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Keysville roundabout is on track

Keysville is just two years away from a roundabout the VDOT says will keep traffic moving safely.

“The project is still in development and is on time and on budget,” VDOT Communications Manager Paula K. Jones said.

According to Jones, construction is set to begin in early 2023.

In 2017 the proposed $5.2 million roundabout at the intersection of Routes 15 and U.S. 360 made it through the second round of scoring under the new SMART SCALE prioritization process used by the state’s Commonwealth Transportation Board (CTB).

Funding includes both state and federal sources.

Following a VDOT virtual public hearing in November 2020 to hear comments and concerns, a safety issue was brought into question that led VDOT engineers to redesign a portion of the roundabout.

“The primary issue was addressing a safety concern by eliminating a high-speed conflict point by removing the Route 15 southbound ramp onto 360 westbound,” Jones said. “That traffic would access 360 westbound by the Route 15 northbound ramp.”

According to County Administrator Dan Witt, VDOT has sketched a roundabout redesign utilizing the existing budget and right-of-way.

Witt said the new design directs traffic traveling on Route 15 South into the roundabout, then take the first exit to head west on Route 360.

“The one existing Route 360 West ramp would be eliminated,” Witt said. “For safety purposes, this would eliminate a high-speed conflict point but add an additional low-speed conflict point within the roundabout.”

According to transportation documents, the current intersection has a major road (two-way, not divided) as well as an off-ramp and an entrance leading to an off-ramp all connecting at a three approach stop-sign intersection that is in a grade curve,” county leaders said in the application to state transportation officials. “Sight-distance, as well as traffic flow currently contributes to driver error. This project will replace the stop-sign intersection with a roundabout to allow for a more fluid entrance and exit to the off-ramps as well as take the sight-distance issue out of the equation. This project will create a safer intersection. The Charlotte County Industrial Park is along the route of this project, and the Heartland Business Park is adjacent to the project area.”

VDOT said due to safety concerns and accident history, the project will improve the intersection with a roundabout concept. The most recent three years of available crash data, from May 1, 2013, to April 30, 2016, reveals that there have been five reported crashes along Route 15, from Route 820 (Pinecrest Road) to Route 712 (Horseshoe Bend Road), a distance of 0.66 miles. All five crashes were angle crashes.

Eight injuries and $38,000 in property damages resulted from the five crashes.