VDOT to present concepts for improvements to Route 220 in Roanoke, Franklin and Henry counties

ROANOKE COUNTY, Va. (WDBJ7) VDOT is conducting a new study on ways to improve safety, increase traffic flow and support future growth along Route 220 in Roanoke, Franklin and Henry counties.

The organization wants to show the public some preliminary design concepts in order to get their feedback on what they think is the best way to improve the 220 corridor.

"We have a series of meetings coming up to discuss a study that will look at ways to improve safety, mobility and traffic flow along the 220 corridor from the North Carolina state line up to 419 in Roanoke," Jason Bond, a VDOT spokesperson, said.

One of the most highly congested areas includes the intersections south of the Tanglewood Mall and Route 419 toward the Clearbrook businesses.

"Around rush hour that area backs up pretty much on a daily basis," he said. "We're looking at some ideas of what can be done at some of the intersections, some minor improvements. Specifically, we're looking at some innovative concepts for how traffic can flow better at those intersections."

Some of those innovative concepts include changing traffic patterns to decrease the number of traffic light changes.

"The fewer phases that actually helps the intersection flow better," Bond said. "It eliminates wait time, particularly on the main line."

For example, one proposal is called an R-Cut. It's for intersections like the one at Franklin Rd. and Crossbow Cir. in Roanoke County that doesn't have a high demand to cross all four lanes of 220.

Instead of stopping 220 traffic, an R-Cut would require drivers coming from the side streets who want to turn left or go straight to instead turn right and then make a u-turn.

"That actually helps with the traffic flow, especially intersections where there isn't as many high volume traffic movements on those side streets that feed into the intersection," Bond said.

VDOT explained that they've already improved the coordination of traffic signals to move traffic along, but more still needs to be done to support in the increase of businesses in the area. And that's what they'll be presenting at a series of meetings.

"Now these concepts are really sort of the building blocks for future projects," Bond said. "These ideas could be pursued by planning organizations or local governments to submit funding applications to receive money to advance them to construction."

Right now, only a few of these projects actually have funding. The concepts that are being proposed have both short and long term projections.

Thursday's meeting at 4:30 p.m. will be at Clearbrook Elementary.

There will be two additional meetings next week:
• Wednesday, Nov.13, from 5-7 p.m. at the Essig Recreation Center located at 295 Technology Drive in Rocky Mount.
• Thursday, Nov. 14, from 4:30-6:30 p.m. at the Henry County Administration Building located at 3300 Kings Mountain Road in Martinsville.

Written comments will be accepted at the meeting or can be submitted by November 29, 2019, to Michael Gray, 731 Harrison Avenue, Salem, VA 24153.

Comments also can be emailed to Michael.Gray@vdot.virginia.gov. Please reference "Route 220 Preservation and Improvement Plan" in the subject heading.