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 Relief Route That Wasn't: The Never Built I-70 Bypass in the Mid-Mon Valley

In June 1963, a small blurb in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette read that The Westmoreland Engineering Company was awarded a $24,060 bid to study the proposed construction of Interstate 70 in Westmoreland and Washington Counties.  The study was to see what the construction and right-of-way costs "...to modernize the existing highway to Interstate requirements within eight months." (1)  This small, non-attributed, three paragraph article came less than a decade after the completion of a four lane highway that linked the Mid-Mon Valley to the Pennsylvania Turnpike. This would be the start of a 15 year process to upgrade and improve Interstate 70 - a process that ultimately never produced a single foot of new highway.

This is the story, albeit brief, of the I-70 that never came about.

Background:
What is now known as Interstate70 from Washington to New Stanton began as a connecting highway for the region to the Pennsylvania Turnpike.  Known as the "Express Highway", construct…

A look at Pittsburgh's Saw Mill Run Boulevard

Saw Mill Run Boulevard - Pennsylvania State Route 51 - runs through the narrow Saw Mill Run Valley.  It begins at the intersection of Clairton Road and Provost Road at the City of Pittsburgh Line with Brentwood.  It ends at the West End Circle at the entrance to the West End Bridge.  A four lane highway for its the entire length, Saw Mill Run Boulevard consists of interchanges at the South Portal of the Liberty Tubes and with the Parkway West.  It is an expressway from the Parkway to the West End Circle (West End Bypass).  One of the most well known traffic tie-ups in the Pittsburgh area occurs between Maytide Street and PA 88 (Library Road) which is simply known as 'Maytide and 88.'

History:
Saw Mill Run Boulevard was part of the 1928 Allegheny County 'City Beautiful' bond issue.  The bonds resulted in the creation of Saw Mill Run, Ohio River, Allegheny River and Mosside Boulevards. (1)   After the completion of the Liberty Tunnels in 1924, Downtown Pittsburgh was offic…

The Many Failed Plans of Pittsburgh's Wabash Bridge and Tunnel

The December 27, 2004 opening of the Wabash Tunnel ended over 70 years of proposals and speculation for the use of the over 100 year old facility.  The tunnel, which is now a reversible roadway that is an alternative route for rush hour traffic, saw many failed plans during the 20th Century.  These plans included options for mass transit, converted and new bridges for vehicles, and other forms of transportation.

Brief History:
Constructed in 1902-04, the Wabash Bridge and Tunnel was planned and financed by rail mogul, Jay Gould.  Gould began his "Battle of the Wabash" with the established railroads of the city in 1890.  He would finally emerge victorious, but during that struggle, Gould would see many setbacks that would eventually result in the railroad's bankruptcy in 1908.  On October 19, 1903, when the two ends of the bridge were to be joined together over the Monongahela River, the 109' bridge collapsed; killing ten men.  Construction would resume four days later …