Six of the 49 proposed major highway improvement projects being considered by the VDOTs’ Salem District for submission in this round of Smart Scale funding to the Commonwealth Transportation Board (CTP) are in Botetourt— while others proposed on I-81 in Roanoke County will also have a profound effect on local drivers.
The public will get a chance to review and comment on those projects Thursday, Oct. 25 during a Virginia Department of Transportation public hearing at 2 p.m. at the Holiday Inn Valley View, 3315 Ordway Drive NW, Roanoke. That public input session is a prelude to a second public input meeting at 3 p.m. at the same location— this one with recommendations from an I-81 corridor study ordered by the General Assembly earlier this year. Following a presentation on the I-81 recommendations at that meeting, there will be an opportunity for the public to provide comments about the study. Individual formal comments will be limited to three minutes.
Those attending the Smart Scale planning meeting will be able to view displays to learn about transportation planning, interact with VDOT experts, and review the proposed local and regional projects that have been submitted for scoring through the Smart Scale process. Of the six proposed projects in Botetourt, four come from the county, one from the Roanoke Valley Transportation Planning Organization (TPO) and one from the Roanoke Valley-Alleghany Regional Commission (RVARC) The latter two deal with I-81 projects. The TPO is asking the CTB to include adding a third southbound lane to I-81 between Exit 150 and the truck weight station. The cost estimate for that project is just over $24 million. The other I-81 project proposed by the RVARC involves making improvements to northbound I-81 between mile marker 167.4 and 169.5 south and north of Exits 167 and 168.
The estimated cost of that project is over $82 million. The Botetourt Board of Supervisors submitted the other four projects— although two of them include the proposed traffic flow improvements on US 220 in Daleville that involve restricting left turns and making restricted U-turn RCut median crossovers at several locations between Catawba Road and Exit 150 and adding stoplights at Lord Botetourt High School.
That’s considered a “superstreet improvement” is expected to cost almost $6.4 million. The added components for that project in a separate application includes straightening and making improvements to Brughs Mill Road between US 220 and I-81 Exit 156. That component is designed to lessen congestion on US 220 in Daleville with an alternative route between I-81 and US 220. This project with the superstreet improvements on US 220 in Daleville is expected to cost almost $19.4 million.
The other projects submitted by the supervisors are intersection improvements with a restricted U-turn RCut crossover at the intersection of US 220 and International Parkway at Botetourt Center at Greenfield and an entrance to Ashley Plantation. The projected cost for that project is just over $4.5 million. The supervisors also submitted a proposed $2.9 million project to improve the alignment and make bike and pedestrian improvements on Glebe Road in Daleville. All of the projects will be scored by the CTB later in the year and those getting funding will be announced after the first of the year. Those getting funding will be added as the last year of the state’s Six-Year-Road Improvement Plan.
The I-81 Corridor Study meeting Feedback from the I-81 Corridor meeting will be considered as the VDOT and CTB team members finalize the I-81 corridor study and prepare a draft plan report in the fall.
Recommendations will be presented to the CTB for adoption prior to the opening of the 2019 General Assembly session. Those recommendations will include alternatives for funding the estimated $4.25 billion in proposed improvements on 105 projects along the 325 section of interstate in Virginia. Initially, the recommendation is to focus on a $2 billion improvement package of 72 projects with those based on a Smart Scale-like process to determine what projects are done. The study team has been considering alternative open road tolls on commercial trucks, tolls on cars and trucks, “time of day” tolling, annual commuter toll pass, a regional motor fuels tax and a regional retail sales tax. Both of the latter are along the corridor through western Virginia. The team is recommending a regional .7 percent addition to the sales tax and a 2.1 percent regional fuel tax. Several of the discussed improvements— all designed to reduce congestion— include widening the interstate to three lanes through the Roanoke Valley to mile maker 152, extending acceleration and deceleration lanes at Exit 162 south of Buchanan, adding truck climbing lanes from mile marker 165 to 169 around Buchanan, straightening the curves between mile marker 172 and 176 in Rockbridge County, and extending the deceleration and acceleration lanes at the Trouville rest area at mile marker 158. For those who cannot attend the meetings, comments can be submitted as follows: • Smart Scale six-year plan: VDOT Infrastructure Investment Director, 1401 East Broad Street, Richmond Va., 23219, or email: SixYearProgram@VDOT. Virginia.gov • I-81 Corridor Improvement Plan Meeting: Ben Mannell, 1401 East Broad Street, Richmond Va., 23219, or email VA81CorridorPlan@ OIPI.Virginia.gov