New 'future' interstate signs going up in Danville

Signs highlight possibility of Highway 29 becoming an interstate

DANVILLE – Road signs that say Future 785 Corridor will once again dot the sides of Highway 29 in Danville.

Signs were put up in 1998, but according to Danville's mayor they were removed several years ago, likely because of snow removal.

On Tuesday, the new signs were unveiled at the Institute for Advanced Learning and Research.

"These signs make a valuable statement for Danville and Pittsylvania County," said Danville Mayor John Gilstrap.

Local state delegates Les Adams and Danny Marshall and local state Senator Frank Ruff have been working with the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) to get the signs back up.

Explaining the reasoning behind the effort, Delegate Danny Marshall cited the most recent survey from Area Development Magazine, a magazine that covers issues related to business site selection and relocation.

The survey ranked highway access as the most important factor for CEOs when deciding where to locate their companies.

"I-785 starts in Greensboro and is designated to connect I-85 and I-40 to the Route 29 Corridor in Virginia," said Marshall.

While I-785 is still far from a reality, local state Senator Bill Stanley, one of the most vocal proponents of interstates in Southside, believes it can be a reality if residents continue to pressure state lawmakers.

"If we rally together, if we get our businesses and governments and education to unify together," said Stanley, "then we can make it happen in our lifetime."

Currently, there is no definitive plan or timeline for the interstate.