Crafton’s Gate could see improvements

Published 12:39 pm Thursday, February 4, 2016

Two Charlotte County highway safety improvement projects are included in a recommended scenario for funding from the Commonwealth Transportation Board.

In a recent press release, Gov. Terry McAuliffe announced scoring on 287 transportation projects, and the Crafton’s Gate intersection and the entrance to the Heartland Regional Business Park made the cut, based on criteria used in House Bill 2.

“The scoring is a key part of a new law, known as House Bill 2, developed on a bipartisan basis with House Speaker William Howell and Del. Chris Stolle to invest limited tax dollars in the right transportation projects,” stated a release from the governor’s office.

Safety concerns at the Crafton’s Gate and Kings Highway intersection have been a focus of criticism and contention by citizens and member of the county’s board of supervisors in recent months.

“We are very pleased that the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) has recognized the importance of these two projects in their new procedures for prioritizing

funds,” said county supervisor Dr. Nancy Carwile.

According to data from the office of the secretary of transportation, in VDOT’s Lynchburg District, Crafton’s Gate ranked number six of 26 projects. The Heartland Business Park ranked number 17.

Statewide, Crafton’s Gate came in at number 26 and the Heartland Business Park ranked number 80. A total of 287 projects were scored.

“This new law is revolutionizing the way transportation projects are selected,” said McAuliffe in the press release. “Political wish lists of the past are replaced with a data-driven process that is objective and transparent, making the best use of renewed state funding received in 2013 and the recently approved federal transportation funding.”

He said that each project is scored based on a specific criterion judging merits and value. The six factors involved in the scoring process include safety, congestion mitigation, accessibility, environmental quality, economic development and land use.

While the submitted proposals for all 287 projects statewide totaled approximately $7 billion in funding, there is only about $1.7 billion available, according to the press release.

Proposed projects in Charlotte total over $1 million, according to the ranked data.

Improvements to the Crafton’s Gate intersection is proposed at a little over $255,000 and the Heartland Regional Business Park entrance would cost under $780,000, according to the report.

Both projects are eligible for funds through the Construction District Grant Program.

“This process was developed with extensive opportunity for public review,” said Virginia’s Transportation Secretary Aubrey Layne, Jr. in the press release. “Meetings to review the process were held in several locations throughout the state, plus the projects were made available online. The prioritization process improves the transparency and accountability of Virginia’s transportation program.”

All data will be utilized by the Commonwealth Transportation Board (CTB) to determine which projects will receive funding.

The CTB is set to meet this month to review the list of recommended projects.