RICHMOND, JAN. 16 -- Ordered by the governor to cut its budget and squeezed by slumping transportation revenue, the Virginia highway department yesterday recommended delaying construction on 80 projects across the state, including a dozen in Northern Virginia, for two months.
The delays, if approved by the Commonwealth Transportation Board at its meeting next month, would save about $70.5 million, according to staff reports by the Virginia Department of Transportation.
About $19.1 million of the savings would come from 12 projects in Northern Virginia: four in Fairfax County, three in Loudoun County, two in Prince William County, two in Vienna and one in Arlington County.
"We'd prefer not to do it," said state Transportation Secretary John G. Milliken, "but in the grand scheme of things, a two-month delay is not a serious blow to the completion of these projects."
Among the projects proposed for delay are the extension of Quincy Street between Wilson Boulevard and North Glebe Road in Arlington; widening a one-mile stretch of Centreville Road to six lanes in Fairfax; repaving Hughsville Road (Route 820) west of Leesburg in Loudoun, and computerizing traffic signals at 11 locations along Maple Avenue and Nutley Street in Vienna.
Milliken said the list of proposed delays would be sent to local governments, which could recommend substituting other projects if the ones proposed by the state are considered too important.
The savings would be made by delaying for two months the dates on which the state would advertise for builders to submit bids to work on the projects.
Another project -- noise walls along the Capital Beltway near Route 50 -- will be delayed one month by giving construction companies an extra month to prepare and submit bids. Across the state, 38 other projects will be delayed a month by extending the deadline for bids. Another 16 projects, none in Northern Virginia, will be delayed because of "physical reasons," such as environmental complications, officials said.
Statewide, there are 427 transportation projects worth $721.6 million scheduled to be advertised by March 1992, and transportation officials said that all -- including the 80 proposed for two-month deferrals -- would be advertised by that date.
"Every paper I pick up, you'd think all the bulldozers in Virginia are silent," said G. Morris Wells Jr., a member of the Commonwealth Transportation Board from South Hill. "I'm glad to see we're still building roads."
About 27 percent of the $70.5 million savings attributable to construction deferrals would come from project delays in the Northern Virginia transportation district, one of nine such districts in the state.
Milliken said the proposed delays should be considered along with a previous round of construction deferrals. In the first round, 69 projects were delayed, and only four -- one in Fairfax and three in Loudoun -- were in Northern Virginia.
Milliken also warned that, because of the state's economic downturn, there probably would not be enough money to fund all of the projects in the state's six-year road-building plan, the state's key transportation planning document.
He said he would send a letter to localities asking officials to work with the state to identify what projects could be delayed with the least pain when the plan is released this spring.
Quincy Street extension from Wilson Boulevard to North Glebe Road. FAIRFAX COUNTY
Replacement of Fox Mill Road bridge over Little Difficult Run.
Widening of Route 29 (Lee Highway) to five lanes near Blake Lane.
Widening of Route 29 (Lee Highway) to four lanes with raised median near Fairfax Circle.
Widening of Route 657 to six lanes between McLearen and West Ox roads. VIENNA
Computerized signal system at 11 locations on Maple Avenue and Nutley Street.
Reconstruction of Park Street from Maple Avenue to Fardale Street. LOUDOUN COUNTY
Bridge replacement on Route 9 over North Fork of Catoctin Creek north of Leesburg.
Surface reconstruction of Route 820 between Route 662 and Route 699.
Bridge replacement on Route 734 at branch of Goose Creek. PRINCE WILLIAM COUNTY
Installation of turn lanes and modification of traffic signals on Route 1 near Quantico.
Widening and resurfacing of Route 662 to Route 666.