Laurel Fork section of Rt. 58 project completed

Another section of Rt. 58 has been completed in Southwest Virginia.
Branch Highways has finished widening an 8.2-mile segment that crosses Carroll, Floyd and Patrick counties and moves the Commonwealth closer to completing the 36-mile corridor between Hillsville and Stuart.
The Hillsville-Stuart corridor is the last remaining section to complete the widening of Rt. 58 from Virginia Beach to I-77.
“Once connected to I-77, the long anticipated benefits of the Rt. 58 corridor Program designated by the General Assembly will be greatly enhanced throughout the region,” said Jason Bond, spokesman for VDOT.
Rt. 58 is Virginia’s longest roadway, stretching from the Atlantic Ocean to the southwestern tip of the Commonwealth.
Branch began construction on the Laurel Fork segment in 2012, working about six to eight months a year because of weather conditions.
“Work is challenging on Rt. 58 with the terrain and rock,” said Pete Copes, construction manager for Branch.
The eoght-mile segment was a major undertaking costing approximately $120 million, said Copes. More than 15,000 meters of pipe was installed; more than 1.6 million cubic meters of dirt was moved; 180,000 metric tons of asphalt was laid; and 128,000 metric tons of base stone was placed.
At one time, approximately 150 workers were on site, said Copes. “The investment in equipment and personnel has been an economic benefit to the area over the past four years,” he said.
Copes expressed his appreciation to residents along the corridor for their patience. “There have been detours and lane shifts and the usual inconveniences for the traveling public, and we are grateful for the cooperation of the residents,” he said.
The Laurel Fork segment is the third phase of the Hillsville-Stuart corridor to be completed. 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 finished in 2011.
Copes praised the work of the subcontractors on the project, most of which are in the region. They include D.L. Harrell of Meadows of Dan, Steve Martin’s Trenching of Martinsville, Salem Stone of Sylvatus, Gregory Seeding and Landscape of Pulaski, Adams Construction of Roanoke with a plant in Sylvatus, Nickeston Industries of Lawsonville, N.C., and Wright Brothers of Charleston, Tenn.
There are more than 19 miles of Rt. 58 in the remaining three phases, Lovers’ Leap, Mountain Vesta, and Crooked Oak. Additional construction will begin when funding becomes available. Branch is under contract with VDOT to widen the 36 miles.
“Branch is proud to partner with VDOT on Rt. 58,” said Copes. “We understand the benefits it is bringing to the area, both in safe transportation and economic development.”
The contract between Branch and VDOT is part of the Public-Private Transportation Act (PPTA), which allows private companies to propose innovative solutions for design, construction, financing and operating transportation improvements. Lower overall costs and quicker project completion can be two major benefits of the program.
Founded in 1955, Branch Highways is a member of The Branch Group, an employee-owned company based in Roanoke. Branch Highways provides full-service construction and design-build services.

An aerial view of the Laurel Fork section of the Rt. 58 four-lane project.
An aerial view of the Laurel Fork section of the Rt. 58 four-lane project.

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