Christiansburg leaders are hoping a proposed $8 million road project will ease current traffic problems at the intersection of Cambria and North Franklin streets. Plans were unveiled Thursday at a public information meeting at town hall.
The intersection is considered the most dangerous one in the town, and over the past three months, there have been four accidents involving school buses.
In numbers from the Virginia Department of Transportation, the average daily traffic rate for the intersection is 26,000 with the numbers expected to grow to 29,300 by the year 2040.
Repeatedly, council has pushed for changes to the intersection. In addition to the work that lead up to the crossing, the project will also jumpstart sidewalks and eliminate entrances to the recreation center and two shopping centers leading up to the intersection.
That part of the project will push traffic into a new signal light near the Waffle House restaurant. In the future, the new signal light will take traffic onto a new connector route, crossing Cambria Street and going into a new town park and then to Peppers Ferry Road.
The biggest change will be seen as traffic approaches the intersection from Farmview Road. A new ramp will move traffic to a new stoplight approximately 30 yards before the current railroad tracks. This configuration will eliminate a concrete barrier that separates southbound lanes with two straight-through lanes and one left and right turning lanes.
Most of the onlookers at this week’s meeting expressed concern on how the new stop light before the intersection could cause more congestion instead of relieving it. Clarke said engineers believe it will not.
The estimated cost of the project, which stems 0.77 miles, is approximately $8.5 million, with all the funding coming from VDOT. No homes or businesses will have to be relocated.
The state plans to advertise the project for construction by September 2018 with construction possibly starting in November 2018 and completion in 2020.
A secondary road project has been in the works for the past three years but only recently funded. That project will be a new ramp from the US 460 bypass onto northbound North Franklin Street.
The road has been developing as town crews have pulled fill dirt from the area directly behind Commonwealth Retirement and Nursing Center.
Once completed, Clarke said, this roadway will relieve some of the congestion near a Lowe’s Super Center.
“It will circle back in front of the current Sheetz convenience store, pulling traffic off the eastbound part of the 460 bypass,” he said.
That project is completely funded and work could begin in the spring of next year.
Earlier in the week, town engineer Wayne Nelson also unveiled several other road projects the town is requesting VDOT to consider funding.
Four will be funded with 80 percent coming from VDOT and 20 percent from local revenue, which include: Roanoke Street sidewalk ext 460 bypass with pedestrian lights, East Main Street sidewalks, downtown enhancements and the Huckleberry Trail Extension Phase III.
Nelson said the Roanoke Street project would cost $801,885 with the town paying $160,377. The East Main Street project would extend sidewalks along the east side of Park to High Street, and will cost $1.035 million with the local amount being $207,036.
The downtown enhancements will include sidewalks from the post office along North Franklin to Depot Street and Wades Lane, and will include cross walks and pedestrian signals. The price tag is estimated at $437,130 and will include a $87,426 local match.
Phase III of the Huckleberry would push the trail down to Scattergood between a day care center and lawyer’s office to a trail head at the Christiansburg Institute and a 10-space parking lot. The project would cost $508,000 and would require a $101,600 local match.
The four above projects were included in funding requests for 2019-2020.
Three additional projects have been submitted under a second revenue sharing request, including: the Roanoke Street and Tower Road intersection, improvements to the Arbor and Peppers Ferry intersection, and storm water drainage improvements at Hickok Street.
The first project would add a signal light near the Cracker Barrel restaurant that would help tie in the hotels located nearby and congestion associated with the shutdown of Interstate 81 when traffic is shifted to US 460. Additionally, sidewalks and storm drainage will also take place as part of the project which is estimated at $1.574 million and would include a 50 percent local match of $787,121.
The Arbor/Peppers Ferry project would add a left turn lane.
The Hickok Street project is part of a much larger study that is looking at the drainage in, around and under most of the buildings in downtown Christiansburg. Nelson said major improvements are needed to help drain storm water in and around Hickok and Main Street.
The total amount for the drainage project could cost $2.675 million with the town having to foot close to $1.3 million.