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Second year of U.S. 58 work begins in Carroll

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$120 million project to create four-lane highway through region is set to finish in 2015

By Staff Reports

LAUREL FORK — Branch Highways celebrated the 100 jobs supported by the $120 million, U.S. 58 widening project that spans three counties, including eastern Carroll.
The Roanoke-based construction outfit is beginning its second of four years working on the 8.2-mile project, according to a news release from the company.

State officials conceived of changing the two-lane road into a four-lane superhighway as an economic development project that would connect the coalfields of Southwest Virginia to the shores of the Tidewater.
The latest project targets a section of 58 that passes through Laurel Fork in Carroll and through Floyd and outside of Meadows of Dan in Patrick County. But, it doesn’t do anything to address the challenges of the road at steep, narrow and winding Lover’s Leap Mountain.
As the second year of work commences, Branch said in a news release Monday that much of the preliminary work had been accomplished since the project began, including design, right-of-way acquisition and utility relocation.
Earth-moving work has been apparent in the Laurel Fork area for months now.
“Currently, construction is centered in Carroll County in the Big Reed Island Creek area to the Carroll-Floyd County line, where grading and drainage work is underway,” the news release said.  
Company officials also warned motorists that there will be some delays where construction may cause one lane to be shut down.  
Flaggers will be present in these areas, the news release said.
Ongoing work includes subcontractor Steve Martin’s Trenching of Martinsville and D.L. Harrell Construction of Meadows of Dan creating stormwater management basins.
“We employ a large number of workers who live in Carroll, Floyd and Patrick counties,” said Branch’s project superintendent, Pete Copes, in the news release. “We have assembled a great team for this project.”
Project work involves digging approximately 1.7 million cubic meters of rock and dirt, laying 15,000 meters of drainage pipe, installing 10,000 meters of guard rail and paving with 135,000 metric tons of asphalt, company officials say.
“Branch Highways recognizes the significant value of this project to these counties,” added Copes. “The purpose of widening Route 58 is to strengthen economic development and enhance traffic safety in this area.”
Branch Highways and the Virginia Department of Transportation negotiated a private-public project contract for the 36 miles of improvements to U.S. 58.
Previous segments completed by Branch include a three-mile Blue Ridge Parkway crossing at Meadows of Dan in 2006 and the 5.2-mile Hillsville bypass in 2011.
Construction on this tri-county section of 58 is expected to wrap up in 2015, leaving improvements to the 7.2-mile Crooked Oak in Carroll and the related connector to U.S. 221 and Virginia 100 by way of Virginia 669 at Hillsville.