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VDOT to cut wait times at stoplights, improve safety on Route 220

‘I’m interested in any ideas to free up the traffic’

VDOT is planning to improve seven intersections on Route 220 to cut down wait times at stoplights and improve safety.
VDOT is planning to improve seven intersections on Route 220 to cut down wait times at stoplights and improve safety. (WSLS)

ROANOKE, Va. – What if you could spend a little less time waiting for the light to turn green? That’s exactly what the Virginia Department of Transportation is hoping to do for drivers on Route 220.

“I’m interested in any ideas to free up the traffic," said driver Jack Steffe.

“It does get backed up,” said Hardy resident Karen Arsenault.

VDOT wants to change traffic light patterns at seven intersections between Dyer Street in Henry County and to Southern Hills Drive and Valley Avenue at the Roanoke County/Roanoke City border.

Instead of being able to drive straight across Rt. 220, drivers will have to turn left or right, and then make a U-turn if they need to get back to a street or shopping center, which Arsenault worries could be a hassle.

“It would be annoying coming out of one of these stores," said Arsenault.

VDOT spokesperson Jason Bond said the project will cost $16 million, funded by state and federal funding. The project will cut down wait times at traffic lights by 20 percent and reduce crashes by 15 to 20 percent.

Eliminating traffic cutting across Rt. 220 will impact less than one percent of all drivers.

Without these improvements, Bond and local leaders, including members of Roanoke City Council, said the traffic could negatively impact the growth of the region.

“Traffic congestion is expected to constrain future growth and travel along the Route 220 corridor from Roanoke to Martinsville," said Bond. "So this is definitely something that is needed to help facilitate economic development.”

Steffe, like other drivers, said it would be nice to not have to stare at a stoplight, but he fears that traffic might not improve.

“I’d have to see it to believe it," said Steffe.

Construction on the intersections would begin in 2021.

VDOT is looking for public input on the entire project and on each individual intersection. Click here to learn more about the project. You can also click on each individual picture on that main page to give input on each of the seven intersections.

Those intersections include:

  • Southern Hills Drive/Valley Avenue Intersection (City of Roanoke/Roanoke County)
  • Pheasant Ridge Road/Crossbow Circle Intersection (City of Roanoke/Roanoke County)
  • Buck Mountain Road/Stable Lane Intersection (Roanoke County)
  • Clearbrook Village Lane/Indian Grave Road Intersection (Roanoke County)
  • Wirtz Road Intersection (Franklin County)
  • Sontag Road/Cassell Drive Intersection (Franklin County)
  • Dyer Street Intersection (Henry County)

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