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The Virginia Department of Transportation has released more information on the proposed widening of Longhill Road and the reconfiguration of several intersections after a public hearing at LaFayette High School Tuesday.
According to preliminary plans, VDOT will reconfigure the intersection of Longhill Road and Williamsburg Plantation Drive into a roundabout. The intersection of Old Towne Road and Longhill Road will also be expanded to include extra turn lanes.
The proposal also calls for the addition of a multi-purpose trail, crosswalks, bus pull-off areas, and other improvements for pedestrians and bicyclists.
VDOT spokesperson Brittany McBride released a video simulation of the proposed changes and the entire project application Thursday, after dozens of residents attended crowded hearing about the project Tuesday night.
“When I was on the [school] board for 10 years, the number one priority I had was the Longhill Road situation,” said former Williamsburg-James City County school board member Joe Fuentes. “One of my big things was that we’ve had kids get hurt along Longhill Road, walking. The one thing I wanted to point out, this plan gets the multipurpose trail to the Robert Hornsby bridge. I’m happy to see this, and the next priority to me would be to connect it to the rec center.”
According to a VDOT project pamphlet distributed at the meeting, traffic will be maintained with a minimum of a single lane in each direction throughout the duration of construction and access will be maintained for local businesses and residences while roadwork is underway.
Jean Paltrow, a congregant of the King of Glory Lutheran Church on Longhill Road, thought the addition of a roundabout would ease area traffic.
“I think it works for us,” Partlow said. “This is not completed. They’re still taking suggestions, and so we’re in dialogue with them to make sure the traffic pattern works for us.”
According to the James City County Police Department, the area has seen 79 vehicles involved in accidents between 2013-2015, the most recent data period. The three-year average property damage amount from those accidents is $47,333.
James City County Administrator Bryan Hill expressed his satisfaction with the project plans and design. According to VDOT, the project won’t cost James City County a dime, as it will be completely funded by state and federal funds.
“We have traffic problems here,” Hill said. “We’re trying to find solutions to the traffic woes in James City County. Anything we can do to get traffic moving in James City County is a benefit to our residents.”
VDOT is accepting public comment until Dec. 16. The public comment form can be found here. A full project proposal is available here.