County Awarded Funding For Two Transportation Projects

Making improvements to Smithland Road and the Mount Crawford park and ride came with a combined price tag of nearly $5 million.

After the state approved the distribution of $1.3 billion for various transportation projects in June, Rockingham County is looking at completing those projects at no cost.

During Tuesday’s Rockingham County Planning Commission meeting, news was released that the county was approved for two SMART Scale projects following a Commonwealth Transportation Board meeting.

The board met on June 23 to approve its fiscal year 2021-22 budget and the FY 2022-27 six-year improvement program, which includes funding for SMART Scale projects.

SMART Scale is a state program that ranks transportation projects for the best allocation of tax dollars. Of the $1.3 billion available in round four, 167 projects were approved for funding.

The Virginia Department of Transportation’s Staunton District, which includes Harrisonburg and Rockingham County, had 22 projects approved for SMART Scale funding worth more than $79 million.

The two projects in Rockingham County ranked within the top 20.

The first project involves widening Smithland Road between U.S. 11 and Va. 718 outside Harrisonburg. The project will widen Smithland Road, which is Va. 720, to add a minimum 4-foot shoulder and increase the lane width from 10 feet to 12 feet where possible, according to documents provided by Bradford Dyjak, director of planning for the county.

Dyjak could not be reached for additional comments Thursday.

The widening project is estimated to cost $2.5 million.

The second project will expand the existing Mount Crawford park and ride at Exit 240 off Interstate 81. It is estimated to cost $2.48 million.

The two projects were initially included in the county’s $61 million capital improvement plan, but later were identified by county staff and the Virginia Department of Transportation as potential projects for grant funding.

Preapplications were submitted in April 2020, with formal applications submitted in August. Both projects were awarded funding in June by the Commonwealth Transportation Board, and no financial contributions will be needed from the county.