Construction Begins on Route 285 Improvements - NBC29 WVIR Charlottesville, VA News, Sports and Weather

Construction Begins on Route 285 Improvements

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Crews are laying the foundation for the long-awaited improvements to the Fishersville exit off Interstate 64. Plans had been up in the air for years, but until the governor's transportation bill, congestion continued to escalate.

Thousands of cars travel through that stretch of Route 285 every weekday. It's been a hassle for drivers for years, but over the next year or two, that ride should go much more smoothly. 

If you've traveled over the two-lane bridge in the morning or late afternoon hours, traffic is always expected. 

"You've got the combination of hospital traffic, lots of trucking terminals. Lots of commercial businesses along there as well," said Ken Slack, communications specialist for the Virginia Department of Transportation.

Slack says this construction will widen the roads and rebuild the interchange.

"Starting from Expo Road going across the interstate all the way to Goose Creek Road near the entrance to Augusta Health," said Slack.

It will go from two to four lanes, and there will be dual left turn lanes entering and exiting the highway.

Once Governor McDonnell gave the green light for the construction, city planners knew this would make major headway in an area with booming growth.

"So, it's gonna go a long way toward alleviating a lot of congestion that we see there on a daily basis," said Slack.

Linda Hershey, president and CEO of the Greater Augusta County Chamber of Commerce, saw the signs and fencing go up from her office this week. She says this project has been a catalyst for the area's economy.

"You've got developers just waiting to put the shovels in the ground, for new hotel sites here, and hopefully a new shopping center across the street," said Hershey.  

While you should expect occasional inconveniences along with the construction, many believe this is a sign of big growth in the horizon.

"We're ready for it and we're excited for the future development for this area," said Hershey.

Planners expect to finish up the project in two years, but sources say within a year, drivers should see big advances.

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