Thursday, May 21, 2009

Roanoke Mayor and Councilwoman Advocate for Valley View Interchange Completion

Mayor David Bowers

Mayor David Bowers

ROANOKE – Mayor David Bowers and City Councilwoman Gwen Mason appeared before Secretary of Transportation Pierce Homer and members of the Commonwealth Transpiration Board at their meeting at VDOT’s headquarters in Richmond, VA on Thursday, May 21, 2009.

The Mayor reminded the Board that, during the 1990’s, the City of Roanoke funded at its own expense a $7 million partial interchange to provide new access for Valley View Mall on I-581. Upon completion in 1999, this partial interchange significantly improved access and mobility which provided much needed relief for the I-581/Hershberger Road interchange and created additional retail growth and commercial development with the expansion of the Valley View Mall. In fact, new retail served by the partial interchange generated $4 million in state sales tax revenue just last year.

Councilwoman Gwen Mason

Councilwoman Gwen Mason

The Mayor further stated when this partial interchange was approved by Federal and State transportation officials, it came with an obligation for the Commonwealth to ultimately complete the interchange to allow for all traffic movements. In recent years nearly $70 million dollars was allocated in the Cities Six Years Improvement Program for this very purpose. However, recent transportation program reductions reduced this allocation to $5 million, leaving only enough to fund the engineering phase of the project, which is under contract at this time. In fact, representatives from FHA, VDOT and the City of Roanoke have been actively meeting over the last two years to develop concept plans for this project.

The Mayor stated that this project could be “shovel ready” soon, but it’s potential as a “cash cow” is for certain, stating that aside from the transportation improvements the interchange improvements will access 100 acres of undeveloped land along the west side of I-581 across from Valley View Mall. Developers have expressed a sincere interest in creating new shopping and retail opportunities on this property, and development potential is estimated to be greater than $100 million in investment. The completion of the Valley View interchange project represents a clear opportunity to stimulate economic activity for the entire Roanoke region and Western Virginia while further improving access to Valley View Mall. Funding in the range of $50-$70 million from VDOT towards this project would fulfill that significant transportation and economic development need, according to Mayor Bowers.

Posted By Valerie Garner

Categories: Politics, Roanoke City Politics

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