Graves Mill Road has served as a transportation corridor since the 1700s, and it has been growing with traffic and business ever since — and regional officials looked at shaping the road’s future at a Tuesday public meeting at the Lynchburg Humane Society.
Officials, residents meet to discuss ways to alleviate traffic and wrecks in corridor
Reporter: Rachael Smith
Lynchburg News & Advance
December 13, 2017
After Lynchburg and Bedford County planning and transportation officials informed Region 2000 Local Government Council about the concerns for high traffic volume and a higher-than average vehicular crash rate, a plan to improve traffic in the corridor was developed.
“There is rather extensive growth in this area,” Scott Smith, transportation planning director of Region 2000, said at Tuesday’s meeting. “We wanted to get ahead of the growth and identify ways to address these issues.”
The meeting allowed area residents to see data on possible plans for the road.
Region 2000 Local Government Council and Central Virginia Metropolitan Planning Organization, in partnership with Bedford County and the city of Lynchburg and with assistance from Charlottesville-based engineering company EPR P.C., are conducting the study of Graves Mill Road between Gristmill Road and McConville Road in Lynchburg. The study began this summer and will be concluded next spring.
The planning process began in the summer and cost $65,000. It has been funded mostly by Region 2000, with some money from Lynchburg.
“Our job on a regional level is to help identify and prioritize projects and help get them ready for funding,” Smith said.
The area has grown during the past several years with new businesses like The Home Depot and Moore’s Country Store and will continue to grow with developments like Rosedale — a community that hopes to soon build and attract a hotel, grocery store, restaurants, a brewery and office space — as well as Elements at Old Graves Mill Road — new apartments being constructed.
For more information or to submit concerns or questions, visit gravesmillplan.com.
“Graves Mill serves a larger purpose, and that is to get people from Forest to Lynchburg,” Smith said. “Forest is one of the fastest-growing areas of Bedford County and is one of the fastest-growing areas of Lynchburg metro. Even if no other businesses are proposed, we’re going to have increased traffic. It’s the connector of choice for most people.”
Every intersection between McConville Road and Gristmill Drive, except for one, has a higher than average crash rate than all of Lynchburg and the state, Smith said. There are seven signalized intersections and two with no signals in the corridor. The highest is Creek side Drive, where The Home Depot is located.
Bill Wuensch, principal transportation engineer and planner for EPR, has collected all of the data and looked at crash history.
Most crashes are caused by rear-ending and angle crashes — where drivers make turns and hit another vehicle. There is one reported fatality on Graves Mill Road since 2006, which occurred in 2013 near Bulls Steakhouse.
Kelly Duff Smith, of Amherst County — who works on Nationwide Drive, which intersects with Graves Mill Road — said she has to drive on the road on a daily basis.
There is a four-way stop sign at the intersection of Nationwide Drive, Graves Mill Road and McConville Road. In her opinion, she said drivers don’t know how to use it.
“When everyone is getting off at 5 o’clock p.m., it’s a madhouse and very dangerous because people don’t wait their turn to go, and it causes others to stop so they don’t get hit,” she said. “It has gotten worse and is more dangerous.”
She thinks there needs to be a stoplight instead of the four-way stop.
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