In the absence of construction of I-73 in Virginia within the foreseeable future, the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) is undertaking two studies intended to preserve the capacity of U.S. Routes 220 and 29, while enhancing the safety of these corridors. In November, VDOT hosted meetings in localities along these two corridors to solicit public input and comments into both of these studies.
VDOT’s corridor enhancement efforts emphasize safety, system efficiency and reliability, and innovation. For example, the agency is recommending innovative design treatments that increase vehicle throughput, improve safety, and exclude traffic signals at numerous intersections along these important corridors. Many of the recommended intersection configurations along these corridors consist of the following:
- Unsignalized Continuous Green-T: This intersection design improves safety and functionality of intersections by requiring left-turning vehicles to enter acceleration or deceleration lanes when entering or exiting the stream of traffic on the corridor, in the absence of traffic signals in many circumstances. These treatments are proposed for the following intersections along the U.S. Route 220 corridor:
- S. Route 220 at Morehead Avenue in the Town of Ridgeway, Henry County.
- S. Route 220 at Henry Road in Franklin County.
- Signalized Through-Cut: This intersection configuration permits traffic approaching an intersection from a minor (intersecting road) approach to make either a right or left turn onto the corridor, but prohibits through traffic, which would include proceeding straight across the corridor from one minor intersecting road to another. This configuration facilitates three signal phases rather than four, providing for a longer period of time for through-traffic to proceed on the corridor. These configurations are proposed for the following intersections along the U.S. Route 220 corridor:
- S. Route 220 at Soapstone Road in Henry County
- S. Route 220 at Water Plant Road in Henry County
- S. Route 220 at Dyer Street in Henry County
- S. Route 220 at Cassell Road/Sontag Road in Franklin County
- S. Route 220 at Wirtz Road in Franklin County
- Restricted Crossing U-Turn (R-CUT): This intersection configuration does not permit left turns from minor road approaches (intersecting roads) onto major corridors. Rather, drivers wishing to turn left from the minor approach must turn right and make a U-turn at a designated median location typically not far from the intersection itself. Left turns from the main corridor onto intersecting roads are facilitated via channelized turn lanes. R-CUTS are proposed for the following intersections along the U.S. Route 220 and 29 corridors:
- S. Route 220 at Pleasant Hill Road in Franklin County
- S. Route 220 at Iron Ridge Road in Franklin County
- S. Route 29 at Lawless Creek Road in Pittsylvania County (short-term)
- S. Route 29 at Tightsqueeze Road in Pittsylvania County
- Roundabout: The roundabout is becoming a popular alternative to conventional intersections in many places, as they reduce the number of vehicular conflict points from 32 to 8, require traffic to slow down while keeping it moving, provide pedestrian refuge areas, and serve aesthetic purposes such as neighborhood gateways. Roundabouts are proposed at the following intersections along U.S. Route 29:
- S. Route 29 at Lawless Creek Road in Pittsylvania County (long-term)
- S. Route 29 at Malmaison Road in Pittsylvania County