Letter – Traffic plan  dreamers

Published 5:10 pm Tuesday, May 7, 2024

Editor, The Smithfield Times:

During a January meeting of the Isle of Wight Citizens’ Association and Carrollton Civic League, the US 17 Arterial Preservation Plan approved by the county on Dec. 17 affecting traffic patterns between the intersection of Routes 17 and 258 and the Chuckatuck Bridge was discussed and apparently may not happen.  

Searching the web I found previous plans, including the 2011 proposed traffic circles for the intersections. The 2022 plan introduces traffic pattern terminology such as “restricted Crossing U-Turn, Turbo-T and loons.” These may require those wanting to go north on Route 17 to drive south first and do a U-turn to go north; those merging from the U-turn may be exposed to the hazardous fast traffic moving north. The turn ratio of some vehicles is so large that the width of the median and the two road lanes may not allow for safe U-turns; this is compensated by adding “loons” that introduce more traffic hazards.  

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This plan apparently expedites the traffic moving north in the morning, but returning traffic heading south in the evening may be delayed by those merging and crossing lanes to make U-turns to go north. If this plan is so great, why are the traffic patterns proposed not implemented in the intersections between the James River Bridge and the junctions of Route 17 and 258 where most of the traffic congestion occurs?

Recently the Virginia Department of Transportation released a questionnaire asking the community about the intersection at Benn’s Church (Routes 258 and 10). Inaugurated in 2016, within weeks the poorly designed and confusing intersection was retrofitted removing the zebra markers and an additional left traffic light added coming from Smithfield. I would not be surprised if it is changed to have the intersection, instead of ending into a T, extended straight into the hospital facility, expediting emergency traffic.  

Consulting a palm reader may deliver better traffic projections than highly paid county/state staffers and consultants who dream plans that may never solve problems or materialize.


Jose E Hernandez