Anchoring Lover’s Leap

Anchoring Lover's Leap 

Edited by: Debbie Reaney 

Route 58 is Virginia's longest highway, stretching from the Atlantic Ocean to the southwest tip of Virginia. It traverses five separate Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) districts - Hampton Roads, Richmond, Lynchburg, Salem and Bristol; making it an important 508 miles. In the spring of 2022, VDOT's chosen design-build contractor, Branch Civil Inc. (BCI), began work on the fourth phase of a $300 million project to widen Route 58 over Lovers Leap Mountain in Patrick County, known as the PPTA Project. As of October 2023, overall project construction was over 30 percent complete with the final completion anticipated in summer 2026. 

Currently, widening is underway at Lover's Leap between Hillsville and Stuart; starting 0.7 miles north of Stuart and extending 0.3 miles east of Route 610 in Patrick County. The Lover's Leap section is the fourth and most critical section out of the six sections to be constructed between Hillsville and Stuart with Branch Civil being the Design-Builder for the first four sections and will consist of widening 7.4 miles of Route 58 over Lovers Leap from two to four lanes, improving safety on the mountainous portion of this roadway.  

Work initially began at the top and bottom of Lovers Leap Mountain, the mountainous terrain and amount of excavation making this a significant project that includes excavating more than 10 million cubic yards (cy) 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. As excavation continues, the BCI crew is 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 also be added along with erosion control measures, trap installation, silt fencing, and clean water ditches.  

To aid in the construction of this critical corridor, Branch Civil selected subcontractor, GeoStabilization International (GSI), to complete the necessary tieback work. Understanding the need for safety and environmental restrictions, GSI chose to utilize a Comacchio MC22 Drill Rig they rented from International Construction Equipment, Inc. (ICE®) to work in conjunction with a Comacchio MC15P already onsite to install the tie back anchors 40' (Ft) into the newly constructed retaining walls at Lovers Leap outside of Stuart, VA. These rigs will be onsite until March of 2024 for the installs and are suitable for any type of rotary and rotary-percussive drilling. They also provide an added layer of safety with their remote-control functionality. Even with the challenges of working alongside and maintaining safe traffic operations on the existing roadway, the steep terrain and heavy rain events, and stringent EPA regulations, the professionals at Branch Civil, Inc. have remained on schedule. Safety is a priority for the team and full-time safety personnel and traffic maintenance workers are assigned to the site while a project safety committee monitors the work regularly. 

Branch Civil's attention to safety is essential with the prevalence of large pieces of equipment rumbling around the project and active operations. ICE® is thrilled to have provided some of the equipment that has made this difficult job a bit easier and thanks our partners, like GeoStabilization International, for trusting in our team and rigs. Congratulations Branch Civil Inc., your team's diligence to deliver this roadway improvement will enhance safety and support economic development opportunities; allowing Route 58 to remain a vital road for locals, tourists, and commercial traffic, while connecting southern Virginia from the beach to the mountains. By successfully widening this key section, the project will open this portion of Southwestern Virginia to faster, safer travel and more economic investment.  

Media Contact-      
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Posted in Comacchio Drill Rigs, ICE Team. Tagged as #RoadwayRenovation, Comacchio MC15P, Comacchio MC-22, ICE Drilling, Infrastructure, Sales and Service, Tie-Back Anchors.

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