Study on Route 60 in the works

Published 12:28 pm Tuesday, June 18, 2019

Route 60, which spans 103 miles total and crosses through Buckingham and Cumberland counties, will be the subject of an extensive study to address intersections with high accident rates and seek ways to accommodate for growing population rates and new industries.

A presentation by the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) provided in the Buckingham County Board of Supervisors board packet cited that the Route 60 Corridor project uses a 20-year timeframe to evaluate traffic in order to determine future needs.

VDOT Lynchburg District Planning Manager Rick Youngblood said that the study was requested by Cumberland County. He said District 22 State Sen. Mark Peake has requested through the General Assembly for a number of years, but the study had been tabled each time.

“Our Statewide Planning Section elected to fund the study to support the request through our statewide planning monies,” Youngblood said.

The presentation identifies several reasons for the revamped Route 60 study, which includes high accident rates at certain intersections, the Green Ridge landfill, a 1,143-acre landfill at the Cumberland and Powhatan county line, and Powhatan County growth areas.

“The study is evaluating many intersections which may or may not identify substantial needs,” Youngblood said. “If valid needs are identified, then projects will compete for funds through various funding programs. Once funds are identified for a specific project, a schedule will be developed to design and construct. Most projects which receive funds are to be completed within a six-year program once funds are applied and under our current Smart Scale program timeline, applications are to be submitted in late summer 2020 and funds awarded through the competition will not be available until 2025.”

VDOT, in the meantime, will develop a draft report, gather responses and revisions, and submit the report by a January 2020 timeframe.

Participants in the study are Buckingham County, Cumberland County, Powhatan County, Amherst County, Nelson County, Appomattox County and the Commonwealth Regional Council among other planning district commissions.

Following the report submission, VDOT will identify locations for public meetings, further develop land use data and begin recommendations for development.

“Route 60 through the Lynchburg District may have a variety of geometric issues and high accident locations specifically at a few intersections,” Youngblood said.

The Lynchburg District encompasses Buckingham and Cumberland. The Richmond District includes Powhatan County.

“Capacity/congestion issues identified apply more to current and future trends in the Richmond District. One reason we forecast data to out years (2040) is to identify potential needs, so this data analysis could identify future needs the route is not experiencing today,” Youngblood said.

This article has been corrected from its original version.