Study set for intersection

Published 9:25 pm Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Town council members have agreed to commission a professional study regarding the options as to whether or not a roundabout or street alignment is appropriate for the intersection of High Street, Griffin Boulevard and Oak Street.

The unanimous decision Wednesday to contract with Glen Allen-based engineering firm McCormick Taylor comes with a price tag of $44,000 — one that’s being split with Longwood University.

According to the agreed-to scope of work, the public will be heavily involved in the study, with an initial public meeting slated for early February, according to a letter from the firm to Town Manager Gerald Spates, and a community meeting to “present the results, collect and respond to comments obtained at the meeting and document all public input in a technical memorandum.”

According to town documents, “town staff interviewed consultants for a proposed engineering study on the … intersection on a roundabout versus street alignment.”

Justin Pope

Justin Pope

A timeline from the firm has a results presentation slated for the town council’s July meeting. The second public meeting could be held in May, according to the document.

The roundabout at the intersection — one that’s busy for both pedestrians and vehicles — is part of Longwood’s Master Plan, one that lays out its vision through 2039. The plan was released and approved last winter by college officials.

“One of the key things I think is important in that scope is that we have (an) initial public meeting to hear from the public and all the parties involved,” Spates said.

“We’re looking forward to working with you, and we appreciate the opportunity,” said Longwood President W. Taylor Reveley IV’s Chief of Staff Justin Pope during the meeting.

“It’s very gracious of Longwood to agree to pay for half of the study … It’s a Town of Farmville issue…,” Mayor David Whitus said. “We very much appreciate that.”

During last week’s work session, some council members expressed concern about the presence of a roundabout, specifically citing pedestrian traffic.

The study, according to McCormick Taylor, would involve traffic, bicycle and pedestrian counts; meeting with town staff; preparing designs, concepts and estimates; and analyzing and comparing “a traditional realigned signalized intersection at this location with a roundabout.”

Gerald Spates

Gerald Spates

The firm would also help the town seek grants for a project, if agreed to, by the end of September.