When the Roanoke Valley Transportation Planning Organization (TPO) meets Thursday, Feb. 22, the members will hear a presentation and discuss the just-completed Regional Study on Transportation Project Prioritization for Economic Development and Growth (TED Study).
This draft regional priority transportation needs, strategies and projects are part of the study were generated by the TPO TED Study Steering Committee and in focus group meetings with stakeholders that included economic development and private sector representatives.
The draft TED Study outlines four regional priority needs, including one the study hopes will better connect Botetourt County with Franklin County and improve accessibility to drive economic development in Urban Development Areas (UDAs) like the two in Botetourt with downtowns within the Roanoke Valley.
The other two priority needs identified in the draft study are improving connectivity between the Roanoke Valley and the New River Valley and improving connectivity between the Roanoke Valley and the Lynchburg area.
The TED Study draft notes there are a number of possible solutions and strategies that would meet these four major needs. The study points to several regional transportation projects that could do that.
One includes widening I-81 between Exit 150 in Botetourt and Exit 118 at Christiansburg— in places to as many as six lanes.
US 460 work is a major component of the need to improve connectivity between the Roanoke Valley and the Lynchburg area.
That includes widening and improving Alt. 220 (Cloverdale Road) between Exit 150 and the US 460 intersection.
It also includes widening and/or using Super Street concepts on US 460 from Alt. 220 to the 13th Street intersection in Roanoke, plus widening US 460 from four to six lanes between 13th Street and Gus Nicks Boulevard.
The TED Study draft recommends considering several possible projects to improve connectivity between Botetourt County and Franklin County.
One is to improve the US 220/International Parkway intersection at Botetourt Center at Greenfield to increase turning capacity and improve safety.
Another recommendation is to consider widen or use Super Street concepts to reduce congestion on US 220 north of I-81 Exit 150 through Daleville and south of Rt. 419 in Roanoke County.
Other recommendations are to study opportunities for alternative intersections along US 220 and expand transit options for city residents to get to jobs in Botetourt and Franklin Counties.
A larger project would be to construct I-73 between West Virginia and North Carolina.
The priority to improve accessibility and drive economic development in the UDAs (one around Exit 150 that includes Botetourt Commons and one at Daleville Town Center) and downtowns in the region includes a recommendation to expand multimodal accommodations across the region.
That expansion would be designed to connect the central business districts, commercial and employment centers, institutions of higher learning, and transportation hubs within the broader region.
Among the recommendations is to continue to implement the Roanoke Valley Greenway Plan, Bikeway Plan, Pedestrian Plan and Transit Plan— all link Roanoke with the outlying communities, including Botetourt, with downtown Roanoke and the regional public transportation hubs like the airport, Amtrak station and bus transit.
A key priority would be to build a downtown Roanoke Intermodal Station to accommodate rail, intercity bus and other transit options.
The TPO Policy Board will discuss the plan Thursday, with the expectation it will come to a consensus around the needs and priority projects.
The TED Study Steering Committee Meeting will meet March 13 to consider the policy board recommendations, then bring it back to the policy board’s March 22 meeting for review the final draft.
The TPO Policy Board would have the final TED Study up for approval at its April 26 meeting.