Franklin County is centrally located along the United States’ East Coast and is easily accessible by a number of modes of transportation. The area’s road, rail, air, and port facilities allow local businesses convenient ways to travel to and from the community as well as efficient importation of goods and exportation of products. Roads in the Commonwealth of Virginia are built and maintained by the Virginia Department of Transportation, which has long executed an expertly designed and implemented highway system. Franklin County is fortunate to be located near a number of outstanding interstate facilities and served by two major highway corridors, U.S. Route 220 and State Route 40. These two corridors provide uncongested north-south and east-west access to and from the community.
|Note: Measured from border of locality/region.|
|Area Interstate Distances from Franklin County|
|I-581||4.9 miles (8.0 km.)|
|I-81||8.1 miles (13.0 km.)|
|I-77||29.7 miles (47.7 km.)|
|I-64||38.1 miles (61.3 km.)|
|I-40||47.3 miles (76.1 km.)|
Area Road Network Rail Service
Freight rail service in Franklin County is provided by Norfolk Southern Corporation. One of the nation’s premier transportation companies, Norfolk Southern has a strong historical relationship with Franklin County in the Roanoke Valley. Its Norfolk Southern Railway subsidiary operates approximately 21,000 route miles in 22 states and the District of Columbia, serving every major container port in the Eastern United States and providing superior connections to western rail carriers. Norfolk Southern operates the most extensive intermodal network in the East and is North America’s largest rail carrier of metals and automotive products. Franklin County is served by the Norfolk Southern Thoroughbred Bulk Transfer Terminal in Roanoke. This terminal, with forty rail spots, accommodates dry bulk, liquid bulk, food grade bulk, and hazardous materials. This distribution center is designed for use by businesses located in the Roanoke area and can:
- Assist companies who are currently shipping only by truck with rail service options
- Supplement existing rail capacity for rail customers with transload/truck deliveries
- Allow for the re-loading of products to comply with loading requirements, clearances, etc.
- Provide an opportunity for delayed shipments to be unloaded to meet deadlines
- Allow companies to be closer to their final customers with a high level of responsiveness from the production site
The facility is secured, fenced, paved, and provides truck scales for use by transload partners for bulk transfer. The terminal is open Monday through Friday from 6:00 A.M. to 6:00 P.M. Norfolk Southern has a proven track record of assisting new and expanding companies in Franklin County with all varieties of rail needs. This includes the preparation of conceptual plans, working through logistical needs and questions, and helping to secure state funding for track/siding construction. As a Franklin County business, these services are all complimentary.
|Typical Freight Shipping Time by Railroad from Franklin County to:|
|Norfolk, VA||1 day|
|Atlanta, GA||2 days|
|Baltimore, MD||3 days|
|Chicago, IL||3 days|
|Cleveland, OH||3 days|
|Detroit, MI||3 days|
|Philadelphia, PA||3 days|
|Pittsburgh, PA||3 days|
|St. Louis, MO||3 days|
|New York, NY||4 days|
|Boston, MA||4 days|
Franklin County residents and businesses are now served with passenger rail service provided by Amtrak out of the nearby Lynchburg station. The line was put into service in October 2009 as Amtrak inaugurated its new train service seven days a week from Lynchburg, VA, to Washington, DC, with single-seat service to New York and Boston under the umbrella of its Northeast Regional service. The Lynchburg-Washington train is a major paradigm shift for the Commonwealth of Virginia, since it is the first time the state has funded intercity passenger rail service.
This train, operating as it does on the U.S. 29 corridor in central Virginia, marks the first new passenger train service in Virginia in half a century. Originating in Lynchburg Monday-Friday at 7:38 a.m., the new train makes scheduled stops at Charlottesville, Culpeper, Manassas, Burke Centre, and Alexandria, arriving at Washington at 11:20 a.m. Continuing northbound, it arrives at New York’s Penn Station at 3:30 p.m. and arrives at Boston’s South Station at 7:53 p.m. Southbound service departs Boston at 8:15 a.m. and departs New York City at 12:50 p.m. The train arrives in Washington at 4:50 p.m. and terminates at Lynchburg at 8:36 p.m. Weekend service is provided at different times at least as far as New York City.
Commercial Air Service
Franklin County is fortunate to have three excellent commercial aviation airports within a seventy-five mile radius: Roanoke Regional Airport (30.3 miles), Lynchburg Regional Airport (55.7 miles), and Piedmont Triad International (75.2 miles). Travel out of Roanoke Regional, the nearest of the three to Franklin County, is convenient and of extremely high quality. Airlines serving Roanoke Regional include Delta Airlines, United Airlines, American Airlines, and Allegiant Air. Roanoke Regional accommodates approximately 123 daily departures from its two runways, one 5,800 feet in length and the other 6,800 feet. The tower operates twenty-four hours per day. The airport terminal boasts wireless internet access, car rentals, food and beverage services, a gift shop, ground transportation services (taxi, bus, and shuttle), a travel agency, and accessibility options.
Non-stop air service to some of the most important air hubs in the United States is available from Roanoke Regional. The Roanoke Regional Airport provides non-stop flight service to and from the following destinations:
- Atlanta, GA
- Charlotte, NC
- Chicago, IL (O’Hare)
- New York, NY (La Guardia)
- Orlando, FL
- Philadelphia, PA
- St. Petersburg, FL (seasonal)
- Washington, D.C. (Dulles)
|Busiest Domestic Routes out of ROA|
|(July 2010 – June 2011)|
|1||Charlotte, NC||92,000||American Airlines|
|3||Chicago O’Hare, IL||34,000||United|
|5||Philadelphia, PA||25,000||American Airlines|
|8||New York-LaGuardia, NY||15,000||American Airlines|
|9||St. Petersburg, FL||12,000||Allegiant|
With several air freight providers serving the region, the Roanoke Regional Airport makes shipping easy. The following companies provide air freight service through the Roanoke Regional Airport:
- Air Cargo Carriers
- Delta Connection Carriers
- Federal Express
- Quest Diagnostics
- United Express
- American Airlines
In addition, Franklin County is located just one and a half hours from the new Fedex hub at Piedmont Triad International Airport in Greensboro, North Carolina.
General Service Aviation and Fixed Base Operations
Franklin County is provided general aviation services from both Roanoke Regional Airport and Blue Ridge Regional Airport. Roanoke Regional offers a full service fixed base operator with a multimillion dollar hangar facility staffed by more than 50 aircraft service professionals. In addition, several FBO’s provide services such as:
- Executive terminal
- Pilot lounge
- Private charter companies
- New and used aircraft sales and parts
- Routine maintenance and Repair
- Beechcraft warranty-covered parts
- Tie-down space
- Refueling: both Jet A and 100 LL fuels are available
- 24 hour service
The Blue Ridge Regional Airport, located just south of Franklin in Henry County, operates a 5,002 foot jet stressed lighted runway. FBO services offered include:
- Conference Room Rental
- Jet A and 100LL Fuels – Full and Self Serve available
- Aircraft Parking – Ramp and Tie down
- Corporate and T Hangar Rental
- Overnight Hangar Space
- Weather & Flight Planning
- Civil Air Patrol (CAP)
- Restaurant / Catering on site
- Crew & Passenger Lounge
- Free Coffee and Ice
- Rental Cars available in advance
- Telephone / Computer
- Free Wireless Internet
- Pilot Supplies
Seaports and Inland Ports
Franklin County is served by the Port of Virginia, located in the greater Norfolk metro area. This port actually comprises three marine terminals and one intermodal container transfer facility: Norfolk International Terminals, Portsmouth Marine Terminal, Newport News Marine Terminal, and the Virginia Inland Port. These facilities are located approximately 288 miles from Franklin County and are easily accessible by truck or rail. At the Port of Virginia, it is recognized that the port plays a critical role in protecting and enhancing the supply chains of some of the world’s leading employers. The Port strives to make movement of ocean freight efficient, cost-effective and reliable to importers and exporters alike. Through the consistent achievement of these measures, the Port of Virginia has been recognized as one of the world’s leading maritime gateways for more than 400 years. At fifty feet, the Port of Virginia offers the deepest shipping channels on the U.S. East Coast and is fully prepared to accommodate 10,000+ TEU vessels. More than 30 international steamship lines service the Port which handles over 15 million tons of cargo per year and over 1.1 million container units annually. Norfolk Southern and CSX offer on-dock, double-stack intermodal service to key inland markets in the Midwest, Ohio Valley and the Southeast.
Businesses in Franklin County can also utilize the port of entry at the New River Valley Airport, better known as the Virginia Tradeport, some seventy-five miles away. The Virginia TradePort is actually multiple resources in one including a U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Port of Entry (Port of Entry #1412) and a Foreign Trade Zone (Foreign Trade Zone #238) that provides an easy way to process, warehouse and distribute goods entering and/or leaving the United States. A Port of Entry processes goods entering and exiting the United States and enforces customs laws. Foreign goods may be entered for consumption, for warehousing, or for transportation to another port of entry. Goods arriving to the Virginia TradePort in-bound from a different port can be immediately handled, saving an importer considerable time and money (rather than waiting for shipments to clear in more congested ports). The Virginia TradePort has a Customs and Border Protection officer on site to provide personal and timely inspection and clearance of imported and exported goods. There are also numerous customhouse brokers in the region to assist with the entry and export process as necessary.
The foreign trade zone is a secure and enclosed area under the supervision of U.S. Customs and Border Protection. It is considered to be outside U.S. customs territory. This allows foreign goods to be brought into the zone without being subject to U.S. customs duties. Goods will remain duty free until the goods enter the U.S. commerce. While goods are in the foreign trade zone they can be stored, inspected, manipulated, processed, relabeled, and repackaged (all while being in a duty free environment). Customs duties are due at the time the goods move outside the foreign trade zone and enter U.S. commerce. If the items are re-exported or destroyed, no duties will be due. If the items are manufactured into a lower duty rate product, then duty can be paid at the lower rate (with approval from the Foreign Trade Zone Board).
The Virginia TradePort is a public/private venture under the supervision of the New River Valley Economic Development Alliance and U. S. Customs and Border Protection.