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VDOT holding public hearing for Smithland Road bridge project

Photo Credit: carterdayne/iStock Photo

VDOT will hold a public hearing concerning improvements to Route 720 (Smithland Road) in Rockingham County. The meeting will take place from 4 to 6 p.m., Thursday, March 26, at the VDOT Harrisonburg Residency Office located at 3536 North Valley Pike, Harrisonburg.

Citizens can come in during the meeting hours and discuss the project on a one-on-one basis with VDOT officials and designers. Written comments can be submitted at the meeting or within 10 days after the meeting date to Mr. Ronald Tabor, Project Manager, Virginia Department of Transportation, 811 Commerce Road, Staunton, VA 24401-9029. Oral comments can be recorded at the meeting with the assistance of a court reporter.

This project is located on Route 720 (Smithland Road) in Rockingham County. The bridge over Interstate 81 will be replaced with a new structure. The current bridge was built in 1960 and has reached the end of its service life.

The proposed bridge will be constructed in the existing bridge location but will be approximately three feet higher. The bridge will have two through lanes and five-foot shoulders. The intersection of Smithland Road and Buffalo Drive will be improved to connect with the increased elevation of Smithland Road.

There will be a detour in place when Smithland Road is closed to construct the new bridge and approaches. Buffalo Drive will be closed at the Smithland Road intersection to through traffic for some portion of the construction. It is estimated that the detour will be in place up to one year. During bridge construction, I-81 closures will be necessary to set beams. Any closures on I-81 would be conducted at night to minimize the impact to traffic.

In 2011 Route 720 had an average daily traffic count of 4,100 vehicles per day. By the design year of 2039 the estimated average daily traffic volume is 6,610 vehicles per day.

This project enhances safety on Route 720 by replacing a deteriorating bridge structure with a new bridge that is able to support modern traffic both in volume and vehicle weights. The height of the new bridge increases vehicle clearance for I-81 traffic.

The total estimated cost for this project is $10,220,470, including $1,926,360 for preliminary engineering, $582,256 for right of way and $7,711,854 for construction.

Approval of project plans is scheduled for mid-2020 with advertisement for construction in fall 2021.

The VDOT Staunton District serves Frederick, Shenandoah, Clarke, Warren, Page, Rockingham, Augusta, Highland, Rockbridge, Alleghany and Bath counties.

Traffic alerts and traveler information can be obtained by dialing 511. Traffic alerts and traveler information also are available at For other assistance call the VDOT Customer Service Center, available 24 hours-a-day, seven days a week. Citizens can dial 1-800-FOR- ROAD (1-800-367-7623) from anywhere in the state to report road hazards, ask transportation questions, or get information related to Virginia’s roads.

The Staunton District Twitter feed is at @VaDOTStaunton. VDOT can be followed on FacebookFlickrTwitter and YouTubeRSS feeds are also available for statewide information. The VDOT Web page is located at