I-81/Va. 37 project to begin in fall 2014
Posted: February 5, 2013
The Winchester Star
WINCHESTER — Work to improve the interchange where Va. 37 meets Interstate 81 near Kernstown is set to begin in October 2014, with right-of-way acquisition scheduled to start later this year, according to state transportation officials.
The estimated $48 million project will reconstruct the ramps on I-81 at Exit 310 to widen and spread them outward from their intersections with Va. 37, according to Scott Alexander, project manager with the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT).
The ramps’ reconstruction will allow more room for vehicle stacking and turn movements, he said.
“The traffic concerns have been here for a number of years. It’s a system interchange of two limited access highways, and the proximity of Route 11 [Valley Pike] adds to the congestion,” he said. “That [along] with the proposed development at the southern end of Winchester highlights the need [for the project].”
Construction is expected to finish in fall 2016. The new interchange will be able to connect to the eventual construction of the Va. 37 bypass around the eastern side of Winchester, according to VDOT.
John Bishop, deputy director of transportation for Frederick County Planning and Development, said that the reconstruction will significantly increase the distance leading to traffic signals at the ends of exit ramps.
According to both men, the plan will also allow for future additions and modifications to the interchange based on traffic demands.
Bishop said the project will also require moving parts of Tasker Road and Hillandale Lane — both located just east of I-81 and north of Stephens City — farther east of the interstate to allow for the larger interchange design.
About 3,900 feet of Tasker Road and a half mile of Hillandale Lane will have to be moved. The land has been offered to VDOT by the owners of the Crosspointe Center development, Alexander said.
Approximately 28 acres of rights of way will be needed for the project, but 21 acres will come from Crosspointe Center, Alexander said.
VDOT will have to acquire the other seven acres from public and private owners, including the Frederick County Sanitation Authority.
Right-of-way acquisitions are scheduled to start in late spring or early summer, and the projected cost for appraisal and acquisition of properties is $4.5 million, according to Alexander.
The $48 million projected cost includes the $4.5 million allotted for right-of-way needs, Alexander added.
Additional information on the project is available online at virginiadot.org/projects/staunton/i-81_exit_310.asp.
— Contact Matt Armstrong at email@example.com