I need Advice and Suggestions for high priced bikes?

Stats: 5'9", 255 lbs. Current Bike: 1975 Sears and Roebuck 18 speed Grand Peak, weight: 40 lbs or so. work commute - H to W: 3 miles uphill 20-25 minutes; W to H: 3 miles downhill 15-20 minutes. New bike characteristics: cost of $1,500 or less, 18 - 27 speed, fenders, rear rack, road/tour bike with... show more Stats: 5'9", 255 lbs.
Current Bike: 1975 Sears and Roebuck 18 speed Grand Peak, weight: 40 lbs or so.
work commute - H to W: 3 miles uphill 20-25 minutes; W to H: 3 miles downhill 15-20 minutes.

New bike characteristics: cost of $1,500 or less, 18 - 27 speed, fenders, rear rack, road/tour bike with mountain bike handle bars. Has to be able to handle my weight plus gear.

I want it to be sturdy enough to handle heavier errands (i.e. grocery shopping) but light and quick enough to cut my ride time to work by 5-10 minutes. Tires must be standard 26 x 1.25 so that I can pick up spare tubes easily at any general retail store; there are no bike stores near my home.

Any suggestions on what bike brand/model might work well for me?
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