ABINGDON, Va. — Virginia Department of Transportation officials hope to receive bids as early as next month to widen the road to Damascus on U.S. Highway 58.
On Thursday, VDOT officials held a virtual meeting to discuss the project, which is anticipated to be completed in 2024, said project manager Tamara Pritchard.
This construction project is part of the statewide plan to widen the 507-mile-long corridor of U.S. Highway 58 from Virginia Beach to Cumberland Gap.
That’s been in the works for more than 30 years and has included building bypasses at Clarksville, Danville, Martinsville, Hillsville, Rose Hill, Ewing and Meadows of Dan.
In Washington County, widening work has spanned from I-81’s Exit 19 at Abingdon to just west of Damascus at the Bethel community.
Now, if available funds can support it, another 3 miles of four-lane blacktop could be added, connecting Bethel Road (State Route 708) to Hollyfield Road (State Route 858), according to Pritchard.
A public hearing on this project was held in 2000, Pritchard said.
In later years, land was acquired for the project — until it was shelved for a few years, she said.
The biggest component will include twin bridges standing about 90 feet above the South Fork of the Holston River and the Virginia Creeper Trail.
These brides are set to span about 474 feet long.
The currently used single-span crossing of the South Fork of the Holston River is slated to be removed, Pritchard said.
Financially speaking, the project includes $5.7 million for preliminary engineering design; $5.7 million for right-of-way acquisition; and $43 million for construction, Pritchard said.
All funds have come from the U.S. Highway 58 state bonds.
The engineer hopes to advertise for construction bids in May or June.
In turn, Pritchard plans to advertise the project in two segments:
- From 0.038-mile east of state Route 708 (Bethel Road) to 0.200-mile east of state Route 711 (Drowning Ford Road)
- From 0.2-mile east of state Route 711 (Drowning Ford Road) to 0.278-mile east of state Route 858 (Hollyfield Road).
Following the receipt of bids, VDOT will make the decision to construct Segment 1 or to construct Segments 1 and 2, Pritchard said.
“We’re just hoping that we get a lot of competition so we can build the whole 3 miles,” Pritchard said. “If we could get somebody to come in for about $37 million, we would be set.”
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