Why Improve 501?


U.S. 501 is a vital traffic corridor serving one of the nation's most active areas of economic development—the region from Interstate 81 near Lexington to the Research Triangle in North Carolina.

501 serves a key role in the economic life of this region; thousands of trucks traverse it daily, supporting businesses and industries that are already located here. The road's condition also impacts the economic development potential of the land around it. Consequently, many area companies have begun to lend their support to improvement efforts. Times have changed since 501 was built, but the road hasn't. Back then, engineers couldn't have foreseen the weight and size of modern cars and trucks, or how fast they would go. The highway needs improvement to accommodate these changes.

U.S. 501 improvements have not kept pace with traffic growth, causing safety problems that affect hundreds of thousands of Virginia residents (as well as visitors to the region).

Representatives from every county and city along the 501 corridor have been working together with private industries and businesses to form a regional consensus list of improvement priorities.

All localities in the 501 Regional Coalition agree that a regional, long-term solution is needed—ultimately four-laning from I-81 to the North Carolina border. (The existing corridor in Bedford County is not conducive to four-laning, but does need significant safety improvements. An alternate corridor would need to be identified to continue four-laning to I-81.)

Current and future generations of Virginians stand to benefit from regional thinking and from the regional improvement of U.S. 501.

PriorityProject # Project LocationPhaseFunding
#1104980 Route 633, CampbellConstruction$664,400.00
#2100556Campbell Passing Lane Right of Way $640,000.00
#3104947  Shoulder Widening Rustburg Right of Way$605,000.00
#4104949 Shoulder Widening Gladys Right of Way $760,000.00
#5105947  Shoulder Widening Rustburg Construction$1,015,000.00
#6104949  Shoulder Widening Gladys Construction$1,170,000.00
#7104946Halifax Passing Lane Right of Way  $2,500,000.00
#8104946  Halifax Passing Lane Construction$12,000,000.00
#9100556 Campbell Passing Lane Construction 10,772,000.00


In fact, efforts to improve the roadway reach back half a century! On March 10, 1954, Lynchburg's newspaper reported that "members of the Lynchburg Chamber of Commerce's highway committee met with other road experts yesterday to come up with suggestions for improving the stretch between Lynchburg and Glasgow on Rt. 501."

EXAMINING BAD CURVES on the Lynchburg side of the foot of Locke's Mountain on Rt. 501 are (left to right) E.A. Ware, J.C. Oliver, A.T. Taylor and Carter Glass, Jr. The group will make a report to the Virginia Highway Commission on their findings of road conditions between Lynchburg and Glasgow on Rt. 501.

(Image Courtesy of the Lynchburg News, March 10, 1954.)