Fishersville Bypass Project Could Pick Up Speed with New Proposal
Plans for a Fishersville bypass have been on Augusta County's wish list for a decade, but there's a chance the project could pick up speed with a proposal from a highway contractor.
A contractor that's done work all over Virginia, and is part of the team working on the Route 29 Western Bypass, has submitted a proposal to rebuild Route 636. It's a secondary road, but one of primary importance to Augusta County as a way to link medical facilities and major highways.
Transforming the narrow, unpaved Route 636 into a major thoroughfare has been on the state's six-year plan for 10 years. A team of contractors led by Branch Highways, Inc. has submitted an unsolicited proposal to Augusta County to build the mile-long replacement. Earlier estimates put the project at $12 million to $15 million, and much of that going to replace the CSX rail crossing.
Augusta County Supervisor Jeff Moore said, "The 636 that's right now a tunnel, if you will, that goes underneath the railroad track. To meet the specifications and requirements now for the railroad, you've got to be at least 20 feet above. So you've got to build your site work and everything up to that elevation."
The new 636 would link Augusta Health and Interstate 64 with Route 250 and the Woodrow Wilson complex. Though it would be a county project, the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) would help review the plans.
VDOT engineer Don Komara said, "All these roads are going to come into our system when they're done. We're going to maintain them. The county's not going to maintain them, they're going to be built for us."
The next step in that process requires the county to allow other contractors to submit competing proposals. They have until August 17 to do so. The big question then will be whether supervisors can afford to take the next step.
"There are some state funds that are appropriated for it now," Moore said. "But there's not enough to do the project. So once we receive the proposals, then it's truly how do you pay for it?"
Supervisors did get a piece of good news on the project Monday afternoon. Augusta's economic development director said the county now has right-of-way agreements with all property owners along the Route 636 corridor.
Fishersville Bypass Project Could Pick Up Speed with New ProposalMore>>