BLACKSBURG, Va. -

A state board has approved the location for a $47 million traffic project in Blacksburg.

The Commonwealth Transportation Board approved the location of the Southgate Connector in the Town of Blacksburg. The $46.7 million project will improve access to Virginia Tech’s main entrance. The plan is to build an interchange located less than a half-mile south of the current intersection.

“This project has long been a regional priority to improve safety and ease heavy traffic flow to and from the gateway of Virginia Tech,” Transportation Secretary and CTB Chairman Sean T. Connaughton wrote in a news release. “A new interchange would also improve accessibility and mobility to and within employment centers.”

The new interchange would replace the signalized intersection at Route 460 and Southgate Drive at the entrance to Virginia Tech with a “diverging diamond” interchange, according to VDOT. The diverging diamond interchange would eliminate the intersection at the Route 460 Bypass in Blacksburg. The project would also include a new bridge over Route 460. Parts of Southgate Drive and the Huckleberry Trail would be moved.

Here is the news release from VDOT:

RICHMOND— The Commonwealth Transportation Board (CTB) at its July 17 meeting in Norfolk has approved the location for the Southgate Connector in the Town of Blacksburg. The $46.7 million project would improve access to the primary entrance of Virginia Tech by building an interchange located less than a half-mile south of the existing intersection.

“This project has long been a regional priority to improve safety and ease heavy traffic flow to and from the gateway of Virginia Tech,” said Transportation Secretary and CTB Chairman Sean T. Connaughton. “A new interchange would also improve accessibility and mobility to and within employment centers.”

The new interchange would replace the signalized intersection at Route 460 and Southgate Drive at the entrance to Virginia Tech with a diverging diamond interchange. This would eliminate the at-grade intersection on the Route 460 Bypass on Blacksburg. The project would also include a new bridge over Route 460. Portions of Southgate Drive and Huckleberry Trail would be relocated and improved as well.

Following the CTB’s approval, the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) will revise the environmental assessment for the project and send the revised document to the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA). VDOT will work with FHWA to finalize the environmental study.

If approved by FHWA, VDOT will move forward with producing detailed design plans which will include a design public hearing in fall 2013.

For more information, go to www.virginiadot.org.