The Federal and State scenic byways programs are ways to recognize and promote outstanding roads. Scenic Byway designation is a tool for scenic resource promotion and protection.
Virginia’s Scenic Byways
There are both national and state scenic byways programs. Virginia’s program was introduced in 1999 and is managed by the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) in partnership with the Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR). Virginia has 4 federal scenic byways: Colonial Parkway, Skyline Drive, Blue Ridge Parkway, and George Washington Memorial Parkway You can order a map of Virginia’s Scenic Roads and state scenic byways, or pick one up at a rest stop or welcome area in the state.
Benefits to Scenic Resources
- Virginia Byway designation gives localities the opportunity to participate in the National Scenic Byway Program.
- It might limit placement of outdoor advertising signs.
- It does not affect land use controls.
- It does not limit road improvements.
- The route provides important scenic values and experiences.
- There is a diversity of experiences, as in transition from one landscape scene to another.
- The route links together or provides access to scenic, historic, recreational, cultural, natural and archeological elements.
- The route bypasses major roads or provides opportunities to leave high-speed routes for variety and leisure in motoring. Landscape control or management along the route is feasible.
- The route allows for additional features that will enhance the motorist’s experience and improve safety.
- Local government(s) has/have initiated zoning or other land-use controls, so as to reasonably protect the aesthetic and cultural value of the highway.
What are the steps to designation?
1. Anyone can request byway designation, but local government(s) must adopt a resolution of support.
2. Upon receipt of a request and historical documentation from an interested party/local government, VDOT and DCR collect information on local zoning laws, traffic volumes and accident reports before evaluating the roads according to the criteria.
3. Based on a joint review according to the criteria, the DCR director recommends qualifying roads for consideration by the CTB.
4. Before the CTB acts, VDOT offers the local government the opportunity to hold a public hearing. If a public hearing is requested, VDOT’s Local Assistance Division and DCR will provide assistance.
5. After the public hearing, or if no hearing was requested, the CTB officially designates the byway(s) at their next scheduled meeting. Subsequently, signs are posted, and changes are made to the appropriate maps.