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Culpeper bypass budget news positive

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VDOT had some good news for the Culpeper County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday.

If a two-lane roadbed is used, estimates are that the western outer loop could be built with the $15.2 million available.

“We think we have a design that is deliverable with the current allocation,” Assistant District Administrator Brent Sprinkel told the board.

That design, Sprinkel explained, would involve minor modifications at the State Route 729 and U.S. 522 intersections, as well as culvert changes in a key floodplain area along Balds Run.

For $2.5 million more, however, the second leg of an envisioned U.S. 29 to U.S. 29 western bypass could be built on a four-lane roadbed, which would save the county millions if the highway was widened later.

Supervisor Sue Hansohn, in whose district the project would be built, asked Sprinkel if it would be possible to use VDOT revenue sharing funds to cut the county’s share of the $2.5 million in half. He said he thought that was a good possibility.

Originally, VDOT estimated the cost of building the western outer loop at $15.2 million and for seven years the Board of Supervisors channeled revenue sharing money into a bank account for the project.

As late as the late summer of 2013, VDOT said the project was on schedule and began buying right of way for the 2-mile road last fall.

But right-of-way purchases were abruptly halted in March when new estimates for the project ballooned to $23 million. At that point the supervisors pressured VDOT to come up with a plan to remedy the situation.

Sprinkel said yesterday that right-of-way purchasing restarted in June and that the project could be advertised for bids no later than April of next year.

Two bids will be solicited, one for a two-lane road on a two-lane roadbed and one for a two-lane road on a four-lane roadbed. Should the four-lane roadbed option come in under the $2.5 million estimate, the county’s share of the additional expenses would decrease.

Construction could start by July of next year, with completion scheduled for the late winter of 2016–17.

The Board of Supervisors decided Tuesday to hold off until fiscal 2017 to seek VDOT revenue sharing funds for the additional dollars that likely will be needed for the outer-loop project.

“It would be better to wait until we see how those bids come back,” said County Planner John Egerston.

Instead, the supervisors voted to ask for just over $1 million in revenue sharing funds for fiscal to pave parts of three gravel roads. With matching funds, the county will upgrade .7 mile of Cabin Road (Route 607), 2 miles of Twin Mountain Road (Route 647) and .6 miles of Fields Mill Road.

This is the third year in a row that Culpeper has sought revenue sharing funds to upgrade rural roads.

VDOT resident administrator Mark Nesbit reported that construction should begin on the widening to four lanes of the final 5.1 miles of State Route 3 by March of next year.

VDOT’s David Cubbage also told the supervisors that a public hearing on the signalization of U.S. 29 at Mountain Run Lake Road will be held this fall.

Construction on that project, at what has been considered an extremely dangerous intersection and crossover, could begin in late 2016.

Excavation work, to improve line-of-sight problems at the intersection, could close one lane of the northbound lanes for the entire duration of the project. Those lanes would alternate.

In other action Tuesday the Board of Supervisors voted unanimously to name the new sheriff’s office for retired Sheriff Robert Peters, who served in that capacity for 31 years.

Donnie Johnston:

djohnston@freelancestar.com

Permalink: http://news.fredericksburg.com/newsdesk/2014/09/02/western-bypass-budget-news-positive/