The completion of a 2-mile connector road was delivered nearly 11 months ahead of schedule. It’s a project years in the making.
Following Culpeper County’s comprehensive plan, the two-lane roadway is one segment of a planned loop road that will provide through traffic an efficient, convenient way to bypass the Main Street corridor and associated traffic.
Last Friday, Dec. 16, Culpeper County and the Virginia Department of Transportation held a ribbon-cutting ceremony to commemorate the opening of Route 784 (Ira Hoffman Lane), also known as the western outer loop.
Catalpa Supervisor Sue Hansohn stood shivering as she welcomed guests. “I wanted this,” she chuckled through clenched teeth. I always said that it would be a cold day in Hades before it opened.”
Well, it was a bitterly cold day in Culpeper when it did.
“We’ve been working 15 years for this,” said an equally shivering county administrator John Egertson.
The project is funded through a 50/50 revenue sharing agreement between the county and VDOT. The county began pocketing their share more than 15 years ago.
It was in 1999 that supervisors approved one leg of the road. In 2002, they began saving money. In 2013, the contract was awarded. The county put in $8.2M matched by the Virginia Department of Transportation bringing the cost of the project to roughly $17M.
Constructed by VDOT contractor General Excavation Inc. of Warrenton under a $9.7
million contract, the western outer loop was finished nearly 11 months ahead of its scheduled Nov. 1, 2017 completion date.
Both Hansohn and Egertson said that there were far too many to thank for the completion of a project that will relieve stress for drivers on Route 522. One of those praised for his efforts was former West Fairfax supervisor Steve Nixon who likewise braved the cold along with the current supervisor for that district Gary Deal.
VDOT Warrenton Residency Engineer D. Mark Nesbit praised the partnership between the county and VDOT. “It’s a great road and it will last a long time.”
The new 2-mile, two-lane connector road, which extends from Route 522 to Route 729, was opened to traffic at the conclusion of the ceremony, just after 2 p.m. It features paved shoulders, bicycle paths and three box culverts at stream crossings. The project also includes grading and preparing the roadbed for eventual widening to four lands.
Many of those present sought the sanctuary of their warm vehicles and then took a long awaited drive on the new road.
Find out more at www.virginiadot.org/projects/culpeper/rt._784_-_western_outer_loop.asp.