A Virginia Department of Transportation project designed to change the intersection of Route 460 and Southgate drive is now delayed after millions of dollars in funding was cut in the Commonwealth Transportation Board's draft budget.
The $46.7 million project is designed to replace the signal at the entrance to Virginia Tech off 460 with a diverging diamond interchange. Two new bridges are to be constructed over the bypass and portions of Southgate Drive and the Huckleberry Trail will be relocated. The new interchange will eliminate one of the last two at-grade intersections on the Blacksburg Bypass section of U.S. Route 460, according to VDOT.
The project was fully funded through its three phases, (preliminary engineering, right-of-way and construction) but the Commonwealth Transportation Board cut $14.7 million from its draft budget, the amount of construction. Bidding for construction contracts was set to begin in December 2014, with work set to begin in Spring 2015.
It's not a done deal yet. There is a chance money could be put back in the budget to keep the project on track. The CTB could restore the money before it approves its final budget to take effect July 1st. Also, new this budget cycle, the CTB is required to develop a prioritization process where it looks at all projects across the area to decide which to pay for first, based on factors like safety, mobility, economic development and congestion.
The issue will likely come up at the Commonwealth Transportation Board public hearing in Roanoke Monday, May 19th at Northside High School. Transportation Secretary Aubrey Layne will be joined by officials from the VDOT and the Department of Rail and Public Transportation.. The hearing begins at 6 p.m..