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Barracks and Emmet street intersection undergoes changes

Published: Jul. 12, 2021 at 7:15 PM EDT
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CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) - Those who travel the Emmet Street and Barracks Road intersection in Charlottesville may be familiar with how backed up it can get.

“If you’ve ever been through the intersection, particularly during peak hours, you know there’s a lot of backups,” Transportation Project Manager Kyle Kling said.

The Virginia Department of Transportation, Charlottesville, and the engineering firm Timmons Group are partnering to make this area less congested.

“Today, there’s only three lanes: One lane is a left turn lane, one lane is a through left, and the other one is a through right,” Design Consultant Brian Copeland said.

After the intended 12-to-16 months of construction, the intersection will look a little different. Crews will be creating a new northbound right turn lane on Emmet St.

“The new configuration will be two dedicated left turn only lanes, one through and one right,” Copeland said.

An additional lane will be added in the westbound direction to allow for each side of the street to make turns at the same time, helping traffic to move more quickly.

“We are at the 60% design phase, so we have done a pretty substantial amount of engineer drawings and work on this project,” Kling said.

Plans include tree canopy preservation, a shared use lane for pedestrians and bikers, and narrowing the 16 ft. lanes to cut down on speeding.

“There will be some impact to the trees, but we are implementing retaining walls along the corridor that help preserve trees to the maximum extent possible,” Kling said.

Designers plan to add lights to walls that will line a walking path. These walls will be to help tree roots stay in place to retain the tree canopy.

These plans took more than two years to draft, and Charlottesville intends to put them in action by spring 2023.

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