ROANOKE COUNTY, Va. (WFXR) — Traffic delays may soon be things of the past along Route 220. Those are some of the improvements VDOT hopes to fix in its new project.
The Route 220 project costs $16.1 million and stretches from Roanoke through Henry County. However, VDOT seeks feedback from the public on ideas to make effective changes. The deadline to submit comments and complete surveys for VDOT is Friday, Oct. 2.
One way VDOT plans to improve the following seven intersections is to add “thru-cut” traffic signals:
- Southern Hills Drive and Valley Avenue in Roanoke/ Roanoke County
- Pheasant Ridge Road and Crossbow Circle in Roanoke/ Roanoke County
- Buck Mountain Road and Stable Road in Roanoke County
- Clearbrook Village Lane and Indian Grove Road in Roanoke County
- Wirtz Road in Franklin County
- Sontag Road and Cassell Drive in Franklin County
- Dyer Street in Henry County
These “thru-cut” traffic signals would redirect side street traffic to turn left or right, turn directly into business parking lots, or use a crossover to make U-turns.
VDOT believes those changes would create shorter wait times for drivers at traffic lights, make traffic flow faster and smoother, and improve safety for drivers and pedestrians.
“Making this change, we really do make the signal function more efficiently,” said VDOT spokesperson Jason Bond. “We improve safety because we’re reducing stop and go traffic and we are keeping people moving with more green time on Route 220.”
Bond says a part of the improvement includes adding pedestrian-friendly accommodations to some of the intersections, like crosswalks.
Construction is expected to begin in 2021 and will be broken into two phases.
The first phase will be on the Roanoke City and Roanoke County intersections, which is expected to start in the summer of 2021. The second phase will take place on the three remaining intersections in Franklin and Henry Counties commencing in the fall or winter of 2021.
Some business owners near the intersection of Valley Avenue and Southern Hills Drive in Roanoke County say they notice it backs up quickly.
Keith Martin — the store manager at National Optical eye-care facility — says the intersection jams up every day, especially during heavy commute times. Then drivers can sit at the light for a while because of the signal’s timing.
Martin thinks pedestrians should not even consider attempting to cross the street.
In addition, according to Martin, some of his customers deal with the traffic headaches.
“They say they waited in line for like 20 minutes just to get here,” Martin said. “I don’t know if it necessarily hurt our business or because obviously they’re coming here for a purpose. But basically, it would help a lot if it was faster.”
VDOT conducted a planned study on Route 220 that started in 2018.
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