New options for Blacksburg intersection upgrade after drivers dislike original plan

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BLACKSBURG, Va. (WDBJ7) Blacksburg is starting over with plans to change a dangerous intersection.

The original design didn't have support from drivers.

There are stop signs, flashing lights, and reduced speed limits at the intersection of North Main Street and route 460 but drivers still feel unsafe.

"It's dangerous," Julie Rosenberger said. "It's a dangerous intersection; a lot of accidents."

It's known as a deadly intersection.

Drivers typically stop then immediately stop again to brace for oncoming traffic at the end of North Main.

VDOT installed warning lights and lowered the speed limit to help.

"Those flashing lights, once you see them you're on top of the intersection," Rosenberger said.

People like Rosenberger who live near the intersection would like to see short term fixes, like moving those lights, until a permanent plan is in place.

There are about four different options for a new traffic pattern.

Representatives from the town and the Virginia Department of Transportation quickly came up with other options after so many people disliked the original plan.

That plan eliminated left turns at the intersection. Those drivers say that plan would hurt the North Main Street economy.

"I think it would drastically drop property values and hurt several businesses down here," Rosenberger said.

Drivers would like to see a grade separated interchange that includes a bridge, ramps, and no dangerous turns. The town says that's an option.

"I think it's necessary," said Blacksburg Mayor Ron Rordam. "When you look at the traffic, how it comes down the mountain, the speed, the severity of accidents ... The best way to tackle the problem is through a grade separated interchange."

The town is revealing those plans at an open house Monday night at the Blacksburg Community Center from 4 p.m. until 7 p.m. Council will pick one option in September.

Drivers say they're hopeful they'll see a better option at that meeting.