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State and local officials gathered Tuesday to reveal the “Future I-785 Corridor” signs that have been reinstalled along the roadside of the U.S. 29 bypass from the Virginia-North Carolina line to its intersection at U.S. 58.
The ceremony was held at the Institute for Advanced Learning and Research.
“There are a lot of pieces of the economic development puzzle, but highway accessibility is ranked No. 1 by chief executive officers or CEOs who determine where to locate or expand their business,” Del. Danny Marshall said. “What is important to CEOs should be important to us.”
Marshall continued, saying, “The ‘Future I-785 Corridor’ signs will let prospective companies know that we are working at being connected by good highways, and that will give our economic developers another positive piece of the economic development puzzle.”
Marshall said he hopes that in the future the “Future I-785 Corridor” designation can be extended north into Pittsylvania County.
Mayor John Gilstrap agreed, saying, “These signs make a valuable statement for Danville and Pittsylvania County when we drive prospects around the region. To be able to see an Interstate sign, even if it says ‘future,’ is something that contributes to the overall story about why Danville/Pittsylvania County is a good location for the project being pursued.”
The City of Danville — with support from the City of Greensboro and Guilford, Rockingham and Caswell counties in North Carolina — initiated an effort in 1996 to obtain Interstate designation for U. S. 29 from I-85 in Greensboro, N.C.
Signage was installed along the route identifying it as “Future I-785 Corridor” in 1998. A few years ago, the signs disappeared from that portion of the highway in Danville — probably because of snow removal.
Marshall, Del. Les Adams and Sen. Frank Ruff requested that the Virginia Department of Transportation reinstall the signs.
“The ability to move goods is extremely important,” Ruff said. “The designation as a future Interstate corridor, along with our efforts in workforce development training, makes for a great economic development package.”
Adams said the designation adds to assets this region offers to prospective companies.
“We have strong collaboration among our communities, a real infrastructure for workforce training,” Adams said. “We know this designation as a “Future I-785 Corridor” is a real benefit to us.”