Floyd residents give input on design for pedestrian safety changes coming to dangerous intersection

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FLOYD, Va. (WDBJ7) Residents in Floyd County are weighing in on a new design to a dangerous intersection, which will allow pedestrians to cross safely.

The intersection is the only traffic light in Floyd at the crossing of Route 221 and Route 8, or Main Street and Locust Street.

Tragically in December 2016, a 66-year old woman, Monty Leitch, was hit and killed trying to cross the street. But the intersection was already the talk of the town with how many businesses surround it and all the near misses it's had.

Janice Yearout-Patton of Floyd recalled her close call saying, “My hands actually set on top of the hood of the car that just stopped. The people on the other side of the road were already screaming, they thought I was gone.”

John McEnhill, the Executive Director of the Floyd Chamber of Commerce located near the crossing said, “I've had so many near accidents, even with me making direct eye contact with the drivers. Usually it's somebody trying to make a turn.”

So V-DOT is adding crossing lights to the intersection with a design presented to residents in a public hearing Wednesday.

“It will have a dedicated pedestrian phase,” V-DOT Spokesman Jason Bond said. “That means that all traffic will stop both on Route 221 and Route 8 and then pedestrian traffic will be able to move on all legs of the intersection.”

The $1.06 million project will also have lighted signs leading up to the intersection to alert drivers if people are walking in the crosswalks. Pedestrians will press a light before they enter the crosswalk to engage those lights when the crossing cycle comes around.

Rod Ghearing of Floyd County said of that plan, “Putting lights up for the two mid-blocks, particularly the one down on Route 8 where people are coming in a little faster than they should a lot of times down there, I think it's a great idea.”

While many are excited for the project, there are still some concerns and desired changes V-DOT will be reviewing.

Woody Crenshaw of Floyd said, “My suggestion to the engineer was that he needs to real time studies and data collection during the tourist season because that intersection can be very congested.”

Yearout-Patton, who manages the Farmer Supply business located at the intersection, added, “My major concern was the possibility of eliminating the loading dock, the loading zone by the Farmer's Supply because that is the principal location where the businesses on that end of town do all their unloading.”

V-DOT will continue to accept comments and suggestions for the next ten days through e-mail and standard mail.

Email can be sent to jason.patrick@vdot.virginia.gov. Letters can be sent to Jason Patrick at 105 Cambria St. Christiansburg, VA 24073.

Construction is slated to begin sometime during the Summer of 2019. As long as everything goes according to plan the new safety measures at the light should be done by early 2020.

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