Governor Northam joins groundbreaking for Route 58 widening project
MEADOWS OF DAN, Va. (WDBJ) - Governor Ralph Northam joined a groundbreaking ceremony Wednesday morning, marking the next phase to expand Route 58.
It’s a $300 million project that will widen 7.4 miles of the road in Patrick County over Lovers Leap Mountain. It begins a quarter mile west of the Poor Farmers Farm store in Vesta and continues eastward. It’s part of the larger project to create a continuous four-lane highway between Virginia Beach and Interstate 77.
Northam and others officially broke ground at the Fred Clifton Park in Meadows of Dan at an overlook near Route 58.
“Route 58 is a vital road for locals, tourists, and commercial traffic, connecting southern Virginia from the beach to the mountains,” Governor Northam said. “By widening this key section, the project will open up this part of Southwest Virginia to faster, safer travel and more economic investment.”
The construction plan will include widening the road to four lanes, improving alignments and grades, expanding the shoulders, adding turn lanes at all secondary road connections and enhancing the Lovers Leap Overlook. According to the governor’s office, brake check areas and escape ramps for trucks are also in the plan.
This project is a part of the U.S. Route 58 Corridor Development Program, enacted by the Virginia General Assembly in 1989. According to Northam, the project will address the safety challenges caused by the steep angles and winding curves that drivers encounter on Lovers Leap Mountain. This two-lane section of Route 58 currently is restricted to tractor trailers but the restriction will be removed once the improvements are completed.
The widening of Route 58 is being completed under an agreement between the Virginia Department of Transportation and Branch Civil Inc.
“Once the General Assembly prioritized funding for the project, the Virginia Department of Transportation and our partner Branch Civil used an innovative progressive design-build approach to refine the design and advance the project to construction,” said Commissioner of Highways Stephen Brich in a statement. “This was the first time this contracting style was used in Virginia and supported a new level of engagement between the Virginia Department of Transportation and our contracting partner.”
More than 10 million cubic yards of soil and rock on Lovers Leap Mountain will need to be excavated at elevations that range between 1,300 and 3,000 feet.
There are two additional projects to widen Route 58 between Virginia Beach and I-77. These include projects at Vesta (four miles) and Crooked Oak (7.2 miles).
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