Bypass may open before Flea Market
by Allen Worrell, News Writer
After nearly four years of work, the U.S. 58 Hillsville Bypass will soon be open to traffic. While 1.5 miles of the 5.2-mile project opened in October of last year, Virginia Department of Transportation officials hope to have the remaining 3.7 miles of the $83 million project opened by Sept. 1, in time for the VFW Labor Day Flea Market and Gun Show in Hillsville. The entire project is slated to be finished by November 1.
There is a difference in the work being finished and the road being opened to traffic, said VDOT spokesman Jason Bond. We are hoping to get it open to traffic by September 1, and then there is some additional incidental work that will have to be completed even though traffic is using the road.
A 1.5-mile portion of the Route 58 Hillsville Bypass opened to traffic in October of 2010, connecting the western portion of U.S. 58 to U.S. 52 at the southern end of Hillsville. The remaining 3.7 miles will go from the interchange with U.S. 52 to the eastern tie-in of the bypass at U.S. 58 Business (just west of Route 820, Freemont Road).
I think it is really good news if everything goes well it will open in time for the Flea Market. That is what we are hoping for, Bond said. Its always been a fixed date of completion of Nov. 1, so we have always had that date with the contractor. As far as getting it open to traffic, weve opened it as quickly as we could.
While he knows its just a possibility at this time, Hillsville Police Chief Steve Williams is hopeful the bypass will be open prior to Labor Day. Doing so would be extremely helpful for his department and other law enforcement agencies deal with the large traffic flow associated with the Flea Market.
Were really hoping it is open before Labor Day because hopefully it will relieve some of the problems weve had the past four years, especially in the 58 west area between Exit 14 and where the Flea Market begins there, Williams said. It will help a lot, but it will present its own problems too because its a totally new traffic pattern weve never had to deal with before. We will have to be fluid with our plans and see how things go, and maybe we can tweak it a little bit and make it better. But it is a plus from the last three or four years with one lane in and one lane out because its been a mess.
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