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An interchange is needed

It’s a continuing issue that if absolved would cure a lot of frustration.

I’m talking about the need for a East Third Street interchange that would allow westbound access to U.S. Route 460 and eastbound access from U.S. Route 460 to East Third Street.

Lockett District Supervisor and Board Chairman Robert M. “Bobby” Jones said in a previous interview that having the completed interchange and exit and entrance ramps has been under consideration for years. 

“Of course it’s a shame they didn’t do it when they did the original bypass, but it would definitely make access on that end of town for the bypass a lot easier,” Jones said. “The big problem is the dollar amount they’ve got tagged on what it would cost to do it.”

During the interview, Jones said there was too much grade and issues with wetlands, calling the project complicated.

According to a 2007 study by The Timmons Group, the cost to construct a full-access interchange would be $12-15 million. Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) spokeswoman Paula Jones said the cost could be even higher as the price of materials, such as steel, has risen.

In addition to ease of access, the interchange could potentially bring more business to the town, and with those businesses comes more money.

A point made during public hearings for the then-proposed Dollar General set to be built in Rice was if the county keeps making it difficult for new businesses to come to town, then eventually new businesses will quit dealing with the hassle.

The final, and most important, reason this interchange should be constructed is safety. Right now the easiest way to reach westbound U.S. Route 460 from East Third Street is by making a u-turn along the roadway.

This becomes especially difficult when an 18-wheeler tractor trailer attempts to do so.

Morgan White is a staff reporter for The Herald. His email address is Morgan.White@FarmvilleHerald.com.