On January 15th, the Commonwealth of Virginia released draft Smart Scale scores for transportation grant applications submitted in July and August by localities and regional entities such as the Danville Metropolitan Planning Organization. The release of these draft scores serves as an initial step in the determination of funding for transportation projects throughout Virginia.
Smart Scale is a relatively new data-driven transportation funding mechanism unique to Virginia, which scores transportation project applications based on their anticipated impact with regard to safety, accessibility, economic development, environmental impact, and congestion mitigation; a land use factor is taken into account in metropolitan areas with a population of at least 200,000. The draft funding scenario will be finalized in June based on public and stakeholder input, at which time the Commonwealth Transportation Board (CTB) will finalize the project list as part of the state’s Six Year Improvement Program, which schedules funding for projects over a six-year time frame.
Proposed projects within the West Piedmont Planning District which were recommended for funding as part of this draft funding scenario include the following:
Danville Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO)
- Berry Hill Connector Road: This project would involve the construction of an approximately 2.3-mile connector road between the Oak Ridge Farms Road interchange at Danville Expressway (U.S. Route 58/29) and Berry Hill Road (U.S. Route 311) in the vicinity of the Berry Hill Industrial Park, which is currently under development. The connector road would provide a much more direct connection between the Danville Expressway and the Berry Hill Industrial Park than currently is available. In the absence of the connector road, traffic associated with the industrial park would be required to continue farther north on the Danville Expressway to Martinsville Highway (U.S. Route 58 Business), on which it must travel for 0.3-mile, before doubling back on Berry Hill Road for at least 2.5 miles until it reaches the industrial park. Therefore, the connector road would provide a more direct route for freight and employment-related traffic traveling to and from the Berry Hill Industrial Park, while keeping this traffic off of other area roadways.
- Improvements to U.S. Route 220 and Pleasant Hill Road/Sontag Road (Route 619): construction of a “Restricted Crossing U-Turn” (R-CUT) (innovative) design at U.S. Route 220 and Pleasant Hill Road, which would include median separation and the requirement that drivers wishing to turn left onto U.S. Route 220 first turn right and then loop around at a new U-turn facility. A southbound left-turn lane would be included in this design. A separate R-CUT configuration would also be constructed at the intersection of U.S. Route 220 and Sontag Road. In contrast to a traditional intersection, an R-CUT does not permit traffic to directly turn left from an intersecting road onto a major road. Rather, the traffic would turn right and perform a u-turn at a designated location to the right of the intersection. This configuration promotes safety, as it prevents left turns at the intersection, thereby eliminating the need for left turning vehicles to cross two-directional traffic. Requiring vehicles to turn right and then left also promotes roadway efficiency, saving drivers time. See the image below for an example of an R-CUT.
- Improvements to U.S. Route 220 and Grassy Hill Road (Route 919): This project would include the construction of a non-signalized Continuous Green-T. The project would include an extension of the existing acceleration lane on U.S. Route 220 North, a conversion of a driveway along U.S. Route 220 North to right-turn only, and a right-turn lane at this driveway. A Continuous Green-T is an intersection configuration in which traffic turning from an intersecting road to a major road turns right as in a traditional intersection; however, left-turning traffic, when crossing the median of a major roadway, enters the traffic stream via a form of an acceleration lane to enhance safety. See the image below for an example of a Continuous Green-T.
To learn more about innovative intersection designs noted above, as well as other configurations, please visit http://www.virginiadot.org/innovativeintersections/.
- Improvements to Booker T. Washington Highway (Route 122) and Lost Mountain Road (Route 636): This project would include the addition of right– and left-turn lanes with median separation. Other components would be the construction of median-separated right– and left-turn lanes On Route 122 at the Booker T. Washington National Monument, a multi-use path along Route 122, and access management.
- S. Route 29 and Shula Drive (Route 642): This project, located in northern Pittsylvania County, south of Hurt, would relocate the western section of the intersection of Shula Drive further south along U.S. Route 29, while leaving the eastern intersection in its current location. This intersection has experienced a number of serious crashes involving vehicles crossing U.S. Route 29, and it is anticipated that relocating part of this intersection will dramatically increase safety at this location.
To learn more about how these and other projects scored, please visit http://vasmartscale.org/projects/default.asp.