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The Virginia Department of Transportation is now considering turn lanes as an option to enhance safety at the intersection of Centerville and News roads, rather than a roundabout residents opposed during a December public meeting.
In an email to WYDaily, VDOT spokeswoman Brittany McBride wrote the roundabout is “no longer being considered at this time” and an alternative that includes “signalizing the intersection, installing turn lanes, and making design adjustments so that there will be less overall impact to the adjacent property owners” will be presented instead to James City County officials.
During the December meeting, VDOT representatives said a roundabout, compared to building turn lanes and a traffic signal, would be safer, require less right-of-way from nearby properties and cost $510,000 less.
However, some residents, including JCC Board of Supervisors Chairman Michael Hipple (Powhatan), said they did not believe a roundabout would be a good fit for the intersection.
McBride wrote the decision to consider an alternative came after “reviewing the public’s comments provided at the project’s public hearing in December and discussing the feedback with James City County.”
Of the 100 written and oral comments VDOT received from citizens, more than 60 percent expressed opposition to the proposed roundabout.
McBride wrote cost estimates will be different than those presented in December when VDOT brings the alternative before the Board of Supervisors May 10.
Hipple said VDOT’s decision to reconsider the roundabout demonstrates the strength of the collaboration among the Board of Supervisors, county staff and VDOT representatives.
“You can’t always change everything, but there are times that, when you can change it, it makes such an impact on the community and I think that says a lot for our leadership,” Hipple said.
Although he anticipates turn lanes will have less of an effect on residents than a roundabout, he said road modifications are a necessary evil to improve safety.
“You don’t want to ever see something impacting any property owners,” Hipple said. “Sometimes, to make things a little bit safer, it will impact others.”
Some residents had suggested “shaving the hill” at the intersection to improve visibility, but McBride wrote that the option alone “would not address the capacity issues now and in the future” and the new alternative “will provide adequate sight distance for vehicles approaching the signalized intersection from News Road.”