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Branch Highways has finished its second season of the U.S. 58 widening project in the Laurel Fork area of Carroll County.
“The winter weather is a severe limitation on highway construction activities so we will have to work in a limited capacity until next spring,” said Pete Copes, Branch’s general superintendent, in a news release.
“We’re pleased with the progress we have made this season in excavation and installing drainage pipe,” he added. “The rainy summer resulted in a slow start, but we made up for that as much as possible.”
Branch Highways began paving the first segment of the Laurel Fork widening project in November 2013. Crews from subcontractor Adams Construction Co. paved a four-lane section from Route 638 west for three-fourths of a mile.
Branch officials said paving the road would protect the excavation, piping and grading by stabilizing and protecting the area from harsh weather this winter.
Approximately 3,000 tons of asphalt are being used on this segment.
Approximately 40 percent of an estimated 2 million cubic yards has been excavated, and 10 percent of the drainage pipe has been installed.
“We accomplished these activities with a minimum of inconvenience to the public traveling on 58,” said Copes. “We also are mindful of the need to make productive use of timber and taking extra measures to ensure that as much timber as possible is made available for recycling,” he added. Commercial usable timber is transported to saw mills for other uses.
“Construction activities will resume in a big way in the spring,” said Copes. He expects approximately 175 workers to be on-site during the height of activity.
The 8.2 mile section in Carroll, Floyd and Patrick counties is the third phase of the U.S. 58 corridor project to widen 37 miles from Hillsville to Stuart. 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 completed in 2011.
The 58 Corridor improvement project is part of a Comprehensive Agreement between VDOT and Branch Highways under the Public Private Transportation Act (PPTA.) In 1995, the General Assembly passed the PPTA allowing private companies to propose innovative solutions for design, construction, financing and operation of transportation improvements.
Benefits of the PPTA are lower overall cost and quicker project completion, along with improving traffic safety and strengthening economic development in the area, according to Branch.