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GETTING THERE: VDOT offers a peek at possible future of U.S. 301 corridor

The first phase of a study covering the U.S. 301 corridor in Caroline and King George counties suggests rebuilding a plethora of intersections and crossovers, including big changes to some major crossings.

The Virginia Department of Transportation released preliminary findings on the study last week. There will be updates to the study, which will include comments from the public, and more meetings on recommendations.

None of the suggested projects is finalized, but some could be put in the pipeline. Some could get done in a few years and others not for a decade or more.

VDOT started the study in February, looking at a roughly 45-mile stretch of U.S. 301 and State Route 207, from U.S. 1 in Caroline to the Harry W. Nice Memorial Bridge in King George.

The study covers the divided, four-lane stretches of U.S. 301 and Route 207 and focuses on traffic volumes, safety, access points, traffic signals and expected economic development.

Two keys are driving the study. The first is expected future growth, especially with the expansion project planned for the Nice Bridge, which is expected to spur growth and spawn more traffic. The second is the view that the corridor is an alternate to Interstate 95, which is infamous for its bottlenecks and traffic jams through the Fredericksburg region.

VDOT also is focused on traffic possibly shifting to U.S. 301 because of the amount of work being done and coming along the Fredericksburg area’s stretch of I–95. Earlier this year VDOT highlighted 14 projects on the interstate that will run into the next decade.

The study suggests reconfiguring more than a dozen intersections along the corridor.

One of the biggest changes would be at the U.S. 301 and U.S. 17 intersection, work that would coincide with the widening of U.S. 17 near the junction.

As a long-term solution, the study suggests widening U.S. 301 to a four-lane divided highway from the U.S. 17 intersection to the Rappahannock River bridge.

Changes suggested for the Dahlgren Road entrance to the Navy base in King George would extend turn lanes and prohibit left turns, which would be replaced by nearby U-turns.

At U.S. 301 and State Route 218, the study suggests converting it into a non-signalized intersection allowing left turns onto Route 218. An acceleration lane also would be added for traffic getting onto U.S. 301.

At the southern end of the corridor, on Route 207, the study suggests reconfigurations of intersections and traffic signals in the area of Dry Bridge Road. It also suggests adding connector roads between Route 207 and U.S. 1.

The study says more investigation is needed for possible changes at the I–95 interchange, but suggests reconfiguring turn lanes at the exits as a short-term fix.

VDOT is accepting comments on the study, which can be sent to VDOT District Planner Stephen Haynes at Stephen.Haynes@VDOT.Virginia.Gov

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