Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) Resident Engineer Joe DeNunzio updated the Greene County Board of Supervisors about numerous projects under way in the county at its regular meeting Tuesday, Aug. 27.
After two fatal crashes at the intersection of Greenecroft Boulevard and U.S. Route 33 earlier this year, VDOT performed an engineering study on how to make the intersection safer.
“We collected traffic-turning movements at the intersection and we reviewed three years of crash data out there,” DeNunzio said.
Most of the short-term recommendations from the study have already been completed for the intersection. VDOT has made improvements, including grading back the median and moving stop bars to allow for better sight distances. The only one is adding stop signs to the lanes in the median, instead of only a white stop bar on the road.
The study did recommend mowing to keep vegetation clear in that area.
“The long-term solution is actually very similar to the conversation we had two weeks ago here. If you remember one of the huge benefits of innovative intersections in general is reducing or removing the severe crashes, the angle [T-bone] collisions, which is the biggest advantage,” he said. “The two fatal crashes that we had at this intersection earlier this year were both angle collisions. Both were from vehicles coming out of Greenecroft Boulevard, crossing to the median and being struck by vehicles in the left-hand land on Route 33 eastbound traffic.”
Removing the side-angle collision opportunity, DeNunzio said, decreases chances for those most serious crashes by 87%.
DeNunzio noted that the sight distance looking to the west is 800 feet, which longer than required for Route 33 at the posted speed.
Stop signs for the median have been requested and should be installed soon.
Route 670 Connector
The $5 million Route 670 connector road is moving forward to the design phase after a public hearing held earlier this year.
DeNunzio told supervisors he recommends build option alternative B for the connector road, which has an alternative intersection where the road connects to Preddy Creek Road.
“It’s actually the safest in my opinion,” he said.
The proposed road, which will be two lanes, is designed to connect U.S. Route 29 to Preddy Creek Road south of Matthew Mill Road in Ruckersville.
Alternative B proposes a realignment of Route 670 to provide direct access to Route 29, about 1,200 feet south of the light at Matthew Mill Road.
He said turning the road toward Route 29 reduces conflict points between automobiles. DeNunzio said he thinks this option will divert the traffic from Preddy Creek Road to turn onto the Route 670 connector road to get to Route 29, creating less traffic turning left onto southbound Route 29 from Matthew Mill Road.
“Am I remembering correctly that alternative A does not allow for much more density than is already on Preddy Creek Road, while this alternative is the better option for additional density traffic on that road?” Ruckersville Supervisor Michelle Flynn asked.
Alternative A created a four-way stop at the intersection of Autumn Oaks and Preddy Creek roads.
“To get the same amount of volume or same amount of efficiency you would have to add left turn lanes,” DeNunzio said.
Greene received Smart Scale funding from the state in 2016 to construct the road. Construction is expected to begin in early 2022 and finish in early 2023.
The Route 29/33 intersection improvement project hit a milestone in August as right-of-way negotiations began. The $10.1 million project is expected to begin construction winter 2022.
“We do have two years scheduled for right away due to the number of negotiations we have, but there are some opportunities to hopefully lower that time frame and advance the project a little bit quicker, which we are pursuing,” DeNunzio told the board.
The project will widen U.S. Route 33 on both sides of U.S. Route 29. Route 33 will have two left lanes for traffic turning onto southbound U.S. 29 from the east and an additional through lane for westbound U.S. 33 traffic over U.S. 29. On the west side of U.S. 29, Route 33 will be widened to provide two right turn lanes for traffic turning onto southbound Route 29, at the Exxon. The eastern side will also include bicycle lanes and a concrete sidewalk, according to VDOT. Construction is expected to take about one year.
To reduce the opportunity for angle or “TBone” crashes, the project will also include a raised median along Route 33 between Route 29 and Moore Road on Route 33 east. There will also be a minor re-alignment of Moore Road and Jennings Loop to provide a single full-access intersection, according to the project specifications from VDOT.
Preddy Creek Road
The culvert replacement along Preddy Creek Road is moving forward, DeNunzio said. The start date is scheduled for April 2020.
“We have approval from both landowners on each side to install guardrails over the culvert,” DeNunzio said.
In 2017 a Rochelle man was killed when the car he was driving slipped on the ice around that sharp curve and went into the creek.
There is a water line that goes over the culvert, DeNunzio said.
“We have been working with [Rapidan Service Authority],” he said. “We bought an easement to relocate the water line and they currently have an application for a permit from the VMRC, the Virginia Marine Resources Commission, to excavate underneath the creek there and get the water line there. They believe that after they get that permission, three weeks time frame, they can start that work. Assuming the water line location goes smoothly, we will still be able to make that April 2020 start date.”
Paving of Rosebrook Road was postponed last year due to the high damage throughout the district caused by the May 31 flooding, but will be back on schedule to be paved next month. The next rural rustic road paving project is Beazley Road for next year.