Virginia Tech, VDOT partner on several roadway, parking lot projects
May 16, 2005
Virginia Tech and the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) will partner this summer to complete several projects that will significantly improve vehicular and pedestrian safety as well as campus road and parking lot conditions on campus.
Perhaps the most visible of these projects is the construction of a traffic roundabout at the intersection of West Campus Drive and Washington Street.
The roundabout construction project follows a recent traffic study which gave this intersection a failing grade for traffic flow during the peak morning, noon and night commute times. According to Dale Huff, manager of transportation planning and design in Virginia Tech’s Office of Transportation, the intersection of West Campus Drive and Washington Street has been under review for several years. The roundabout project will address safety and traffic flow issues in this area of campus.
“We considered several options, including a signal light, but felt the roundabout was most efficient and safest option for both vehicles and pedestrians,” Huff said. “We expect the roundabout to be an effective traffic-calming device to ensure that traffic remains slow in this high pedestrian area of campus.”
The traffic roundabout is expected to improve conditions by providing a steady flow of traffic. At a roundabout, traffic continues to move at a slow, but continuous pace around the circle in a counterclockwise direction, with right-hand turns onto the desired street. All traffic yields to the motorists in the roundabout. Huff said the roundabout will greatly improve pedestrian safety and provide better traffic control during peak travel hours and sporting events.
“The roundabout solution has been well researched, documented and designed. The campus roundabout is modeled on the recently constructed roundabouts at Duke University, North Carolina State University and the University of Maryland which have been very successful,” Huff said. “Additionally, the Virginia Department of Transportation is a strong supporter of this project. While there will be an initial learning curve for drivers unfamiliar with roundabout process, this solution ultimately will provide a much safer intersection for pedestrians and vehicles.”
The Office of Transportation has established a web site with information about the roundabout and its construction at www.ot.vt.edu/roundabout.
In addition, Virginia Tech and VDOT will install new traffic signals (which will include pedestrian lights) at the intersection of Southgate Drive and Spring Road/Tech Center Drive this summer. Vehicular and pedestrian traffic has grown steadily in the area in recent years.
Construction will begin in May and is scheduled to be completed in August. Drivers on campus should be prepared for potential delays or road closure during construction to improve this busy intersection.
Shortly after Commencement, repaving projects will begin on many roads and parking lots on the Blacksburg campus. This summer, VDOT will pave West Campus Drive between the intersection of Washington Street and Grove Lane; North Drill Field Drive between the intersection of Kent Street and Stanger to West Campus Drive; and Dairy Science Drive beginning at the intersection of Southgate Drive for approximately one-quarter of a mile.
The parking lots that are scheduled for re-paving and sealing include the back portion of the Food Science lot, the old portion of Oak Lane Community, and the Litton-Reaves Commuter lot.
The paving projects may cause some delay on the roads affected. All paving and sealing will be completed before classes resume this fall.
Ground breaking will take place this summer for Phase II of Virginia Tech’s Hokie Bikeways project, the Cranwell Connection. Virginia Tech received $167,000 for this phase of the Hokie Bikeways project from the federal government’s Transportation Enhancement Grant Program and the project is designed to improve the university’s bicycle-transportation system.
The Cranwell Connection will be a 10-foot-wide asphalt trail, three-eighths of a mile long, linking the Shared Pathway on Washington Street, going past the Cranwell International Center, to the Southgate Drive Huckleberry Trail Spur. A gravel pathway already exists at this location. The trail will also include the installation of lights, signs and new landscaping.