It’s been a lifetime for some, but it appears at least safety improvements on US 220 north of Eagle Rock are finally going to materialize.

It’s not four lanes like the rest of US 220 in Botetourt, but the more than 9 miles of narrow two-lane road are being widened and at places straightened during the $79 million project that’s expected to take more than three years to complete.

Work on the safety improvements to US 220 between Eagle Rock and Iron Gate is scheduled to start this spring, and the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) has scheduled two “Pardon Our Dust” public information meetings about the construction.

The project will reconstruct approximately 9.65 miles of US 220 (Botetourt Road) between the James River bridge near Eagle Rock and Iron Gate as an improved two-lane road that’s designed to make travel safer.

The first meeting will be held in Alleghany County on Tuesday, March 27 from 5-7 p.m. at the former National Guard Armory Gymnasium at Dabney S. Lancaster Community College, 1000 Dabney Drive, in Clifton Forge.

The second meeting is Thursday, April 12 from 5-7 p.m. at Eagle Rock Elementary School off US 220 at Eagle Rock.

According to a VDOT announcement, the “Pardon Our Dust” public information meetings are being held to discuss construction impacts and traffic management for the upcoming project. The same information will be presented at each meeting.

The meetings will be held in an “open house” format with brief presentation at 5:15 p.m. and 6:15 p.m. at both meetings.

Representatives from VDOT and the project contractor, Faulconer Construction, will be present to discuss the proposed project and to answer questions.

The primary purpose of this project is to enhance safety along US 220 by providing an upgraded two-lane road, improving the alignment, widening shoulders, adding turn lanes, creating additional passing zones and providing centerline and edge-line rumble strips.

For more information about the project, visit

VDOT estimates completion in August 2021.

VDOT has $79 million allocated in the current six-year road improvement plan.

VDOT contractors have spent the past year building a parallel detour and construction site on US 220 between the Rt. 43 intersection and Gala.

The project is being done in three phases.

Phase 1 (the middle section) begins north of the intersection with Rt. 622 (Gala Loop Road) and ends north of the intersection with Rt. 696 east (Buhrman Road).

Phase 2 (the southern section) begins south of the intersection with Rt. 43 (Narrow Passage Road) and ends north of the intersection with Rt. 622 (Gala Loop Road).

Phase 3 (the northern section) begins north of the intersection with Rt. 696 (Buhrman Road) and ends near the intersection with Rt. 727 (Fork Farm Road).

It was reported at the February Board of Supervisors meeting that a proposed temporary asphalt plant Boxley Materials intended build on part of 20 acres in Gala is not going in. The plant was going to be used to provide asphalt for the US 220 upgrades.