Town of Blacksburg, VA
With so many growing communities widening their roads to accommodate a burgeoning population, Blacksburg, VA, leaders decided to go skinny instead to the delight of students, residents, and visitors.
Branch Civil provided general contracting, site development and utility services for this unique project on the Virginia Tech campus, which involved reducing the number of lanes on North Main Street from four to two, with a shared turn lane. A roundabout was also constructed at the intersection of N. Main and Prices Fork Road allowing for better traffic flow and to provide a gateway for entering the downtown area. The roundabout marked Branch Civil’s first completion of this innovative traffic flow design.
In keeping with Blacksburg’s Downtown Master Plan, launched in 2001, the ‘road diet’ allowed for the widening of sidewalks to allow for more public gatherings and outdoor dining. The inviting, pedestrian friendly area also benefitted from seating walls, utility improvements, new lighting and streetscape amenities.
The project presented several challenges; the existing utilities were outdated and the information on them was at times insufficient and erroneous. Branch Civil engaged utility companies early in the project to coordinate the extensive utility relocations, minimizing the impact to the public during construction. The roundabout was built under full traffic, requiring a complex coordination effort among all parties, including first responders. Despite the hurdles, Branch Civil completed the project months ahead of schedule and under budget.