Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

May 12, 2013

Tazewell County: $24M-plus to improve roadways

By KATE COIL
Bluefield Daily Telegraph

TAZEWELL, Va. — Several multi-million dollar road-widening and reconstruction projects are planned for Tazewell County as part of the Virginia Department of Transportation’s six-year road plan.

Conrad Hill, a spokesperson with the Virginia Department of Transportation, said VDOT and the Tazewell County Board of Supervisors have worked out plans to address some of the county’s most pressing road needs by the end of the 2018-2019 fiscal year.

One of the largest projects Hill said is a $12 million reconstruction and road-widening project on a section of Mud Fork Road between Route 642 and Route 644. Hill said approximately 2.3 miles of roadway will be widened or reconstructed.

“The $12 million price tag is a projection and we will refine that some,” he said. “That is a very large project and we thought $12 million was a good starting point for it. We will be refining that as we go along. Reconstruction of the road is not cheap. You’ve got right of way, fee costs, storm water management costs, and all those things add up to a large budget. It is a fairly large project and we have started to accumulate funding on that.”

Hill said VDOT is also planning on an $8.36 million reconstruction project on 1.73 miles of Big Branch Road/Route 696 near the intersection with Virginia Route 102. Hill said the governor has already pre-approved funding for the project.

A $1.82 million project aimed to reconstruct a portion of Dix Creek Road/Route 643 is also planned. Hill said the project will take place on a one-mile stretch of the road near the intersection with Route 810.

“The Dix Creek project is scheduled for 2016,” Hill said. “There was money that had to be programmed in from the unpaved roads fund to fully fund the project.”

A $1.5 million road-widening and expansion plan is also planned for 2.5 miles of Wolf Harber Road between Route 651 and Route 655, Hill said. Other road projects included in the plan are an $800,000 reconstruction to half a mile of Route 747 near the Pocahontas State Correctional Center and a $300,000 project on half a mile of road on Lick Branch Road/Route 686 between Route 631 and Route 636,

“Hopefully, as we move along we will see the funding increase for these projects,” Hill said. “We continue to build moneys for these projects and more projects in the future.”

Hill said changes to transportation taxes will mean VDOT can provide some additional funding for secondary road-paving projects in the coming years as well.

“With the development of governor’s new plan for changing the tax structure for transportation we now have some additional money available to us,” Hill said. “It’s not a lot of additional money but it is some additional money. Starting this year and 2014, we have money that is used on unpaved roads that receive more than 200 vehicles a day. Those start out at $200,000 the first year and go up to $280,000. Starting in 2017, unpaved funds can be used for any road that sees more than 50 vehicles per day.”

— Contact Kate Coil at kcoil@bdtonline.com