The Virginia Department of Transportation will hold a citizen’s information meeting next week about a possible roundabout at Virginia 122 and Hardy Road intersection.
The meeting will be Thursday, Jan. 23 from 5 to 7 p.m. at Burnt Chimney Elementary School at 80 Burnt Chimney Road in Wirtz.
VDOT previously had a northbound left turn lane combined with lengthening the southbound turn lane scheduled to happen this spring, but is now proposing building a roundabout.
Jason Bond, spokesperson for VDOT said the third fatal crash that occurred in August prompted VDOT officials to take another look at the intersection.
“In fall 2019, we determined that the predominant crash type at the intersection had changed,” Bond said, explaining that when VDOT first looked at the traffic data for the area, rear-end collisions were the predominant crash type. This information led VDOT to plan for a left turn lane to be added for the northbound traffic on Virginia 122.
However, last fall, VDOT took another look and determined that angle crashes had increased, rear-end collisions had decreased but left turn crashes from Virginia 122 had “almost doubled,” Bond said. He explained that VDOT considered a traffic signal and a roundabout as possible solutions, but found the roundabout to be a more viable option.
“A roundabout has more apparent efficiencies, reduced speeds and lower cost, long-term maintenance,” Bond said.
The next step is the information meeting during which officials from VDOT hope to provide an opportunity for citizens or organizations to give input on the project. The meeting will be held in an “open-house” format with no formal presentation given. VDOT representatives will be present to discuss the project and answer questions.
After the meeting, Bond said the next step is to go before the Commonwealth Transportation Board during its March 20-21 meeting for more funding. The original plans for the turn lanes were approved for funding at $2.8 million in 2015, but with the changes to the improvement plan now including a roundabout, the cost is nearly $4.8 million, according to Bond.
If approved, construction could begin on the roundabout as early as spring of 2021.
Comments about the project may be submitted at the hearing or until Feb. 2 to Jim Henegar, PE, Virginia Department of Transportation, 731 Harrison Ave., Salem, VA 24153. Comments also can be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org. Reference “Route 122/636 Intersection Public Comment” in the subject heading.