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High Traffic Intersection On Route 60 In Chesterfield Could Be Getting A Makeover

Midlothian Turnpike
Midlothian Turnpike, Route 60, sees over 44,000* cars per day. If construction for a new traffic pattern -- called an RCUT--gets approved, drivers on Woolridge and Old Buckingham Roads will no longer be able to make a left turn, as seen here. Instead, they'll be routed to a right turn, followed by a U-Turn to get going in the direction they want. (Photo: Crixell Matthews/VPM News)

On Thursday, April 29, residents can learn more about a major road improvement project slated for part of Route 60 in Chesterfield County. If it’s approved, officials say this project will be the first of many “innovative intersections.” 

It’s called an R-Cut. It stands for Restricted Crossing U-Turn, and they’re built to relieve traffic and accidents at busy intersections, like the one at Midlothian Turnpike at Woolridge and Old Buckingham Roads. 

Will Wheeler from VDOT said it’s a corner that sees over 44,000* vehicles per day and it’s expected to get busier. In 20 years, the intersection’s car traffic will increase by 20,000.

“An RCUT is a way of splitting the intersection apart so that the two major sections of the intersection can operate a little more independently, which allows for greater efficiencies,” Wheeler said.

Basically, that means drivers won’t be able to turn left onto Midlothian Turnpike from those side streets. Instead, they’ll have to go right and make a U-turn. The RCUT removes that left turn from the side streets as well as the option to go straight through.

Right now, drivers face long wait times for a red light at the site. 

“So if you drive up to the light, and the light turns red, you're gonna wait through five different cycles to have to cross the intersection or turn left, straight, etc,” Wheeler said.

But by removing the left turn lane and the ability to move straight through, the wait gets reduced.

“So if you drove up to the intersection, come to a red light, you only have to wait through one cycle before your turn again,” Wheeler said. 

He said the whole process makes it more efficient for everybody. 

The “innovative intersection” is the gateway to Midlothian Village, an area that has seen tremendous growth over the past few years with more on the way. Just down the street on Wooldridge, construction has already begun on a new 345-unit called Coalfield Station. 

“This intersection is already crowded, people are running red lights, and getting in wrecks and it’s going to get worse especially as well, when [Wooldridge Road] connects to Old One Hundred,” Wheeler said.

The area is also part of the county’s recently approved Midlothian Special Area Plan, which calls for mixed-use housing, sidewalk improvements and construction, bike lanes and shared use-paths. The plan also recommends building a raised grass median at the corner and reducing the width of travel lanes as traffic-calming measures.

“There'll be pedestrian poles timed with the lights to enable pedestrians to cross the intersection, from all corners to all the other corners,” Wheeler said.

Construction would cost more than $13 million using grants from VDOT’s Smart Scale process. VDOT officials say flaggers will assist motorists during construction and maintain traffic as required. And long-term detours are not anticipated.

If approved and once completed, Wheeler said that people will get used to it.

“They'll find that they'll appreciate it more than what we have to fight with now," he said. 

The earliest the year-long construction project could  start is in 2025. Wheeler said another RCUT has already been approved for an area on Route 10 (Iron Bridge Road) but construction for that has not started yet.

The meeting starts at 5 p.m. and will run through 7 p.m.. To access the April 29 meeting, visit VDOT’s website

*Correction: An earlier version of this story had an i ncorrect number for cars at this intersection. The correct number is 44,000. We regret the error.

Ian M. Stewart is the transportation reporter and fill-in anchor for VPM News. He also produces and hosts the World Music Show for VPM Music — now in its 16th season. You can often find him riding his bike around Chesterfield County or on Virginia's Capital Trail. Stewart has won multiple Regional Edward R. Murrow and Virginia's AP Broadcasters awards for reporting and sound editing. He graduated from San Francisco State University with degrees in journalism and creative writing.