Reconfigured exit ramp planned to relieve congestion at Lynchburg interchange

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LYNCHBURG, Va. (WDBJ7) Merging off the Lynchburg Expressway at Timberlake Road can be an exercise in patience at busy times of the day.

This rendering shows what the reconfigured exit ramp at Timberlake Road will look like following construction.

"It's been a problem for some time," explained Lynchburg City Manager, Kimball Payne, who believes the trouble is coming from two intersections and two stop lights near the expressway's exit ramps.

Vehicles heading in different directions can sometimes bottleneck one another, causing backups on Timberlake and the expressway.

"It is a very high traffic area with turning movements," Payne told WDBJ7. "I think anyone who drives out there when it's backing up gets very, very frustrated."

Engineers have come up with a solution. They want to move one of the exit ramps and eliminate a stop light.

When an upcoming road project is finished, traffic leaving the southbound expressway will be funneled onto Logans Lane with a new roundabout.

Drivers will then approach Timberlake at a "T" intersection, which will line up with Wards Ferry Road.

"At first we wanted to know why? What was the deal and why were they going to do that?" said Donna Reichard, who owns the Hill City House Grille near the proposed construction project.

Reichard's business will have to move to make room for the new exit ramp.

"It's a little emotional, because we put so much sweat equity and money into (our business)," said Reichard, who told WDBJ7 that she views the upcoming move as a positive opportunity.

She's asking customers to help her pick a new location and she plans to use their input during construction.

"Now we can design a building for our audience," Reichard said.

Drivers should see positives, too, according to city leaders.

They've been trying to address traffic at this intersection for a long time and, after exploring several possibilities, they believe the relocated exit ramp will unclog the backups.

"We have other areas with challenges, but this is one that is fixable," said Payne.

The project will go out for bids next spring and will cost around $5.4 million.

The city and the Virginia Department of Transportation are getting money for construction from a $50 million bond sale that closed earlier this month.