For those curious about the status of two traffic roundabout construction projects in the Crozet area, the waiting is the hardest part.
A roundabout for the Rt. 240/250 intersection was funded through the Highway Safety Improvement Program three years ago. The plan was to begin work on the roundabout in 2021 after the Crozet Avenue bridge replacement work was complete, but the bridge work was not started until this past summer. Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) officials reported in March that the roundabout project would go to advertising within this calendar year and construction would begin by the end of 2022.
That timetable has shifted again, according to VDOT District Project Management Engineer Harold Jones. “The Rt. 240/250 roundabout project has not yet been advertised for bids,” he said. “I anticipate that will be occurring next fall [in 2023], after right of way and utilities issues are addressed. I expect the project construction to begin in early 2024 and run for one season, to end by about November 2024.” Jones said that VDOT is still considering a proposed detour for Rt. 680 (Browns Gap Turnpike) during construction. Rt. 680 would be closed to through traffic between Rt. 250 and Rt. 802 for approximately two months, and traffic would be rerouted via Rt. 240.
Another roundabout at the intersection of Rt. 151/250 is approximately 65% complete and should be finished by February, according to Jones. “I expect that the contractor will have the intersection to a point where traffic will be placed into the roundabout configuration next month, and will continue working on final portions of the project afterwards.”
Bonus update: As for the Eastern Avenue connector that will span Lickinghole Creek from Rt. 250/Cory Farms up to Eastern Avenue in Westhall, the good news is that the project has been awarded $8.1 million in state revenue sharing funds. The bad news is that those funds, combined with the $12 million already committed by Albemarle county for the project, still leave about a $4m shortfall. Though VDOT has the connector slated for construction in 2027 on its online tracker, further delays are likely as county staff continue work to map a viable path forward.
People using the road make mistakes (like speeding, running stop signs and red lights, turning left in front of oncoming traffic), always have and always will. Crashes will always be with us, but they need not result in fatalities or serious injury.
Modern roundabouts are the safest form of intersection in the world – the intersection type with the lowest risk of fatal or serious injury crashes – (much more so than comparable signals). Modern roundabouts require a change in speed and alter the geometry of one of the most dangerous parts of the system – intersections. The reduction in speed to about 20 mph and sideswipe geometry mean that, when a crash does happen at a modern roundabout, you might need a tow truck, but rarely an ambulance. Visit the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety or FHWA for modern roundabout FAQs and safety facts.