Blacksburg voices more concerns over Route 460-N. Main St. plans

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BLACKSBURG, Va. (WDBJ7) People in Blacksburg were voicing their thoughts on the plan to redo the intersection at Route 460 and North Main Street Thursday night.

It's considered the 9th most dangerous intersection in the Salem VDOT area.

The somewhat controversial plan includes a restricted crossing U-Turn, that fits the $3.3 million budget.

That's instead of a more expensive project for a grade separated interchange that would have cost $38 million, and was not approved by the Commonwealth Transportation Board.

Once the changes are made, left turns onto 460 won't be possible, and turns onto North Main will be more controlled.

Then U-Turns will be put in to make up for the lack of left turn.

Many of all the people at the public hearing voiced a common concern.

Patricia Tracey from Montgomery County, "They are just moving the problem outside the town into the county, and no one ever really polled the county. We're the ones who are going to suffer."

VDOT Spokesman Jason Bond responded, "You should see less vehicles using this particular stretch of road, because they'll have and alternative to use Tom's Creek to access Route 460."

Then the people who live on Fortress Lane, where one U-Turn will go have concerns of safety of their own.

Sandra Jackson who lives on the street said, "The turn lane to make the U-Turn on Fortress is only three cars long and I don't think that's long enough."

Neighbor Tina Witcher added, "If I show up to that intersection and then eight cars get into that turn lane one after another, I'm suddenly ninth in line. People are going to come barreling around that corner and there might be stopped traffic there."

Bond answered that concern saying, "Our traffic analysis shows that the storage there are those crossovers will be adequate to handle the volumes of traffic."

Along with VDOT to answer questions, a member of Town Council was listening to people's thoughts Thursday night.

"Nobody likes this project, Town Council doesn't either, but it's the best of the bad alternatives right now," Anderson said. "We just didn't have the money for the grade separated interchange."

The project isn't up for debate, but VDOT still wants some input.

Bond explained, "Really what we want to hear from folks tonight is input on that concept, some tweaks, some possible small modifications that could be made to that concept."

The main question from VDOT surrounds nearby Bishop Road.

It may stay open, or may be closed to 460 to allow the merging lane from North Main Street to be longer.

No matter the decisions, construction begins late 2018 or early 2019 and will be completed by late 2019.