Michelle Earl 276-696-3283
Sept. 8, 2015
Major highway projects in region wrap up in 2015, two major projects begin
BRISTOL— In 2015 the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) and its contractors will complete five major construction projects valued at a combined $146 million and begin two projects valued at $149 million.
Additionally, the VDOT Bristol District will spend approximately $31.4 million to resurface 537 lane miles of state-maintained routes during the 2015 paving season, which typically extends between April and November.
The major projects wrapping up in 2015 include:
- Interstate 81 Exit 7 (Bristol): Improvements to the interchange are scheduled to wrap up this month. The project will better accommodate traffic volumes at the busy interchange, which handles approximately 19,000 vehicles per day. The approximately $4 million project began March 2014 and is being performed by Orders Construction, Inc., St. Albans, W. Va.
- Route 670 Avens Bridge (Washington County): Replacement of the former truss bridge, originally built over South Holston Lake in 1949, wrapped up in July. The project began September 2013 and cost approximately $19 million to construct. Orders Construction Company, St. Albans, W. Va., was the contractor.
- Route 58 widening (Washington County): The third of four phases of Route 58 widening between Abingdon and Damascus wrapped up in July. The 2.6-mile project stretches from just east of Route 638 (Lacy Drive) to Route 708 (Rhea Valley Road). Construction cost approximately $18 million and W-L Construction and Paving, Inc., Chilhowie, was the contractor. One additional widening project remains and is located from the West Corporate Limits of Damascus to near Route 708 (Rhea Valley Road). Phase IV of the Route 58 widening is funded in VDOT’s Six-Year Improvement Plan; however, to date right of way has not been scheduled.
- Route 83 Lover’s Gap (Buchanan County): Reconstruction of the .2-mile section of Route 83, which included a connection to new Route 744 and the county’s redevelopment site, wrapped up in June. The project straightened sharp curves and lessened the road grade. Vecellio & Grogan, Inc. Beckley, W. Va., was the contractor for the $12 million construction project.
- Route 460 Connector Phase I (Buchanan County): Construction for the Route 460 Connector Phase I, which includes construction of the tallest bridge in Virginia, wraps up this month. The project cost $93 million to construct.
Known as the Grassy Creek Bridges, the twin bridges are over 250-feet-high and 1,700 linear feet long. The road is a .8-mile four-lane divided highway that includes an access ramp to Route 80, improving access to Breaks Interstate Park.
VDOT is working with the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet to connect both states’ construction segments that when completed will stretch from Pikeville, Kentucky to Grundy, Virginia. In late 2017, traffic is anticipated to begin using Virginia’s Route 460 Phase I to access new Route 460 in Kentucky to just outside of Elk Horn City. As construction is completed in each state, more sections will open.
In addition to key projects wrapping up in 2015, two major projects will begin:
Interstate 81 Exit 14
Reconstruction of the Interstate 81 exit 14 interchange was advertised for construction bids in August. The $44 million project includes reconstruction of the north and southbound I-81 bridges over Jonesboro Road and reconstruction of the interchange on and off ramps, separating the on and off ramp northbound to remove the weaving in and out of traffic.
Jonesboro Road will also be reconstructed, providing two through lanes in each direction with a raised median and dual left turn lanes for the I-81 northbound entrance ramp. Traffic signals will be installed on Jonesboro Road where the I-81 ramps intersect.
Additionally, Dennison Drive will be reconstructed to raise the roadway and the intersection of Dennison Drive and Jonesboro Road will be relocated to improve traffic flow and access.
For a period of 1-2 months during construction of the northbound I-81 off ramp, traffic will use exit 13 and Route 611 (Spring Branch Road) to access Jonesboro Road. Vehicle traffic will use Route 611 (Spring Branch Road) to access the south end of Jonesboro Road and truck traffic will use Route 611 to access Route 11 and the north end of Jonesboro Road.
During construction, two lanes of traffic in each direction will be maintained along I-81.
“This is a complex project but our goal is to keep two lanes of traffic moving along I-81 during construction,” Dennis Harris, P.E., assistant district administrator for preliminary engineering, said. “This will be a great safety improvement for motorists because the work will eliminate the traffic weave at the exit.”
Route 460 Connector Phase II
Construction of the next phase of new Route 460 construction in Virginia - the Route 460 Connector Phase II - begins this fall. The project stretches 6.2 miles and will provide a limited access four-lane highway between the newly constructed Route 460 Phase I project near Breaks Interstate Park to a connection with the proposed Route 121 (Coalfield Expressway) in Buchanan County.
Bizzack Construction, LLC, Lexington, Ky., is the contractor for the design-build contract, which will cost approximately $105 million to construct. The coal synergy concept will be used with this project to provide a road to rough grade at reduced cost. An additional contract will pave the road once construction is complete.
Because the project is on new location, impacts to traffic will be minimal. The Route 460 Connector Phase II will be completed by mid-2018.
Information in VDOT news releases was accurate at the time the release was published. For the most current information about projects or programs, please visit the project or program Web pages. You may find those by searching by keyword in the search Virginia DOT box above.