Drivers concerned over proposed changes to congested Beach intersection

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by Ashley Smith, 13News Now

WVEC.com

Posted on June 13, 2014 at 3:35 PM

Updated Friday, Jun 13 at 7:02 PM

VIRGINIA BEACH -- One of Virginia Beach’s busiest intersections will soon be getting a face lift.

Right now, Indian River Road at Kempsville Road is one of the most congested intersections in Virginia Beach. It tops the city's list in backups and safety concerns, and causes frustration for drivers.

"The intersection is horrible. There have been plenty of accidents I've seen. They've been pretty, really really bad. It's terrible attempting to make left turns here," said driver Everette Gilchrist.

City officials have a very unconventional idea to fix the intersection and the proposed design is a first for Virginia.

"The city examined this very, very closely, and as a result or our examination, we came up with the concept of the hybrid," Public Works Senior Project Manager Taha Ataya said.

A continuous-flow hybrid intersection essentially eliminates the left turn to cut the backups. On Kempsville Road, those turning left will cross over opposing traffic at a signal into their own separate lane. On Indian River, to make a left drivers will go through the intersection, u-turn at a signal, and then make a right. Sounds confusing? Others agree.

"It makes no sense at all. I think I want to see, somebody needs to explain that to me," said driver  Sidney Keys.

Businesses near the intersection are worried about the impact this project.

"When they have to go down to the next light over, we're just going to lose their business and they're just going to carry themselves to another shop up the street,"  Used Tire Express manager Stevenson Cohen said.

But officials are sure this is the best solution. After examining about twenty other options, officials say this is a tailor-fit solution for the intersection.

"We're asking you to bear with us and hopefully you'll see the benefit after the project is done," Ataya said.

The intersection carries about a 105,000 vehicles per day.

Construction is slated to begin in the fall of 2015 and should take more than a year.
 

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