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Lake Anna roundabout scrutinized

Posted on Thursday, June 13, 2019 at 9:13 am

Trieu Nguyen, a Virginia Department of Transportation engineer, explains the planned Wares Crossroads roundabout to Betty Dickinson, Pat Willis and James Pfeiffer.

More than 60 citizens gave state road engineers their thoughts on the proposed roundabout at Wares Crossroads near Lake Anna at a public meeting on Monday.

The $5.4 million project is tentatively planned for completion in 2024. The Virginia Department of Transportation says a roundabout is the best way to improve the crash-plagued intersection at New Bridge Road (Rt. 208) and Zachary Taylor Highway (Rt. 522).

“It’s long overdue,” Dick Shrum, a lake-area resident, said at the meeting. “Look at all the documents on VDOT’s website that demonstrate how safe roundabouts are.”

The agency’s engineers say roundabouts are superior because they nearly eliminate  the potential for head-on and high-speed right angle collisions.

Not everyone is convinced. Supervisor Duane Adams (Mineral district) made a point of criticizing VDOT’s decision to build a roundabout, rather than a traffic light, during his run for office in 2017. He said he still isn’t sure about it.

“A traditional four-way intersection is what everyone’s used to,” he said. “The property owners are concerned about access and they were willing to help with the cost of a traffic light.”

W.A. Dickinson, who operates Dickinson’s Store, and Charles Purcell, who owns commercial land with Dickinson behind the store, were among those questioning VDOT’s plans at the meeting. The roundabout would hinder access to the store for motorists traveling east on Rt. 208, though turn lanes would direct traffic to the business from Rt. 522.

Development pressure is also about to hit the west side of the intersection. A proposal was submitted to county officials on May 20 to rezone 125 acres on what will be the roundabout’s west side for commercial shops and services. Lonnie Carter, the applicant, suggested a variety of possible tenants, including a hotel, restaurants and an urgent care facility.

Carter said on Tuesday he is not concerned about fitting the roundabout into his plans. Owners of property adjoining the 125 acres were invited by mail to a neighborhood meeting about the rezoning on June 12 at the county office building. The Louisa County Planning Commission is expected to hold a public hearing on July 11.

The state spent $600,000 in federal funds in 2017 to add a right-turn lane for motorists turning from Rt. 522 onto Rt. 208. Many area residents thought that was a band-aid solution and pressed for more changes.

(Article by David Holtzman)

This is a partial article. Read the full story in The Central Virginian’s June 13, 2019 issue.