Virginians for Appropriate Roads (VAR) is a grassroots organization working to protect the integrity of our farmlands, forests and rural communities by supporting fiscally conservative and environmentally sound transportation policies. VAR is opposed to the proposed new terrain I-73 highway in southwest Virginia, and to similar highway projects which threaten our region with irreparable cultural and environmental damage, and which levy an unacceptable financial burden on the citizens of Virginia and the Nation. Upgrading and repairing existing roads and bridges, and in particular Route 220 from Roanoke to the North Carolina border, is the responsible way to meet the Roanoke Region’s highway needs.
Virginians for Appropriate Roads reported that the final environmental impact statement on I-73 through Roanoke has been delayed. VAR efforts and consultation work with Harry Reem , a historic preservation consultant from Arlington, VA, has led to a section of S.E. Roanoke to be eligible for historic designation. The approved I-73 route would traverse this section. Now, VDOT will need to look at alternatives to avoid this area. VAR is also seeking eligibility status for another community which would be eliminated by the I-73 route. Andrea Ferster, a public affairs lawyer in Washington, D.C., is assisting VAR. VAR dubbed I-73 “The Incredible Shrinking Interstate.” West Virginia, the originator of the proposed highway, is not building to interstate standards and in North Carolina only a few pieces may be constructed.