Thursday, June 09, 2011

VDOT public meeting on Rt. 608/I-64 Fishersville bridge

It's been a long time coming and, thanks to Governor Bob McDonnell and the 2011 General Assembly, the widening of the two-lane Rt. 608 bridge over I-64's Exit 91 at Fishersville is finally on its way to becoming a reality.

Traffic congestion at the interchange has grown heavier as the area has grown. It is the primary exit for Augusta Health Center hospital, Expoland, motels, fast food, and gas stations, and traffic heading north to Fishersville or south to Stuarts Draft.

A public hearing by the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) will be held on Thursday, June 30, at Preston Yancey Volunteer Fire Department on Rt. 250 in Fishersville from 4-7:00 p.m.

The way these meetings usually work, there are maps set up for residents to check out and talk with VDOT personnel who will be happy to answer questions and explain the plan.

According to the Staunton News Leader:
The project includes work on the ramps and shoulder on Interstate 64 and widening the Route 285 bridge. The project limits on Route 285 extend from 0.7 mile north of I-64 to 0.43 mile south of I-64. Route 285 will have four lanes. Dual turn-lanes and dual receiving lanes will be provided at both I-64 on-ramps. Dual left-turn lanes will be built on Route 636 to accommodate traffic growth from the nearby hospital complex.

Due to the heavy traffic on Route 285 there will be some limitations on traffic movements at various entrances along the road to ensure smooth traffic operation along the roadway.

The Va. 285 interchange with I-64 was identified as a necessary improvement in the Route 285/608 Corridor Study in 1999, in Augusta County's Va. 608 Corridor Study in 2000 and in the Fishersville Small Area Plan.

VDOT said left-turning motorists from Va. 285 to the I-64 westbound ramp cause back-ups into the Va. 285 through lane and back to the I-64 eastbound ramps, resulting in operational problems at both ramps.

The agency said the existing Va. 285 bridge over I-64 is too narrow to allow construction of additional lanes to alleviate this problem.

VDOT believes future growth in Fishersville will cause even more congestion on Va. 285, adding that in in 2034, traffic volumes are projected to be Level of Service “F” -- the busiest under federal highway standards -- at Expo Road/Ladd Road, I-64 eastbound ramps, I-64 westbound ramps and Goose Creek Road during the morning and afternoon peak hours. VDOT said upgrading Va. 285 to a four-lane facility through the interchange area will improve overall operations to acceptable levels of service and will reduce traffic delays.
Those who frequently use the area can hardly wait to have the problem resolved.

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