VDOT looks to restrict left turns from Sugar Hill Road

Published 5:40 pm Monday, March 20, 2023

Within a few months, drivers looking to turn left from Sugar Hill Road onto Carrollton Boulevard toward Suffolk will have to turn right and make a U-turn.

The Virginia Department of Transportation is moving forward with plans to convert the intersection to a restricted crossing U-turn, or RCUT. The work will add what VDOT refers to as “flexible delineator” barriers to keep motorists from cutting across two lanes of traffic to make a left turn onto the four-lane divided highway.

Paul Maddox, resident administrator of VDOT’s Franklin residency, told Isle of Wight County supervisors on March 16 that the work is slated to begin during the current fiscal year, which ends June 30.

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The RCUT is intended as a temporary solution in place of the $3.7 million “Continuous Green-T” intersection Isle of Wight County had submitted last summer. The project didn’t make the cut for state funding under VDOT’s Smart Scale cost-to-benefit formula.

The “Green-T,” according to VDOT, would have allowed one direction of highway traffic to pass through the intersection without stopping. Traffic heading the opposite direction in a Green-T is typically controlled by a traffic signal, though the Sugar Hill Road proposal called for an unsignalized intersection.

The RCUT, as of a November VDOT arterial study, was projected to cost $1.2 million to $2.1 million and result in a 55% reduction in crashes.

“Versus doing nothing, we feel that this is something we can do to be proactive to help with safety,” Maddox said.

Even if the Green-T had been approved for state funding, the RCUT would likely still have been needed as an interim solution during the five to six years it would take for the state funding for the Green-T to come through, County Administrator Randy Keaton said.

Projects approved by the Commonwealth Transportation Board for Smart Scale funding get added to the CTB’s six-year improvement plan. The CTB, a 17-member panel appointed by the governor, is set to take a final vote in June on 394 applications statewide for the fifth round of Smart Scale funding. Those selected will be funded between the latter half of 2023 and 2029.