JAMES CITY COUNTY — The James City County (JCC) Board of Supervisors heard updates on the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT)’s Project Pipeline and efforts to reduce traffic congestion on Route 199.
Chad Tucker, program manager with Virginia’s Office of Intermodal Planning and Investment, presented the information during the Board’s business meeting on Tuesday, April 26.
In March, the Williamsburg and JCC communities were asked to give feedback in a study assessing potential operational and safety improvements along Humelsine Parkway (Route 199), between Brookwood Drive and John Tyler Highway (Route 5).
The study was part of the new program, Project Pipeline, which was created by the Commonwealth Transportation Board (CTB).
The purpose of Project Pipeline is to identify cost-effective solutions to multimodal transportation needs in Virginia and provide technical assistance and support to local governments.
Project Pipeline is spearheaded by Virginia’s Office of Intermodal Planning and Investment, in collaboration with VDOT and the Department of Rail and Public Transportation (DRPT).
The Commonwealth is partnering with JCC, the City of Williamsburg, the Hampton Roads Transportation Planning Organization and consultant Kimley-Horn to develop targeted improvements for the Route 199 Project Pipeline Study.
The study is intended to minimize impacts to the community and address priority needs in a cost-effective way, with a focus on improving bicycle access, capacity preservation along the corridor, congestion mitigation, improving pedestrian access across 199 and improving safety along the corridor.
Tucker noted that there have been around 113 injury crashes that have occurred in the three intersections in the last five years.
In regards to when congestion occurs, Tucker said that morning speeds start up over 40 miles an hour and steadily decline throughout the day until about 5 or 5:30 p.m. on Route 199.
“There’s never a point after the 8 a.m. peak where the speeds really recover,” Tucker said.
The project will determine how to make both eastbound and westbound more efficient in the morning and evening, including the existing signals.
In Phase 1, which took place between August and September 2021, the project covered identifying the problem and and brainstorm alternatives, while Phase 2, which took place from October 2021 through March 2022, consisted of stakeholder and community engagement and feedback.
While Phase 3 of the project will consist of the final refinement and cost estimation, Tucker said that it has been determined to extend Phase 2 to provide more opportunity for public engagement and feedback.
Through the MetroQuest survey, which was completed by nearly 3,000 people in March, Tucker said that it was determined that more in-person meetings with the surrounding community is needed, as well as to work to develop an improvement strategy supported by the community.