|The Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) has entered into an amended agreement with Branch Civil Inc. to widen 7.4 miles of U.S. 58 in Patrick County.
The $300 million project will improve safety on the portion of U.S. 58 over Lovers Leap Mountain by expanding the road from two lanes to four lanes starting 0.7 mile north of Stuart and extending to 0.3 mile east of Virginia 610 (Cloudbreak Road), according to Jason Bond, spokesman for the department.
Construction is expected to begin in summer 2021 with completion in late spring 2026.
Bond said the design plans for the project have not been completed.
“The contractor is currently gathering some geotechnical information and soil samples and working towards completing those plans. There are some temporary access roads that are going in on right of way. Those will help prepare for the construction also that will be coming later this summer,” he said, adding there will also be some temporary field offices constructed in the area.
The project will not begin all at once, according to Bond.
“It’s a seven-mile-long project, so there are sections that will start before others, but we should have a better schedule for that once the design plans are completed,” he said.
Bond said the contractor is expected to finish gathering geotechnical information this summer. “The clearing and grubbing could begin this summer, and if it does, it will start probably around” the intersection of U.S. 58 and Virginia 8, he said.
Crystal Harris, chairman of the Patrick County Board of Supervisors, said this part of the project has been a long time coming.
“I think it’s going to help the county, and I think it will help tourism,” Harris said. “It’s a corridor, from the mountains to the beach.”
VDOT established a public-private agreement in 2003 with Branch Civil Inc. to develop and widen 36-miles of Route 58 from Hillsville to Stuart as funding becomes available. VDOT signed an amendment to this agreement for the Lovers Leap phase in November.
“The Route 58 widening over Lovers Leap is being developed as a design-build project which means that the road design is still being completed while some work activities may begin,” said
Once the design is finalized in late summer or early fall, Bond said VDOT and Branch Civil will host a citizens information meeting to provide the public with more detail about the project and schedule once the design is finalized in either late summer or early fall.
The agreement is in accordance with the Public Private Transportation Act (PPTA), which was enacted by the Virginia General Assembly in 1995 to allow private entities to propose innovative solutions for designing, constructing and financing transportation projects.
The Lovers Leap project will be the fourth section of U.S. 58 widening between Hillsville and Stuart completed under the PPTA agreement with Branch Civil Inc. Previous widening phases include the 2.7-mile bypass at Meadows of Dan completed in 2006, the 5.2-mile bypass at Hillsville completed in 2011 and the 8.2-mile Tri-County and Laurel Fork section completed in 2016.
The Virginia General Assembly created the Route 58 Corridor Development Program in 1989 to enhance economic development potential along this largely rural portion of the state.
U.S. 58 from Hillsville to Stuart is the last remaining section to complete the widening from Virginia Beach to Interstate 77.