by Lillian Kafka, Manassas Journal

25 October 2007

“Construction at the Gainesville interchange at U.S. 29 and Linton Hall Road could begin in 2011 — three years sonner than expected.

” ‘There are two huge hurdles that have to be jumped before we start any construction,’ said Joan Morris, Virginia Department of Transportation spokesman. The Federal Highway Administration will allow VDOT to clear one of those hurdles much sooner, Morris said.

“Gov. Timothy M. Kaine announced Tuesday that the administration relaxed some requirements that VDOT must follow when buying land for road projects. VDOT won’t have to have all of the interchange plans complete before they start negotiating with landowners around the construction site.

” ‘Fifty-three parcels and 39 businesses have to be acquired, and if that was done using the standard engineering process, then we’d be advertising for construction in 2013,’ Morris said.
Now the administration will allow VDOT to buy land before the plans are finished, she said.

” ‘We are also working with utility companies to co-locate utilities in a bank or a corridor to streamline the relocations,’ Morris said.  Utility poles must be moved out of the way of construction vehicles and the future roadway before construction begins.   More than 15 utility companies have utilities in the area of the Gainesville interchange, Morris said.

“The Gainesville interchange is a $181.4 million project that will raise U.S. 29 over the railroad tracks in Gainesville and widen that highway from four to six lanes from Interstate 66 to Virginia Oaks Drive.

“Gallerher Road also will be raised above the tracks.

“Of the entire project’s cost, $77 million will be used to purchase property.”