Branch Highways has finished its second season of the Route 58 widening project in the Laurel Fork area of Carroll County.
“The winter weather is a severe limitation on highway construction activities so we will have to work in a limited capacity until next spring,” said Pete Copes, Branch’s general superintendent.
“We’re pleased with the progress we have made this season in excavation and installing drainage pipe,” he added. “The rainy summer resulted in a slow start, but we made up for that as much as possible.”
Approximately 40 percent of an estimated two million cubic yards has been excavated, and 10 percent of the drainage pipe has been installed.
“We accomplished these activities with a minimum of inconvenience to the public traveling on 58,” said Copes. “We also are mindful of the need to make productive use of timber and taking extra measures to ensure that as much timber as possible is made available for recycling,” he added. Commercial usable timber is transported to saw mills for other uses.
“Construction activities will resume in a big way in the spring,” said Copes. He expects approximately 175 workers to be on-site during the height of activity.
The 8.2 mile section in Carroll, Floyd and Patrick Counties is the third phase of the Route 58 corridor project to widen 37 miles from Hillsville to Stuart. The first segment, a three-mile Blue Ridge Parkway crossing at Meadows of Dan, was completed in 2006. The second segment, the 5.2 mile Hillsville bypass, was completed in 2011.
The 58 Corridor improvement project is part of a Comprehensive Agreement between VDOT and Branch Highways under the Public Private Transportation Act (PPTA.) In 1995, the General Assembly passed the PPTA allowing private companies to propose innovative solutions for design, construction, financing and operation of transportation improvements. Benefits of the PPTA are lower overall cost and quicker project completion, along with improving traffic safety and strengthening economic development in the area.