The News Desk is a collection of news, notes and breaking items affecting the Fredericksburg community.
State’s six-year road plan approved
BY SCOTT SHENK
The Commonwealth Transportation Board on Wednesday approved an $11.4 billion Six-Year Improvement Plan that provides funds for statewide road maintenance and hundreds of transportation projects.
Several area projects are included.
The approved funding is $800,000 more than what was proposed. The plan budget also tops the 2012–17 plan by the same amount.
Most of that increase, according to a statement from Gov. Bob McDonnell, comes from public and private funding for the $940 million Interstate 95 express lanes project that will extend modified HOV lanes into Stafford County. The express lanes will carry a toll for vehicles with fewer than three people.
“The six-year program advances projects that will relieve congestion in the most heavily traveled areas of the state and improve numerous roads and bridges throughout Virginia,” McDonnell said in a statement. “The program also supports a better multimodal system, moving more people with fewer cars.”
Cord Sterling, a member of the CTB and the Stafford Board of Supervisors, said the Fredericksburg District is one of the better-funded areas in the state.
“We’ve got some major projects we’re moving on,” he said.
But, he added, there still isn’t enough money to go around.
“We have more projects than we do resources,” he said.
In the six-year program, primary roads got the biggest chunk of the highway budget at $2.8 billion, followed by the interstates at $1.7 billion, according to VDOT documents.
The Fredericksburg area has scores of projects in the six-year plan, most of which carry over from previous years.
One of Stafford’s key projects is the planned new Interstate 95 interchange at Courthouse Road, an estimated $175 million project.
The project benefited by getting millions that were allocated for the controversial I–95 Rappahannock River Crossing.
That project included plans to improve the U.S. 17 interchange, add feeder roads along I–95 and add a parkway, potentially with a toll, from the Fredericksburg rest area on I–95 to the Gordon Road area of State Route 3.
Spotsylvania supervisors, who oppose the parkway, successfully derailed the River Crossing project. It has been shelved, at least temporarily. About $2 million is still set aside for the project, Sterling said.
Two other major Stafford projects are included in the plan: the estimated $50 million U.S. 17 widening and the Falmouth intersection reconstruction, estimated to cost nearly $25 million.
Key Spotsylvania projects in the plan include the State Route 3 widening and the Spotsylvania Courthouse bypass, both of which are currently under construction.
Spotsylvania’s third-track and Virginia Railway Express station projects are also included in the six-year plan.
The third-track project is estimated to cost $32 million. The station will cost $3.425 million. The projects are being paid for by VRE, CSX and Spotsylvania, as well as state and federal grants.
Fredericksburg also has several projects in the state’s six-year plan, including the canal bridge replacement on Fall Hill Avenue and the I–95 bridge replacement on the same road.
The canal bridge project will cost up to $3 million.
Work is slated to begin in January and will run through November. Fall Hill will be closed to through traffic during the project.
The I–95 bridge project, with an estimated $36.6 million price tag, is still in the design phase.
Also during Wednesday’s meeting, the CTB approved a $4.2 billion fiscal 2013 budget for the Virginia Department of Transportation.
Scott Shenk: 540/374-5436
Below is a sampling of key area projects included in the state’s 2013–2018 funding plan.
Courthouse Road/Interstate 95 interchange reconstruction
U.S. 17 widening
Falmouth intersection reconstruction
Virginia Railway Express lot expansions at Brooke and Leeland roads
U.S. 1 widening in north Stafford
The current State Route 3 widening project
The VRE third-track and station projects
Gordon Road/Route 3 commuter lot expansion
The current Courthouse Road bypass
Fall Hill Avenue canal bridge replacement
Replacement of the Fall Hill Avenue bridge over Interstate 95