CHRISTIANSBURG, Va. (WDBJ7) Big changes are coming to a busy and often complicated intersection in Christiansburg. Drivers got a first look at the proposed plans where North Franklin Street meets Cambria Street Thursday night.
The changes are coming to not only improve driver and pedestrian safety, but reduce congestion.
It's the main channel for traffic between downtown Christiansburg and the town's main shopping and dining centers. But attempt to make a turn or pass through this intersection during rush hour and prepare for traffic and a few confused drivers. Drivers complain.
"There has been a fatality there," said Wayne Nelson, the engineering director for Christiansburg. "Right now it's the congestion, the backup ."
Currently drivers exiting 460 bypass join drivers on North Franklin Street parallel facing four traffic lights, the two on the left giving different directions than the two on the right. Drivers turning right from the extra ramp have to pass in front of stopped traffic to get on Cambria.
"When you come off the bypass there's only one lane you can effectively be in to pass through the intersection to the south. This project will dedicate two through lanes instead of one," Nelson said.
Christiansburg created a plan to fix to the problem, by combining traffic exiting route 460 bypass and North Franklin Street before the intersection with Cambria. An additional traffic light and intersection with the exit ramp is projected to distribute traffic more efficiently.
"It will be redesigned and instead of a five-legged intersection it will be your traditional four-legged intersection," Nelson said.
Part of North Franklin also will be demolished. Within the same project, access into a grocery store and nearby businesses and restaurants will change.
This project is expected to cost nearly eight and a half million dollars. Construction won't start until this time next year.