Governor Bob McDonnell today met with local officials and Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) representatives to review and discuss the Odd Fellows Road Interchange project on US 460/29 in Lynchburg and the possibility of additional transportation improvements through an unsolicited private sector proposal. The visit comes, as the governor tours a number of transportation projects now made possible through the passage of major transportation funding initiatives in 2011 and 2013. Both years saw the General Assembly pass multi-billion dollar transportation bills, representing the Commonwealth's greatest commitment to transportation investment and funding in nearly 30 years.
"The opportunity to partner with the private sector allows the Commonwealth to attract private sector resources and innovation, resulting in faster and more cost effective project delivery," said Governor McDonnell. "This proposal will not only address congestion, safety and access issues on Odd Fellows Road, but may also advance the Greenview Drive project and provide funding for improvements to Odd Fellows Road itself. The transportation improvements would ultimately create and preserve business opportunities and stimulate job growth in the area. This is what our transportation work both in 2011 and this year was all about. For too long Virginians have been stuck in congestion. In the space of three years we were able, working across party lines, to pass the most far reaching and substantive transportation measures Virginia has seen since the 1980's. Now, with long overdue resources finally available, Virginians are seeing road construction underway in every region of the state. These new roads are going to fuel job creation and economic development statewide, and help Virginia continue to become a stronger and more prosperous Commonwealth."
The Commonwealth recently received a private sector proposal under the Public Private Transportation Act to finance, design and build a new interchange along U.S. 460 at Old Fellows Road, widen Greenview Drive from two to four lanes and improve intersection safety and capacity to Odd Fellows Road itself. This would reduce congestion and enhance safety on Candler's Mountain Road and at the Odd Fellows/Mayflower Drive intersection, providing a more direct connection between existing major routes and other improvements, including bicycle and pedestrian accommodations and a roundabout.
While the interchange and Greenview Drive projects are funded in the Six-Year Improvement Program, the Odd Fellows Road improvements are not currently funded. The Commonwealth is exploring options to advance development of all projects.
Transportation Secretary Sean T. Connaughton added, "By leveraging the best of public and private sector resources, all three projects could be delivered faster than planned - up to two to three years sooner, and at a reduced cost to the taxpayers."
The interchange is currently in development as a design-build project. The interchange would extend over U.S. 460/29 from an extension of Odd Fellows Road. Development of the project will continue while the private sector proposal review process takes place.
Virginia's Office of Transportation Public Private Partnerships (OTP3) and VDOT are currently working with the City of Lynchburg and Campbell County to review the proposal. In the coming months, additional screening will be done and a decision made whether to seek competitive proposals. Opportunities for public input will be available.
More information on the proposal, the policy review and the Public-Private Transportation Act Steering Committee is available at http://www.vappta.org/.
Additional project information is available at http://www.virginiadot.org/projects/lynchburg/odd_fellows_road.asp.