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Va. transportation board releases 6-year plan

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A draft of the state’s next six-year transportation plan has less money than last year, but still includes funding for some of the Fredericksburg area’s major road projects.

The Commonwealth Transportation Board’s 2015–2020 Six-Year Improvement Program draft allocates $13.1 billion statewide for road and rail projects. That figure is $1.3 billion less than last year’s plan, “because state revenues and federal highway and transit funding have decreased,” the Virginia Department of Transportation said in a release.

Bridge and pavement work are two primary focuses of the plan, according to the draft.

The Fredericksburg area has numerous projects—big and small—in the draft plan.

The draft includes $75 million for the Rappahannock River Crossing project, the biggest slice of the funding pie among Fredericksburg District projects.

The planned project would add collector–distributor roads along Interstate 95 from the U.S. 17 exit in Stafford to the State Route 3 exit. It would include additional bridges over the Rappahannock River. Both interchanges also would be rebuilt as part of the project.

Another portion of the crossing project, the controversial Rappahannock Parkway, is not included in the CTB’s plan. Spotsylvania officials continue to oppose the parkway, which would run from I–95 at the visitors center to the Gordon Road area of Route 3.

Another major project in the six-year plan is replacement of the Fall Hill Avenue bridge over I–95 in Fredericksburg. The draft earmarks $44 million for that project.

The existing overpass will be replaced with a four-lane structure. The bridge widening also will allow for the extension of the planned I–95 express lanes to the Massaponax area.

That project includes the widening of Fall Hill Avenue from the Rappahannock Canal Bridge to the section that already has four lanes. Also, Mary Washington Boulevard will be extended to Fall Hill near the canal bridge, where a roundabout is planned.

The Falmouth intersection project is included in the six-year plan, with $22 million in funding. Work has begun on that project, which will add eight lanes to the often congested intersection. Work is expected to be completed in September 2015.

The CTB plan includes some funding for the eventual replacement of the U.S. 1 Falmouth and Route 3 Chatham bridges, two major but deteriorating structures spanning the Rappahannock River.

The plan allocates $4.5 million for the replacement of the Falmouth Bridge, which has an estimated cost of $50 million.

The Chatham Bridge, which would cost an estimated $17 million to replace, would get $3 million in the six-year plan.

There are no specific plans yet in place to replace either bridge.

The six-year plan lists the tentative construction date as 2025 for each bridge replacement.

The CTB’s plan also includes $37 million for a planned new interchange at U.S. 29 and State Route 666 in Culpeper County.

The CTB will host nine public hearings on the plan through May before voting on it in June.

Scott Shenk: 540/374-5436

sshenk@freelancestar.com

 

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