VDOT provides update on Route 58 Lovers Leap project

SALEM — In spring 2022, the Virginia Department of Transportation’s (VDOT) design-build contractor Branch Civil Inc. began work on the construction phase of the $300 million project to widen Route 58 over Lovers Leap Mountain in Patrick County. As of October 2023, overall construction on the project is more than 30 percent complete with the final completion anticipated in summer 2026.

“The project team has been working diligently to deliver this roadway improvement that will enhance safety and support economy development opportunities,” said Rob Griffith, district construction engineer for the Virginia Department of Transportation’s Salem District.

“Even with the challenges of working alongside and maintaining safe traffic operations on the existing roadway, the steep terrain and heavy rain events, we have been very successful in maintaining our construction schedule,” said Jeff Humphreys, design-build project manager for Branch Civil Inc.  

The Lovers Leap project will widen 7.4 miles of Route 58 from two lanes to four lanes over the mountain, including the area where the existing overlook is located. The project begins approximately a quarter mile west of the Poor Farmers Farm store in Vesta and continues eastward over and down the mountain, ending at the existing four-lane section of the Stuart Bypass.

Construction entails widening the road to four lanes, improving alignments and grades, expanding the shoulders, adding turn lanes at all secondary road connections as well as enhancing the Lovers Leap Overlook. In addition, brake check areas and escape ramps for trucks will be added.

Work initially began at the top and bottom of Lovers Leap Mountain. The mountainous terrain and amount of excavation make this a significant project. The project entails excavating more than 10 million cubic yards of soil and rock at elevations that range between 1,300 and 3,000 feet. Approximately 3.3 million cubic yards has been moved so far.

Drivers should continue to expect flaggers and possible delays on Route 58. In addition, intermittent blasting may be scheduled between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m. on weekdays at various locations on the project through summer 2025.

For blasting that is close to Route 58, traffic in both directions may be blocked for approximately 15-20 minutes at a time. Drivers and residents along the Route 58 corridor should expect loud noise and allow extra travel time. Electronic message boards will be used to inform drivers of scheduled blasting that will impact traffic.

Last updated: July 17, 2024

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