Virginia Tech 460 entrance, diverging diamond interchange to open next week

By  | 

BLACKSBURG, Va. (WDBJ7) Drivers in and around Blacksburg are getting ready for a big change in their normal commute, centered around the highway entrance to Virginia Tech.

Credit: VDOT

Right now Route 460 and Southgate Drive is a four-way lighted intersection.

The new entrance, which opens next week, features a Hokie stone bridge and a diverging diamond intersection as you get into campus.

Drivers who frequent the Southgate entrance were thrilled about the new way to get into campus from 460.

Nicholas Walker said he uses the entrance 3-4 times per week.

He said, "It definitely should be a lot faster, hopefully it will divert some of the huge traffic that comes on about 5:00 pm, it just gets backed up so heavy."

Erin Fleming, who uses the entrance once per month, added "It's a lot easier to come in on a ramp than having to stop for the light, and it gets really, really backed up, especially around the holidays."

But one question mark is the diverging diamond interchange, which features cars driving on the left side of the road.

Cars coming off the highway from the Prices Fork area go on the left bridge, then criss cross at a lighted intersection heading into campus, and vice-versa with oncoming traffic.

George Sandridge, who uses the entrance 2-3 times per week, said of the intersection, "I've driven through a couple of those before so I'm used to it, but some people might not be so used to it, so that might throw them off."

Regan Kinder, who uses the entrance just once per month, said, "I think it would probably take a little bit of getting used to, definitely, but I don't see a problem with it after it's been established for a little while."

Rebecca Butterworth, who also uses it once per month, added, "I wouldn't call myself a very excellent driver, so I think in a situation where I wasn't really familiar with the layout of the road, I might freak out a little bit."

With thousands using the entrance every day, many are concerned with how long it will take to adjust.

Kiara McGuire, who uses the entrance several times per week explained, "I remember when I got a roundabout in my hometown, and people still don't know how to use it and we've had it for several years. So I think it will take quite a bit of time."

Kiara Ciaramitaro, who uses it 3-4 times per week, added, "I feel like the traffic is definitely going to back up because it's such a new thing so people have to get used to it at first. But at some point I'm hoping it will fix the traffic better the light because the light does backup a lot."

Again the entrance goes into effect next week. V-DOT couldn't answer if there will be extra staff out here for the first few days to help drivers get through.

However, V-DOT's website on this project, available here, has numerous videos, some of which you just saw, to help drivers be ready for their first time through.

Follow @EamonOMearaTV on Twitter and like Eamon O'Meara WDBJ7 on Facebook

Follow @WDBJ7 on Twitter and like WDBJ7 on Facebook