Construction begins on Colonial Avenue project to install roundabouts

ROANOKE, Va. – Travelers on Colonial Avenue are going to be facing some different traffic patterns as a $6.2 million project gets underway. 

Each day, 19,000 vehicles travel part of Colonial Avenue near Virginia Western Community College.

"We are designing and building bike lanes, sidewalks and intersection improvements for the corridor between Overland and Winding Way," said Priscilla Cygielnik, project manager for the city of Roanoke.

The improvement project to the corridor along Virginia Western Community College's campus has been in the works for years, but now it is go time. Crews will start by moving utilities underground and upgrading storm drainage; then three roundabouts will be installed at Overland Road, McNeil Drive and Winding Way Road. It's a big undertaking for crews and could create some traffic issues for drivers, so city officials are recommending taking alternate routes if possible. 

"We want to minimize our congestion in the corridor. We want to keep the work zone safe so the fewer people using the corridor the better. If you do travel through the area, just be mindful," said Cygielnik.

While it may be a headache now for Colonial Avenue travelers, city officials say the end result will be worth it -- better traffic flow, more greenery and one major goal.

"To create a destination for the city of Roanoke. We really want VWCC to be highlighted as part of our community," said Cygielnik.

The project is set to last 18 months.