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Big projects get a boost

The Commonwealth Transportation Board laid out a six-year plan Wednesday that has an additional $4 billion in its overall budget and looks at adding another lane to congested Interstate 95 in Stafford County. 

The $15.4 billion statewide plan for 2014–19 includes a $2.2 million study on adding a fourth lane and widening the shoulders on I–95 between the Garrisonville Road and Centreport Parkway exits.

There also is funding for two area bridge rehabilitation projects, $184 million for the State Route 630 interchange project in Stafford and $55 million for engineering work on new feeder roads and bridges across the Rappahannock as part of the planned I–95 Rappahannock River Crossing.

The 14-county Fredericksburg District would get $448 million in the plan, which includes many big area projects, some of which have been in the funding stream for years:

Widening of U.S. 17 in Stafford

Commuter parking lot expansions

The Falmouth intersection project, which is adding lanes at the junction of U.S. 1, U.S. 17 and Butler Road

Bridge work in Fredericksburg, Stafford and Caroline

Road work in Stafford, Spotsylvania, King George and Westmoreland counties

An additional $20.5 million for I–95 improvements in Stafford, Spotsylvania and Caroline.

The amount of money for the Fredericksburg District in the revised six-year plan draft is almost double the previous amount.

“I am pleased to see that the decision we made in Richmond to improve and adequately fund Virginia’s transportation needs is bearing fruit,” said Del. Mark Dudenhefer, R–Stafford. “None of this would have been possible without passage of the transportation bill.”

Cord Sterling, a Stafford County supervisor and member of the Commonwealth Transportation Board, said, “The future of transportation in the Fredericksburg region means less congestion, smoother roads with fewer potholes, and new highway capacity and bridges to deliver people where they need to go.”

The transportation bill, signed by Gov. Bob McDonnell on Monday, funds $3.4 billion of work for the coming fiscal year. The governor touted the measure as the first “comprehensive transportation funding plan approved in 27 years.”

In a release on Wednesday, he also talked about the improvements scheduled in the six-year plan.

“Because of the new sustainable funding, the CTB can now look at the entire six-year program with a long-term focus on improving the transportation system we have, building projects and planning new ones,” McDonnell said.

In signing the transportation bill, the governor pointed out several fundamental changes in planning and funding: the state’s recent gas and sales tax changes; tying transportation funding to the new taxing approach; and treating transportation “like the true core function of government one essential to economic growth and job creation in our state.”

The governor’s release said the plan funds statewide work on pavement and bridges, improvements to mass transit, including rail work, and advancements in “smart” road technology.

Four public hearings will be held on the proposed six-year plan, and the CTB will vote on it in June. The hearing for the Fredericksburg District is scheduled for 6 p.m. Tuesday, May 28, in the VDOT Central Office Auditorium, 1201 E. Broad St., Richmond.

Scott Shenk: 540/374-5436