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Virginia DOT Finally Finishes U.S. 58 Widening in SW County

Tue May 14, 2024 - Southeast Edition
Virginia Department of Transportation

Newly constructed east and westbound Route 58 bridges over the South Fork Holston River and the Virginia Creeper Trail near Damascus.
Photo courtesy of VDOT
Newly constructed east and westbound Route 58 bridges over the South Fork Holston River and the Virginia Creeper Trail near Damascus.

When the work zone barrels were removed May 8 along U.S. Highway 58 in Washington County, Va., a major milestone in the effort to widen the route between the towns of Abingdon and Damascus was finally achieved.

The Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) and its partner Kanawha Stone Co., a contractor from Poca, W. Va., finished the project before embarking on cleanup and finishing work that should only take a couple more weeks, the state agency noted.

The completed work also included relocating a portion of U.S. 58 and constructing two new bridges over the South Fork Holston River in Washington County. The new structures are located just to the north of the old bridge.

Beginning in the late fall of 2021, crews from VDOT and Kanawha Stone first got under way on the 3.3-mi. widening effort, stretching from just east of Va. Highway 708/Bethel Road to 0.2-mi. east of Va. 858/Hollyfield Road near Damascus in the state's southwestern corner.

"This milestone means opening the gateway to Damascus and its natural beauty and recreational opportunities," VDOT Bristol District Engineer Tabitha Crowder, said in an agency statement. "We also wish to thank those who drive the corridor daily for their patience during this effort."

Additionally, VDOT worked with the Virginia Department of Wildlife Resources (DWR) and the state's Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) to permanently establish a South Fork Holston River access point for kayaks and canoes, located adjacent to the former U.S. 58 bridge that crossed the scenic mountain waterway.

A temporary construction access road used by VDOT to remove the old bridge was left in place so that DWR, which will manage the site, can upgrade the road to include vehicle parking and river access for the public.

Long and Winding Road to Completion

Lasting more than 20 years, the endeavor to widen U.S. 58 through the Watauga Valley between Abingdon and Damascus now provides a modern and safe four-lane highway along a highly traveled area for both recreational and commuter traffic.

The construction along U.S. 58 in the area began near Abingdon in 2003, and was built in four phases, each one longer than the last. The first three encompassed:

  • Phase I, which saw the construction of 1.1 mi. of roadway from just east of U.S. Highway 11 to west of Watauga Road before its completion in Spring 2006.
  • Phase II picked up from there and stretched over 1.8 mi. to a point east of Va. 638. It opened for traffic in the fall of 2012.
  • Phase III was 2.6 mi. in length and had crews working on site until the summer of 2015 from just east of Va. 638 to near Va. 708/Bethel Road.

The entire widening of U.S. 58 between Abingdon and Damascus was roughly 9 mi. long and cost approximately $120 million, according to VDOT.

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