In the spring of 2012 spring Del. Lacey Putney announced that 22 million dollars worth of upgrades and improvements had been approved by Transportation Board and in the subsequent VDOT 6 year plan for US 220 North, Botetourt Road. Putney and Sean Connaughton Sec’y of Transportation for the Commonwealth of Virginia met with constituents at Dabney S. Lancaster Community College concerning the road in October 2011. For decades the stretch road had been anticipated to become four lane. The targeted area is the two lane highway north of Eagle Rock to Iron Gate in Botetourt County and the improvements are mostly for safety and improving travel and do not include four lane construction.
These improvements do have much needed safety improvements in the current six year plan including bridge widening, road safety and turn lane safety projects.
Thus far in the past few months the following accomplishments in the project have been made. The information comes from VDOT Public relations officer Jason Bond in the Salem District:
-Roadway striping and raised pavement markers. The center lines have been repainted and the markers placed in the pavement. The markers are reflective in the center line and draw the attention of drivers to the center line at night. “This was completed earlier this summer,” noted Bond. Cost $300,000. He also noted some of the two lane road improvements county wide have been done with left over snow removal funds.
-Shoulder wedging and guard rail improvements on the 13.5 mile stretch will begin either later this month or in September. The shoulder widening on two lane primaries is to improve safety on narrow or no shoulder areas. ” This can help when a driver runs off the road and over corrects often sending them into the oncoming opposite lane or across the road to impact . There will be some rumble stripping on the shoulders in specified areas that will serve as driver alert. Guard rails will be placed in 2.5 miles of additional new areas. Guardrails in 5.5 miles will be removed and replaced with upgrades. He said this will likely begin in either late August or early September. Cost $5. 2 million.
-In the future plans are the improvement or replacement of seven narrow bridges in the corridor. Currently the bridge project is in preliminary engineering. “We are looking at what can be done to widen the bridges and that would include replacing or simply widening the bridges,” said Bond. He said a tentative date of advertising for bids is sometime in 2015. A cost of $ 8.5 million is anticipated, but of course will depend on the final reports and plans.
–Also in the future six year plan are turn lane improvements. They too, are in the preliminary engineering plan and will proceed to development over the next several years. Anticipated cost is $8.2 million but can change with the final plan. Putney said in the spring, “I will continue my efforts to upgrade Route 220 as well as other important matters to the Botetourt and Alleghany area. “