North Main Street at Route 460 - Blacksburg
Project at a Glance
Late 2018/Early 2019
Est Completion Date
Lengths and Limits
0.9 mile, from 0.3 Mile South of North Main to 0.6 Mile North of North Main Street
The primary purpose of the project is to enhance safety by constructing a restricted crossing U-turn (R-CUT) along Route 460 at the intersection of North Main Street and Farmingdale Lane.
The new design should improve safety by eliminating left turns, the primary turning movement where crashes have occurred at this intersection.
The improvements include the following:
- Restricting left turns from North Main Street onto eastbound Route 460
- Restricting left turn movements from Farmingdale Lane onto westbound Route 460
- Reconfiguring the right turn from North Main onto westbound Route 460 to provide better sight distance and an extended merge lane
- Constructing a new crossover east of North Main Street to allow U-turns for passenger vehicles
- Enhancing the existing crossover at Fortress Drive
- Improving the right turn lane from westbound Route 460 onto North Main Street
Depending on the availability of funding, the connection of Bishop Road to Route 460 also may be closed as part of this project.
As of 2016, approximately 15,700 on Route 460 pass through this intersection which is projected to increase to 18,700 by the year 2040.
The project is currently in design with construction expected to begin in late 2018 or early 2019. Construction is expected to be completed in late 2019.
Frequently Asked Questions
How does the R-CUT intersection improve safety?
The majority of crashes at the intersection are left turn crashes. The R-CUT improves safety at the intersection by:
- Reducing conflict points from 40 to 16 at the intersection
- Shortening the left turn crossing distance for turns from Route 460 onto North Main Street
- Redirecting left turns and through movements from North Main and Farmingdale Lane to make right turns and U-turns
- Providing a left turn lane for left turns from Route 460 onto Farmingdale Lane.
Why consider closing off the connection of Bishop Road to Route 460?
Previous feedback from some Bishop Road residents supported closing the connection due to concerns with cut-through traffic on this roadway. Closing this connection will allow construction of an additional 170 feet of acceleration lane for vehicles turning right from North Main Street onto westbound Route 460. The longer acceleration will allow more time for vehicles to merge onto Route 460. Closing this access point also will eliminate the possibility of crashes between vehicles merging onto and off of Route 460 at this location.
How will you determine if you will close the Bishop Road and Route 460 intersection?
If there is public support and VDOT can identify funds in the project budget once the final plans and cost estimates have been developed, we will close the intersection. The closure is estimated to cost approximately $350,000 and the project budget is $3.3 million.
How will traffic be affected during construction?
Drivers can expect lane closures on Route 460 and North Main Street and that some turning movements will be restricted at times. VDOT will make every effort to schedule the majority of lane closures during off peak travel times and/or during the summer months when school is out of session.
When will construction start and be finished?
VDOT plans for construction to start in late 2018 or early 2019. Completion is expected to be complete by late 2019.
How did the flashing beacons that were installed on Route 460 impact safety at this intersection?
The flashers were activated in December 2014 and initial reporting indicates crashes have decreased and have been less severe. Despite this improvement, the crash and injury rates for the intersection remain higher than the statewide averages for similar roadways. Additionally, mitigations from signs tend to diminish over time as drivers become more accustomed to them.
Besides the R-CUT, what other alternatives were considered?
The design public hearing is being held to receive input on potential modifications to the R-CUT design before it is finalized.
Although other alternatives were previously considered, including full access interchange options, and a “Displaced Left” option, only the R-CUT and Displaced Left options can be constructed within the available funding allocated by the Commonwealth Transportation Board (CTB). The town decided to move forward with the R-CUT in lieu of the Displaced Left option.
How did we get to this point in the process?
- December 2014 – Flashers installed at intersection
- Winter/Spring 2015 - VDOT, in coordination with Town of Blacksburg staff, developed the R-CUT concept
- Fall 2015 – The town submitted the R-CUT project for funding consideration by the CTB through the Commonwealth’s SMART SCALE process.
- Spring 2016 – The CTB funded the R-CUT project for the requested amount of $3.3 million.
- Spring to Fall 2016 – At the town’s request, VDOT worked with the town to develop full access interchange alternatives.
- Fall 2016 – The town submitted a SMART SCALE application for a full access interchange at an estimated cost of $38 million and requested that the CTB cancel the R-CUT project.
- Winter 2017 – The new interchange concept was screened out and not scored through SMART SCALE as it was deemed ineligible because an existing project (R-CUT) that meets the same need had previously been selected in the earlier round of SMART SCALE.
- February 2017 – VDOT and local CTB members met with town staff and three citizen representatives to discuss potential alternatives to the R-CUT that would fit within the available budget.
- March 2017 – VDOT presented town council with the Displaced Left option that had similar safety benefits to the R-CUT and could be constructed within the existing budget.
- March 2017 – Town Council voted to move forward with the R-CUT project and requested that the new U-turn be included east of Farmingdale Lane and improvements to the existing U-turn at Fortress Drive be included in the project.
- March to August 2017 – VDOT has conducted field surveys and preliminary designs of the R-CUT concept.
- August 31, 2017 – Public hearing to receive input on the R-CUT design
Will trucks wanting to go eastbound on Route 460 be routed through Brush Mountain Estates in order to get turned around?
Trucks on North Main Street wanting to get on eastbound Route 460 towards Christiansburg can take alternative routes through the Town to access the existing Tom’s Creek interchange. Although there is currently nothing in place restricting trucks from using Brush Mountain Estates to get turned around, this will not be signed as an alternative route, and the majority of these vehicles are expected to access Route 460 through the Tom’s Creek interchange.
Presentation to Blacksburg Town Council
March 21, 2017 (Reformatted 2017)
VDOT held a design public hearing on the project on Thursday, August 31.