VDOT project on Fairfax Pike is scaled back

Posted: March 28, 2014

The Winchester Star

A planned road-improvement project along Fairfax Pike (Va. 277) in Frederick County (from the bottom to the top of the above photo) is being scaled back. The initial plan called for an improvement project along Fairfax Pike from Interstate 81 east to Warrior Drive. The project will now go from I-81 to Double Church Road. (Photo by Scott Mason/The Winchester Star)

STEPHENS CITY — A planned road-improvement project along Fairfax Pike (Va. 277) in Frederick County is being scaled back, at least initially.

The Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) originally planned a corridor-improvement project along Fairfax Pike from Interstate 81 east to Warrior Drive, about a 1.45-mile stretch of road. The project will now go from I-81 to Double Church Road, about 0.75 of a mile.

The costs for right-of-way acquisitions and utility relocation along the longer stretch of road were projected to be from $15 million to $18 million, according to Chris Colson, project manager with VDOT. The project — which has funding and an estimated total cost of $33 million — has only $6.8 million for right-of-way acquisitions, Colson said Thursday.

The work will widen Fairfax Pike to four lanes between I-81 and Double Church Road to provide additional traffic capacity, overall operational safety and to improve the connectivity of the regional roadway system, according to the project’s website.

Though work was originally supposed to begin in 2016, that timetable is now uncertain.

A sidewalk was initially planned for the north side of Fairfax Pike from I-81 to Warrior Drive, but it will now stop at Double Church Road. A shared-use path is planned for the south side between Stickley Drive and Double Church Road.

The project also will relocate Aylor Road to the east to align with the current Stickley Road intersection. The traffic signal at Town Run Lane will be removed and Vdot Lane will be relocated to the west to align with the existing Food Lion shopping center entrance, where a new traffic signal will be installed, according to VDOT.

The reduced project is projected to cost within 10 percent of the $33 million it’s funded for, Colson said. He did not rule out completing the project to Warrior Drive as a later phase.

“We’re going to do whatever project the county’s looking for; this is a county priority project,” he said. “If the county could identify additional funds for the project we could take it forward... The [engineering] work that we’ve done could definitely be [completed] in another phase.”

Colson added that VDOT is revisiting the project’s schedule — work was supposed to start in spring 2016 — and that right-of-way acquisitions will play a part in work on the project going forward.

Additional information on the project is available online at virginiadot.org/projects/staunton/frederick_county_8211_route_277_fairfax_pike.asp.

— Contact Matt Armstrong at marmstrong@winchesterstar.com