Rt. 460-11 widening promises to ease congestion
GLENVAR – Western Roanoke County will have a welcoming gateway by the time the U.S. 460-11 widening project is completed in about 1-1/2 years.
That’s what Roanoke County Board of Supervisors Chairman Butch Church is looking forward to. Church voiced those sentiments at the official groundbreaking for the project Nov. 17, held in front of the Fort Lewis Fire Department.
“I really believe it is going to be a gateway to Roanoke County from the west,” said Church, which, along with the new Glenvar Library that will be finished in a year, will dress up that area of the county.
Church was one of the local elected officials, contractors and Virginia Department of Transportation representatives who tossed ceremonial shovels of already-dug earth at the ceremonies.
Dignitaries included Salem City Council Member Lisa Garst, Virginia State Senator Ralph Smith of Roanoke, Dana Martin who is this area’s representative on the Commonwealth Transportation Board and Don Branscome of Hillsville, president of DLB Inc., the construction firm which won the contract with its low bid for the $22.6 million project.
Another was Salem District Construction Engineer Robbie Williams, who pointed out the four-lane, divided, highway should help out particularly when there are accidents on nearby Interstate 81.
“By widening this road we will eliminate a bottleneck that currently exists and improve traffic flow in the area,” Williams said, referring to the current 18,000 traffic count and an estimated increase to 34,000 in the future.
Right now, that 2.1-mile stretch is three lanes with a turning lane. The expanded highway will have raised medians, two 12-foot-wide travel lanes with a 12-foot paved shoulder which will provide room for bike lanes, and turn lanes.
There will also be sidewalks connecting with existing ones around Fort Lewis Elementary School.
“This project is near and dear to my heart,” said Church, who pushed for the widening of the highway, as well as the new Glenvar Library, since he first ran for election in 1999.
In his remarks, Martin urged contractors and VDOT to “kick up the widening project” so it would be finished before his term on the Commonwealth Transportation Board is up in the spring of 2013 rather than the estimated completion date in the fall of 2013.
“It is a pleasure not to have to whine to get a project,” he quipped.