The Virginia DOT had two distinct goals in one project: replace the structurally deficient, 12-span bridge over the South Fork of the Shenandoah River and improve traffic capacity on a rapidly-growing primary corridor just south of I-66. Currently, US 340 sees about 33,000 vehicles per day, a number only expected to grow to about 56,000 in 2036. To deal with this projected growth, the department went to work on the $65.5 million South Fork Intersection Improvement Quadrant Roadway Intersection, or “QRI,” project.
The South Fork Bridge was designed to complement its sister bridge of nearby North Fork. The new bridge, the longest in the Staunton District, was stage-constructed to maintain traffic through the area. Additionally, a QRI was designed and constructed to manage traffic at the Route 340/522 and Route 55 intersection, a first for Virginia (and one of only a handful nationwide). Now complete, the QRI has shown that high traffic volumes can be accommodated through innovative/alternative intersection design without radical changes (like grade separation) through a scenic and historically sensitive area.