Detour, estimated completion date announced for 220 tanker crash repairs

VDOT says all lanes will reopen in mid-to-late May

By Jeff Williamson - Digital Content Manager, Tommy Lopez - Weekend Anchor / Reporter

BOTETOURT COUNTY, Va. - There will be more than another month of repair work needed to fix the stretch of Route 220 in Botetourt County damaged in the tanker crash last month.

On Tuesday, VDOT announced how the work will impact drivers.

A spokesman said starting April 1 there will be a detour for southbound traffic that will last for 10 to 14 days. All lanes are expected to reopen in mid-to-late-May.

VDOT also announced Tuesday that the project’s cost will be more than $1 million. The department hopes the responsible party’s insurance will bear the burden so the taxpayers don’t have to.

Traffic continues to move around the crash site. There’s one land southbound and one lane of northbound traffic that’s been directed into the inside southbound lane.

The detour will be the same as the one set up in the days after the crash. Drivers southbound on 220 will have to take some side roads -- Mary Alice Road to West Wind Road to Old Fincastle Road. It took a 10 News crew about four minutes longer to drive the detour route.

The route for northbound traffic will remain the same - one lane will be rerouted into the outside southbound lane through the damaged area.

Those who live along the detour route will be able to access their homes. VDOT warns drivers to expect delays and heavier traffic on secondary roads near the closure.

Credit: Google

During the detour phase, work crews have to connect new pipe to the existing pipe so a creek can flow under the road as well as do excavation work and pour concrete. Crews had to assemble the new pipe, bolting sections together to reach a 110-foot section.

“It just isn’t safe for traffic to be using that lane while we are making this connection of the pipe,” VDOT spokesman Jason Bond said.

He calls this repair job “challenging.”

Flames shot into the sky on Feb. 20 as a tanker crashed and caught fire after swerving to avoid a deer. It left burning gas that caused extensive damage.

Here's a look at what the tanker truck fire looked like back in February.

VDOT is asking tractor trailers to avoid Route 220 all-together during that time, because the detour route isn’t fit to handle them.

“I know this is an inconvenience for folks. We apologize for that. We understand that this will disrupt some people’s travel, but we appreciate their patience,” Bond said.

The weather has slowed progress. With all the snow and rain that fell, crews had to pump four million gallons of water out of the pipe in the first six days. Workers were waist-deep in water during that time.

“We have been working diligently to make this repair,” Bond said. “Our folks have been out here for days trying to expedite this work to get it done just as quickly as we could.” 

VDOT estimates that there will be four to six more weeks of work after the two-week detour phase. During that time, traffic will go back to how it is now -- one lane in each direction.

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