonwealth Transportation Board (CTB) approved the Six-Year Improvement Program, which allocated $13.1 billion to transportation improvements statewide over the next six years beginning July 1, according to a VDOT news release.
The Commonwealth Boulevard bridge project is what is known as a locally administered project, Bond said. The city had requested a $1.3 million estimate for the repair, he added.
“The draft budget that came out in the spring did not have any money in the program for this repair,” Bond said. “The final budget that takes effect July 1 will fully fund the $1.3 million estimate that they requested.”
The bridge crosses the Dick & Willie Passage near the former Tultex building.
Bond said that the earliest the city will be able to advertise the project and request construction bids will be summer 2016.
According to a previous Bulletin report, Martinsville City Manager Leon Towarnicki said although the bridge is in no danger of collapsing, as it grows older, it requires increasingly costly maintenance.
The six-year plan also includes nearly $670,000 for planning U.S. 58 Corridor Development improvements. Bond said some of the projects are in this area but he could not be more specific on Wednesday.
The program to widen and straighten U.S. 58 across southern Virginia began in 1989. The program was intended to create “Super 58,” a four-lane expressway connecting the communities along the southern border of Virginia from Hampton Roads to the coalfields of Southwest Virginia. Four-lane U.S. 58 improvements have been completed from Virginia Beach west to Stuart.
The Commonwealth Transportation Board allocates funding for essential highway, bridge, rail and other transportation projects, starting July 1.
The six-year plan 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.
The transportation plan went on a round of public meetings around the state before Wednesday’s vote.