Skip to main content

Is Virginia considering to extend I-785 further North?

Though it's not even a signed route, Interstate 785 may be extended further north within Virginia.  The 'Future' Interstate, which is to run from I-85 east of Greensboro, NC then follow US 29 to Danville, Virginia, was first came into existence in 1997 when AASHTO approved the designation.  In 1998, Congress passed a bill authorizing the designation.  Later that same year, a "public announcement" was held trumpeting the new Interstate.

Fast forward another 13 years to the present, and the Virginia State Assemblyman, Daniel W. Marshall, III (R), proposed a resolution (HB 2481) to extend Interstate 785 northwards along US 29 to Altavista.

The summary of the bill is as follows:

Designating a portion of U.S. Route 29 as Interstate 785.  Designates U.S. Route 29 from the Virginia-North Carolina line to north of the Town of Altavista as Interstate 785. The bill provides that such designation shall not take effect until the Virginia Department of Transportation consults with the Federal Highway Administration to identify any steps that need to be taken along the designated route to meet federal interstate standards, and VDOT shall report to the Joint Commission on Transportation Accountability the steps that need to be taken for such designation by December 1, 2011.

 The bill is currently in the Virgina House Transportation Sub-committee.

For Interstate 785 to even exist to Altavista, the non-access controlled segments of US 29 between the Danville and Chatham bypasses, the Chatham and Gretna bypasses, and the Gretna and Hurt/Altavista bypasses would have to be upgraded.  That is about 22 miles of roadway.

In addition, upgrades to the Chatham (1965), Gretna (1975), and Hurt/Altavsta (1974) would be necessary.  These would be just the key points the FHWA would suggest to VDOT for any Interstate designation to take place.  

Furthermore, Altavista doesn't seem to make sense as the northern terminus for the Interstate.  Lynchburg, a much larger city, is located approximately 18 miles further north on US 29.  Virginia has plans to build the South Lynchburg Bypass from where US 29 (Madison Heights Bypass) meets US 460 southeast of Lynchburg to near where current US 29 meets VA 24 today.  The City of Lynchburg is currently not served by an Interstate; and if Interstates mean "economic development" then the route should ultimately reach Lynchburg.   Which, personally, I believe is the ultimate goal for I-785. 

Interstate 785 shield courtesy Shields Up! 

Comments

Coredesat said…
You're right, Altavista is a rather bizarre choice for the northern terminus of the route. The route should probably terminate at the northern end of the Amherst-Madison Heights-Lynchburg bypass, although parts of that route are certainly not up to interstate standards. The Lynchburg Expressway most definitely isn't.
Anonymous said…
i still think that the whole US 29 corridor should get a new number or an extension of an existing number. I think 73 should be extended up from greensboro to Atleast 64 if not 66 along US 29. this would open up a new route through virginia. Or even more crazy have it follow US 15 all the way to Harrisburg, PA!!!
Anonymous said…
Back in the 90s, VDOT did a study on the US 29 corridor that recommended making the whole section between the NC state line and the north end of Amherst County (roughly around where VA 151 branches off) a freeway, with the remaining stretches north of there improved as some type of arterial/parkway. As I recall, that plan called for completion of the South Lynchburg bypass (using either the east or west alignment option), upgrades to Chatham, Gretna, Altavista, and Amherst's bypasses, freeway upgrades of the existing 29 alignment between Chatham and Gretna and between Gretna and Altavista, and new alignment between Blairs and Chatham and between Altavista and Yellow Branch. But that was back in the 90s, when VDOT was flush with money (or at least thought it was flush). Nowadays, I doubt any of this would actually happen. If we're lucky and the planets align just right, they might build the South Lynchburg Bypass, but the rest is probably wishful thinking. Anything further north than Amherst is pretty much out of the question (Charlottesville would never go for it).

Popular posts from this blog

The Abandoned New Stanton Interchange Ramps

For nearly 50 years, the Pennsylvania Turnpike interchange with Interstate 70 and US 119 in New Stanton has been a rather free-flowing double trumpet, grade separated interchange between the two freeways.  But for the first 23 years of the turnpike, this interchange was vastly different.  It was the only non-trumpet interchange within the system (excluding termini points) and featured very tricky and gridlock causing left turns within the interchange.  (See image on right).  With the birth of the Interstate Highway System in the mid-1950s, new freeways were built and in many cases the Turnpike kept the original interchange using local roads to connect to the new freeways.  Interchanges with what would become I-81, I-176, I-80, I-70 in Breezewood, and I-79 were left with the original design.

Meanwhile in the 1950's, the state began building a freeway that ran from New Stanton west towards Washington.  This freeway, signed PA 71, was built to connect those in the industrial Mon Valle…

Quemahoning Tunnel

The Quemahoning Tunnel may have never been built by the Pennsylvanina Turnpike Commission, but it still has a history unto itself.  Originally planned to carry rail along the South Penn Railway, the tunnel never would not see any trains until 1909 when a small line named the Pittsburgh, Westmoreland & Somerset began utilizing it.  The use was brief and by the end of 1916 the PW&S was no longer in operation and abandoned the facility.  Twenty-some years later, the newly formed Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission considered using the abandoned tunnel, in fact it was shown on some original plans.  However, the PTC decided against using it, and the tunnel remained empty.

The eastern portal of the Quemahoning Tunnel is easily accessible from the PA Turnpike.  The portal is located at mile 106.3 along the westbound roadway.  The tunnel is one of the many "What Could Have Been's?" of the Pennsylvania Turnpike.  Below, Bill Symons shares photos taken in late Fall of 1986 of …

Icelandic Highways & Byways (Part 2)

Continuing on our series on traveling in Iceland, we'll explore the Golden Circle, which is a popular tourist route in Iceland. The Golden Circle is easily accessible from Reykjavik and includes such must-see places like Thingvellir National Park (spelled as Þingvellir in the Icelandic language), Geysir, which yes, is a geyser, and the Gullfoss waterfall.So yes, the Golden Circle includes a little bit of everything that Iceland has to offer. For those of you playing at home, I drove the
Golden Circle in a clockwise fashion with an impromptu diversion towards the end of my loop, which meant that I missed the hydroponic tomato farm, but I discovered a few other neat things, so it all worked out in the end.

Thingvellir (Þingvellir) is actually situated within the rift valley that separates the Eurasian and North American tectonic plates, as the site where the Alþingi or Althing (in English), which is the Icelandic Parliament met between the years 930 and 1798. So as you can tell, the…