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Author Topic: US 121 and US 460/Corridor Q  (Read 8085 times)

74/171FAN

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US 121 and US 460/Corridor Q
« on: February 27, 2014, 02:29:24 PM »

The  US 460/Corridor Q  bridge near the VA-KY border is currently considered the top bridge project in the country according to Roads and Bridges Magazine.

The first link is from VDOT's website, but the second is from the Roads and Bridges Magazine's website itself.
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hbelkins

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Re: US 460 (Corridor Q)
« Reply #1 on: February 27, 2014, 09:51:23 PM »

Quote
The site is not just far away from any significant population center, it is 40 miles from the nearest town

Not true. Elkhorn City is only about five miles or so away by highway. Yes, it's a small town, but it's a town. Grundy is also closer than 40 miles by road.
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74/171FAN

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Re: US 460 (Corridor Q)
« Reply #2 on: February 27, 2014, 10:24:12 PM »

Quote
The site is not just far away from any significant population center, it is 40 miles from the nearest town

Not true. Elkhorn City is only about five miles or so away by highway. Yes, it's a small town, but it's a town. Grundy is also closer than 40 miles by road.

Haysi (where the car I was in during the Pikeville meet ended up before taking VA 83 east back to Grundy) is not that far away either.  The population is less than Elkhorn City, but it is an incorporated town though.
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US 121 and US 460/Corr Q Update
« Reply #3 on: May 19, 2014, 12:46:14 PM »

The Virginia CTB gave a briefing at their May meeting on the status of the segments of US 121 and relocated US 460 in Southwestern Virginia.

It's gonna be a while before there is a finished product...

The entirety of the relocated US 460 will finish first: summer 2021.  One small segment is to be finished in 2015 though.
US 121 Coalfields Expwy has segments still with no timelines whatsoever...

http://www.ctb.virginia.gov/resources/2014/may/pres/Presentation_Agenda_Item_3.pdf

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74/171FAN

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Re: US 121 and US 460/Corridor Q
« Reply #4 on: May 19, 2014, 02:06:35 PM »

Merged topics due to the similar subjects of US 460 (Corridor Q).

-Mark
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cpzilliacus

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Re: US 121 and US 460/Corridor Q
« Reply #5 on: May 20, 2014, 11:14:48 AM »

Quote
The site is not just far away from any significant population center, it is 40 miles from the nearest town

Not true. Elkhorn City is only about five miles or so away by highway. Yes, it's a small town, but it's a town. Grundy is also closer than 40 miles by road.

We have plenty of highways in the United States that are more than 40 miles from the nearest city or town.  That does not reduce the value of highway infrastructure. 

And like it or not, the ADHS corridors (and I mean all of them) are needed and are an appropriate use of federal tax dollars.
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seicer

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Re: US 121 and US 460/Corridor Q
« Reply #6 on: May 20, 2014, 11:28:15 AM »

While I admire the ADHS's ability to reduce travel times, they really have not added sustainable jobs to a region that is still bleeding them: http://www.dailyyonder.com/highways-promise-bypasses-appalachia/2012/06/18/4109

There are many factors to that, partially due to the coal industry's cyclical nature: the growth of natural gas, the decline in coal mining due to minuscule yields; the rural nature of the region; the lack of population centers (Elkhorn City will never be a job magnet and neither will other towns, like Grundy or Paintsville); the lack of available land that is preferable to manufacturers (the majority of industrial sites in Kentucky are either entirely vacant or significantly depressed).

Just building roads and industrial parks won't solve the underlying issue.
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cpzilliacus

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Re: US 121 and US 460/Corridor Q
« Reply #7 on: May 20, 2014, 11:35:37 AM »

While I admire the ADHS's ability to reduce travel times, they really have not added sustainable jobs to a region that is still bleeding them: http://www.dailyyonder.com/highways-promise-bypasses-appalachia/2012/06/18/4109

There are many factors to that, partially due to the coal industry's cyclical nature: the growth of natural gas, the decline in coal mining due to minuscule yields; the rural nature of the region; the lack of population centers (Elkhorn City will never be a job magnet and neither will other towns, like Grundy or Paintsville); the lack of available land that is preferable to manufacturers (the majority of industrial sites in Kentucky are either entirely vacant or significantly depressed).

Just building roads and industrial parks won't solve the underlying issue.

I agree.

But without the better highways in place, these counties will likely never have a chance to recover in any way.

So (at least from my point of view) the highways are a prerequisite to any additional forms of economic development.
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Re: US 121 and US 460/Corridor Q
« Reply #8 on: May 21, 2014, 12:28:39 AM »

I'd like to see the Coalfields built in my lifetime. But I doubt it. I've been all up and down those roads and they have a tough task ahead of them.


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Re: US 121 and US 460/Corridor Q
« Reply #9 on: May 21, 2014, 10:12:32 PM »

I'd like to see the Coalfields built in my lifetime. But I doubt it. I've been all up and down those roads and they have a tough task ahead of them.

Most of the ADHS corridors run though challenging terrain. 

Certainly the two that I know best (E and H) do (or, in the case of H, will).

But isn't that one of the compelling reasons for building them?
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74/171FAN

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Re: US 121 and US 460/Corridor Q
« Reply #10 on: May 04, 2016, 04:27:48 PM »

Not related to the construction farther west on the corridor, but it seems that VDOT and the town of Blacksburg do not agree on whether or not an interchange is feasible where US 460 Business meets US 460 north of Blacksburg.

I barely ever traveled through this intersection while at Virginia Tech, but I never really noticed this intersection to be an issue outside of safety concerns.
« Last Edit: May 07, 2016, 11:29:22 PM by 74/171FAN »
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Thing 342

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Re: US 121 and US 460/Corridor Q
« Reply #11 on: May 07, 2016, 11:10:27 PM »

Not related to the construction farther west on the corridor, but it seems that VDOT and the town of Blacksburg do not agree on whether or not an interchange at where US 460 Business meets US 460 north of Blacksburg.

I barely ever traveled through this intersection while at Virginia Tech, but I never really noticed this intersection to be an issue outside of safety concerns.

The intersection is not a traffic issue itself (except perhaps on football days, but where isn't there a traffic issue then?), but I believe the town wants an interchange specifically to address those safety concerns, which includes really poor visibility for those turning off of North Main onto the bypass. Otherwise, an interchange seems like overkill. However, VDOT's current plans for the intersection involve removing the left-turn movement from North Main, meaning that traffic wishing to head east on 460 would have to drive west most of the way up the ridge before being able to turn around, so i feel like neither is a particularly satisfying resolution. Perhaps a lighted intersection with jughandles might work?
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VTGoose

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Re: US 121 and US 460/Corridor Q
« Reply #12 on: May 18, 2016, 05:29:28 AM »


The intersection is not a traffic issue itself (except perhaps on football days, but where isn't there a traffic issue then?), but I believe the town wants an interchange specifically to address those safety concerns, which includes really poor visibility for those turning off of North Main onto the bypass. Otherwise, an interchange seems like overkill. However, VDOT's current plans for the intersection involve removing the left-turn movement from North Main, meaning that traffic wishing to head east on 460 would have to drive west most of the way up the ridge before being able to turn around, so i feel like neither is a particularly satisfying resolution. Perhaps a lighted intersection with jughandles might work?

The concern from residents is that the band-aid fix of eliminating left turns at a bad intersection will have a positive effect on reducing accidents, which is good -- but by reducing accidents at a bad intersection, the scoring VDOT uses to spend money will be impacted to the point that a better fix (an interchange) won't be seen as needed. There is an idea that if money is to be spent, it should be put toward doing the right thing and not just spending the minimum on an "easy" solution.

The 460 bypass around Blacksburg was built in the late '60s and was a bit of an anomaly in that what intersections there are were at grade (with plans to build interchanges "later"). Apparently no one thought the town and Virginia Tech would grow the way it did, so the necessary interchanges weren't built at the time. It wasn't until 10 years later that the traffic light at Prices Fork Road was removed when an overpass and ramps were built. It took a number of bad wrecks and several deaths to get the interchange at Toms Creek Rd. 10-15 years later. The major entrance to the Virginia Tech campus, Southgate Drive, did get a traffic light and construction is finally underway to convert this bad intersection to an interchange. The south end where it merged into S. Main St. was "fixed" about 10 years ago when the "connect the bypasses" project was built to provide a full limited-access highway between Blacksburg and I-81 at Christiansburg.

To many in Richmond and Northern Virginia, the state ends somewhere west of Charlottesville (like Staunton) while to others Roanoke is the last piece of civilization and anything beyond there is terra incognito.

Bruce in Blacksburg
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Re: US 121 and US 460/Corridor Q
« Reply #13 on: May 18, 2016, 07:19:13 AM »

Quote
To many in Richmond and Northern Virginia, the state ends somewhere west of Charlottesville (like Staunton) while to others Roanoke is the last piece of civilization and anything beyond there is terra incognito.

(speaking from experience) To many in Northern Virginia, they are very well aware that there is state beyond Roanoke, as the financial tax straws tend to drain in a southwestward direction...
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Re: US 121 and US 460/Corridor Q
« Reply #14 on: May 18, 2016, 10:18:02 AM »

(speaking from experience) To many in Northern Virginia, they are very well aware that there is state beyond Roanoke, as the financial tax straws tend to drain in a southwestward direction...

Actually, that should read "some" instead of "many." Years ago when middle son was playing travel soccer, we had a state cup game scheduled for Manassas that was rained out. When the manager for the other team contacted our manager about a reschedule, she said, "It shouldn't be a problem should it? Blacksburg is just on the other side of Harrisonburg, right?" Well, yeah, relative to Memphis, Blacksburg and Harrisonburg are not that far apart.
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Re: US 121 and US 460/Corridor Q
« Reply #15 on: May 18, 2016, 11:48:25 AM »

Time is relative.  When you live in a suburb where an hour-long commute is the norm, a 2-hour drive to get to a soccer game doesn't seem like a big deal.
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Re: US 121 and US 460/Corridor Q
« Reply #16 on: May 22, 2016, 08:53:35 PM »

Time is relative.  When you live in a suburb where an hour-long commute is the norm, a 2-hour drive to get to a soccer game doesn't seem like a big deal.
Except Blacksburg-Manassas is something like a four-hour drive.

That said I'm not sure a particularly elaborate treatment is needed at the north side of Blacksburg. If the major consideration is safety, the default UK solution of "slap a roundabout there" would work.
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hbelkins

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Re: US 121 and US 460/Corridor Q
« Reply #17 on: May 23, 2016, 12:13:32 PM »


That said I'm not sure a particularly elaborate treatment is needed at the north side of Blacksburg. If the major consideration is safety, the default UK solution of "slap a roundabout there" would work.

I don't think that would work in that location, as you have a two-lane route (Business 460) terminating at a four-lane route. Best solution would be to signalize the intersection with a permitted phase on eastbound 460 for a left turn, and a longer merge lane for left turns from Business 460 onto the four-lane and keep a permanent green for through eastbound traffic because of that intersection's location at the bottom of a mountain.
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Re: US 121 and US 460/Corridor Q
« Reply #18 on: May 23, 2016, 01:47:18 PM »

Quote
I don't think that would work in that location, as you have a two-lane route (Business 460) terminating at a four-lane route.

Plenty of roundabouts that are at the junctions of a 2-lane and 4-lane route.  This isn't really a valid argument.

Furthermore, a "permanent green" would be difficult given that the intersection is actually a 4-way intersection with a cul de sac residential (and farm) road to the west.  I suppose you could make that part a RIRO, but then you'd need to build J-turns on either side...requiring traffic to go the 1.7 miles down to the Toms Creek Rd interchange would be unacceptable.

Also, while you're correct that you're overall coming down off a mountain, eastbound traffic is actually on a slight uphill grade for the last 2000ft before you reach the BUS 460 intersection.
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74/171FAN

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Re: US 121 and US 460/Corridor Q
« Reply #19 on: May 23, 2016, 05:33:42 PM »

Quote
I don't think that would work in that location, as you have a two-lane route (Business 460) terminating at a four-lane route.

Plenty of roundabouts that are at the junctions of a 2-lane and 4-lane route.  This isn't really a valid argument.

I think HB was referring to the fact that the US 460 freeway section ends there.  Note that the speed limit on US 460 WB drops from 65 to 55 before the US 460 BUS intersection, but I am unsure about the validity of roundabouts in that situation.  (I guess how the soon-to-be-constructed one on US 222 at PA 662 north of Fleetwood works may factor into my thoughts hear moving forward.)
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Re: US 121 and US 460/Corridor Q
« Reply #20 on: May 23, 2016, 06:52:46 PM »

Quote
I think HB was referring to the fact that the US 460 freeway section ends there.

In his post, his main concern was eastbound traffic, which is not coming from a freeway section.  Nevermind that the "end" of I-587 in Kingston, NY has a roundabout, so there's already precedent.  The M-5 stub off I-96 outside Detroit also ends at a roundabout, though technically that's not a freeway (but is limited-access).

Is it optimum?  No.  An interchange would be optimum.  But given the topography, an interchange would be very difficult.  I'm not saying a roundabout is a good idea, but HB's arguments against it don't hold water.

I think the best bet in the short term is to close off the median and construct J-turns on either side.
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74/171FAN

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Re: US 121 and US 460/Corridor Q
« Reply #21 on: July 26, 2016, 06:01:57 AM »

Not related to the construction farther west on the corridor, but it seems that VDOT and the town of Blacksburg do not agree on whether or not an interchange is feasible where US 460 Business meets US 460 north of Blacksburg.

I barely ever traveled through this intersection while at Virginia Tech, but I never really noticed this intersection to be an issue outside of safety concerns.

Ultimately VDOT presented plans for an interchange here to the town of Blacksburg at a public forum last night.

Currently there are four alternatives, I think Alternatives 1 and 3 (Alternative 3 is the same as Alternative 1 minus the roundabout) are the best choices considering that I cannot truly understand Alternative 2 via the map and Alternative 4 creates a connection to US 460 Bus south of the current intersection that would require Farmingdale Dr traffic to turnaround there (plus cul-de-sac Main St at the current intersection).

All alternatives but Alternative 4 have an optional connection to Bishop Rd due to plans to cul-de-sac the road at its current US 460 intersection.

EDIT:  The disagreement between VDOT and the town of Blacksburg continues.  VDOT apparently wants the old Restricted Crossing U-Turn Intersection Plan.
« Last Edit: December 21, 2016, 08:00:05 PM by 74/171FAN »
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74/171FAN

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Re: US 121 and US 460/Corridor Q
« Reply #23 on: March 29, 2017, 07:38:09 AM »

Time is relative.  When you live in a suburb where an hour-long commute is the norm, a 2-hour drive to get to a soccer game doesn't seem like a big deal.
Except Blacksburg-Manassas is something like a four-hour drive.

That said I'm not sure a particularly elaborate treatment is needed at the north side of Blacksburg. If the major consideration is safety, the default UK solution of "slap a roundabout there" would work.

The above is a series of long-ago posts, but since the thread has been revived.... I think a lot of people in Northern Virginia are aware of the existence of Southwest Virginia but have no idea of the distances involved beyond perhaps the most direct route to the Blacksburg area (due of course to VPI being there). It's approximately 375 miles from Fairfax City to the Tennessee state line on I-81 near Bristol and a good bit further to Cumberland Gap. To a lot of people (not to most people on this forum, of course) that's a full day's drive, and I think most people in Northern Virginia have more of a sense for the distance down I-95 or down to the Tidewater area en route to the Outer Banks, simply because most of them never have any reason to head southwest.

It never ceases to surprise me how many people are ignorant of geography and of alternate routes. I know quite a few people who are unaware there are ways other than Route 29 to get to Charlottesville, and I remember when a former colleague wrote in to Dr. Gridlock in response to his Thanksgiving travel tips column saying she was astonished to learn you don't have to take the Jersey Turnpike to get to New York.
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VTGoose

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Re: US 121 and US 460/Corridor Q
« Reply #24 on: March 29, 2017, 11:35:36 AM »

Well Blacksburg ultimately approved the R-Cut design VDOT anyway.

Here is another report on this mess: http://www.roanoke.com/news/local/blacksburg/problem-blacksburg-intersection-fix-back-to-start/article_bb9264a7-304f-5f3e-bed9-fa1eee8190a9.html which even includes comments from Arf Kohkar (an outspoken DIG driver on misc.transport.road) explaining that people should just drive better through that intersection.

It is a bad intersection, despite trying to drop the westbound speed limit from 65 to 55 and adding flashing signs. It only takes a split second of a driver on 460 not paying close attention and a driver making a turn not paying close attention and another wreck is in the books.

It is a long-standing problem and the grade-separated solution wasn't helped by a lack of support (or response) from the Salem District reps on the transportation board and the initial actions of the Blacksburg Town Council to accept the initial R-cut plan without much citizen input. The matter wasn't helped when the New River Valley MPO weighed in and pushed for completion of the Smart Road to I-81 http://www.roanoke.com/news/education/higher_education/virginia_tech/montgomery-county-restarts-call-for-million-smart-road-connector-to/article_5841f8f9-a8ed-509c-911c-7ce0e7820ae3.html. This isn't over yet.

Bruce in Blacksburg
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