Motorists have started using a new expanded park-n-ride lot in Christiansburg. Jason Bond with the Virginia Department of Transportation said the lot is open, but the project is not quite finished.
“The contract calls for the lot to be opened and contracted work items completed by Sept. 1. There are plantings and wet pond construction that will be completed after the lot opens with the project’s final completion date in December 2018,” he said on Friday.
Work on the expansion began in the Spring of 2016. The initial lot was located directly across from the Falling Branch Elementary School.
Public concerns over the proximity to the school forced VDOT to open a temporary lot almost a half of a mile away along Roanoke Street.
The new project then was approved at a price tag of $5.2 million.
The temporary lot and the one near the school are both blocked off for use. The temporary paved lot will be removed and turned into a grassy area.
According to Bond, the park and ride lot by the school had about 65 spaces and was 1.1 acres. The temporary lot off Route 460/Roanoke Street had 70 spaces. The new completed lot will have 270 spaces and is 5.2 acres.
There will be lanes and space for both the Mega and Smart Way buses to pick up and unload in the new lot. Bond also said there will be no public restroom at the lot.
Two years ago, the Virginia General Assembly approved the lot being named after a fallen soldier from Christiansburg, Kenneth Gibson who died in 2008. He was assigned to the 1st Battalion, 14th Infantry Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division and died of wounds sustained in Balad, Iraq, when an improvised explosive device detonated near his position.
Bond said VDOT plans to fabricate the sign, and the town may hold an event to unveil the sign later this year.