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High schooler’s death could lead to changes for busy Roanoke road

Improvements planned for Brandon Avenue from Colonial Ave to Main Street

Brandon Ave safety improvements
Brandon Ave safety improvements

ROANOKE, Va. – A stretch of road that took the life of a high school senior could soon see some big improvements.

In May, Lord Botetourt High School student Kenzie Beyers died after she was hit by a car on Brandon Avenue in Roanoke.

Kenzie Beyers (Beyers family)

“You never know what it’s like to lose a child. I would never wish that on anyone,” said Sandy Beyers, Kenzie’s grandmother.

It’s been seven months since she experienced a heartbreak she’ll never get over.

Kenzie was hit by a car while crossing the road, just down the street from the Towers Shopping Center.

“She looked to the left and she looked to the right and she did not have a chance to look back to the left. She was hit then,” recalled Beyers.

Kenzie’s brain and brain stem were dead and after 11 days In the hospital, her family decided to let her go.

“We know she’s in heaven,” said Beyers.

Roanoke wants to improve safety on Brandon Avenue between Colonial Avenue and Main Street.

Since 2013, there have been at least 182 crashes on that stretch of road.

Of those, pedestrians were injured in 37 and two were deadly crashes.

Roanoke traffic engineer Andrea Garland said that next year, the city is considering repaving the four-lane road to just three or two lanes with a center turning lane and adding bike lanes.

“Our primary goal is to reduce the number of lanes that people have to cross,” said Garland.

Engineers are conducting field tests over the next couple of weeks to see what the traffic flow would be like during peak hours if they reduced the number of lanes.

Lawrence Meiss’ wife works at Kroger and they used to walk across the street to grab lunch, but not anymore.

“We tried it on foot. It’s a little sketchy at times. I got to the point where I just drive over because it’s safer,” explained Meiss.

Beyers said these accidents can be avoided and Kenzie would be happy knowing her story could help save just one person.

“I know that Kenzie is smiling down that she’s saving lives,” said Beyers.

The city wants your opinion about the improvements. You can click this link to fill out a survey from the city of Roanoke about the Brandon Avenue Paving Project, which closes on Dec. 31, 2020.


About the Author:

Lindsey joined the WSLS 10 team as a reporter in February 2019 and is thrilled to call Roanoke her new home!