The Botetourt Planning Commission and Board of Supervisors got their first look at a county-commissioned study of the US 220/Catawba Road intersection during a commission work session Monday night.

Mike Agee with Mattern & Craig Engineers provided several different scenarios— some as add-ons— for helping move traffic through the intersection should there be a development on a corner lot that is being considered by Sheetz for one of its convenience stores/gas stations.

His first proposal was to have a longer right-hand turn lane on Catawba Road that would allow traffic turning south on US 220 to move more quickly through the intersection on right-turn-on red. He suggested the right-turn lane be extended all the way to the back of the corner properties where development is being considered.

He said now, two vehicles turning north onto US 220 holds up any other traffic turning right on red.

Another challenge is northbound traffic on US 220 turning left onto the Catawba Road. At times, that traffic backs up to the Valley Road intersection and crossover.

He said additional engineering study needs to be done on extending that left-turn lane because of the different elevations between the northbound and southbound lanes.

He said having a left-turn lane and bypass lane for traffic turning off US 220 onto Catawba Road would keep traffic from backing up on US 220 should vehicles want to turn left into the corner property that’s being considered for development.

He said a shorter phase traffic light would also help move that traffic.

He said the Valley Road crossover on US 220 at Momma D’s is a “real safety issue.”

He said the county should consider the concept of having a “directional crossover” that would not allow traffic to go straight across from Momma D’s or to turn left onto southbound US 220 from Valley Road.

Left turns would be allowed onto Valley Road from US 220 southbound and into Momma D’s from northbound US 220, but it would not allow extending the left-turn lane at the stoplight as far.

The final scenario he offered was establishing a traditional “4-legged” intersection by building a new road from Valley Road over to the Catawba Road intersection.

He said the study was done without consideration for property acquisition or costs, and he had no details on either.

County Administrator Gary Larrowe  was asked if he had any comments on the proposals, and he noted that the final alternative – the full 4-leg intersection— was “probably not practical.”

The 15-page report covers some of the advantages and disadvantages associated with some of the recommendations— particularly those associated with the Valle Road crossover.

He said the study was commissioned so the county could look at how to increase capacity and efficiency at the intersection regardless of the of the development that takes place.

The Planning Commission will hold a work session on updating the county’s Comprehensive Plan during its October meeting. That work session will focus on transportation and recreation.