Project will lead to four-lane highway between Va. Beach and I-77

A groundbreaking ceremony took place Wednesday in Patrick County to widen a 7.4-mile stretch of U.S. Route 58 in Patrick County, the first phase of a project to create a continuous four-lane highway between Virginia Beach and Interstate 77.

The project, part of the U.S. Route 58 Corridor Development Program enacted by state lawmakers in 1989, will cost approximately $300 million, according to the governor’s office. The two-lane section of the highway over Lovers Leap Mountain is currently restricted to tractor-trailers, but that will change once improvements are completed under a November 2020 agreement between the Virginia Department of Transportation and Roanoke-based Branch Civil Inc.

VDOT and Branch Civil signed their public-private partnership in 2003 to develop and widen the highway from Hillsville to Stuart, a 36-mile corridor through Carroll, Floyd and Patrick counties, as soon as state funding became available. Although earlier sections were widened before now, it took 18 years to reach this stretch of Route 58.

“Once the General Assembly prioritized funding for the project, the Virginia Department of Transportation and our partner Branch Civil used an innovative progressive design-build approach to refine the design and advance the project to construction,” state Commissioner of Highways Stephen Brich said in a statement. “This was the first time this contracting style was used in Virginia and supported a new level of engagement between the Virginia Department of Transportation and our contracting partner.”

The section set to be widened is between the Poor Farmers Farm Store in Vesta and the Route 58 Stuart Bypass, and there are two other parts of Route 58 that will be widened at a time to be determined, including a four-mile stretch in Vesta and a 7.2-mile section near Crooked Oak.

“Route 58 is a vital road for locals, tourists, and commercial traffic, connecting Southern Virginia from the beach to the mountains,” Northam said in a statement. “By widening this key section, the project will open up this part of Southwest Virginia to faster, safer travel and more economic investment.”