New road improvements coming to two major intersections in Forest

In 2021 VDOT will add two left turning lanes at Route 221 Gravesmill, Gristmill

FOREST, Va. – Mark Knutson is used to traffic because he lived in Los Angeles, but never expected something like this, he says: "At 5 o'clock I'm getting flashbacks of Beverly Hills traffic. I'm just like, this is not right."

Knutson drives through Gravesmill Road and Gristmill Drive every day, to and from work. A drive that should take about 10 minutes but, "I honestly expect it to take about half an hour longer to get to home just because of those turning lanes," Knutson said.

Right now, there is only one turning lane at both Gravesmill Road and Route 221 and Gristmill Road- 221 intersections. In 2021, Virginia Department of Transportation will be adding two left turning lanes at those major intersections, replace traffic lights and add crosswalks.

A project totaling $8.1 million.

"These improvements are intended to relieve congestion for vehicles turning onto Route 221 from Gristmill Drive and Graves Road, especially during peak travel time," Jason Bond, with VDOT Salem District, said.

Then, in a separate project slated to start in 2022, VDOT will add sidewalks along Forest Road.

"This would also include some pedestrian signals and crosswalks," Bond said.

VDOT said construction is still awhile out, but they're on track for both projects. As for Knutson, he's just glad something is being done.

"I think this is really great. I'm looking forward to it. Thank you," Knutson said.

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