augusta free press news

Improvements at Interstate 64 Exit 124 interchange should substantially improve safety

interstate 64 exit 124
Image courtesy Virginia Department of Transportation.

Work is under way this week on the reconstruction of the Interstate 64 interchange at U.S. 250 at Exit 124 at the top of Pantops Mountain.

Construction crews are installing erosion controls and preparing for construction, including installing drainage systems, in the U.S. 250 median. The speed limit on U.S. 250 through the project has been reduced to 25 miles per hour.

The project will reconstruct the existing Exit 124 diamond interchange as a diverging diamond interchange. The diverging diamond interchange briefly shifts vehicles to the opposite side of the road, eliminating traditional left turns that must cross over oncoming traffic.

The new interchange will improve safety by reducing the number of spots where vehicles could collide and can handle more than 600 left-turn movements per hour, twice the capacity of a conventional interchange.

The $14.3 million cost of the project is dramatically reduced from the cost to reconstruct the interchange as a traditional cloverleaf interchange. No additional right of way is needed and the existing bridges will be used for the new interchange.

During construction lane closures will be limited to nighttime hours, but there will be multiple traffic shifts as the project moves forward and drivers should expect changing traffic patterns during the construction. The project is scheduled for completion in the fall of 2022.

The diverging diamond interchange is one of two projects in the second phase of a six-project package of improvements to Albemarle County roads in a $28.5 million design-build contract awarded to Curtis Contracting Inc. of West Point. Wallace Montgomery of Vienna is providing design services for the projects.

Two projects, the reconfiguration of the I-64 Exit 118 interchange at U.S. 29, and an additional lane from I-64 to the Fontaine Avenue exit from U.S. 29 north, are substantially complete.

The Rio Mills connector road between Rio Mills Road and Berkmar Drive is nearing completion.

The final two projects are roundabouts at U.S. 250 and Route 151 at Afton and at Route 20 (Stony Point Road) and Route 649 (Proffit Road). The U.S. 250 roundabout is in the engineering phase and right of way is being acquired for the Route 20 roundabout.

Construction of both projects will begin later this year.

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