Southgate Connector - Blacksburg
Project at a Glance
Gateway to Virginia Tech to Open in December
The new diverging diamond interchange at Southgate Drive off of Route 460 is scheduled to open mid-December in 2017.
Diverging Diamond Interchanges are an innovative design that crosses traffic to the left side of the road. They increase safety and move a higher volume of vehicles without increasing the number of lanes. For tips on driving through this unique interchange, see our Drive It section below.
Drive It! Video Simulations
These videos provide a virtual drive-through of the diverging diamond interchange on Route 460 as well as other parts of the Southgate Connector project in Blacksburg.
Things to remember when driving through a DDI:
Diverging Diamond Interchanges (DDI) are unusual since they require motorists to briefly drive on the opposite side of the road from where they normally do. Drivers might think the new interchange difficult to navigate, but it has pavement markings and traffic signals just like a regular intersection.
- Drivers should follow the pavement markings, signs and signals in the interchange to travel through the intersections safely.
- Motorists proceed through a traffic signal and follow their lane to the opposite side of the roadway.
- Motorists needing access to the highway turn at the on-ramp without having to stop or wait for oncoming traffic to pass.
- Through traffic proceeds and follows lane back to the right side of the roadway.Drive through our simulated video tours by visiting our website and share your diverging diamond experience.
Westbound Route 460 exit onto northbound Southgate Drive (onto Virginia Tech campus) to westbound Duck Pond Drive
Northbound Southgate Drive from the end of the bridge over Route 460 to the Virginia Tech entry sign wall
Northbound Southgate Drive from north of Research Center Drive (near the first Virginia Tech kiosk loop road intersection) to past the Duck Pond Drive roundabout near the Johnson-Miller Track Complex and South Recreational Area Fields
Southbound Southgate Drive (leaving Virginia Tech campus) from Duck Pond Drive roundabout approach (near the Johnson-Miller Track Complex and South Recreational Area Fields) to the westbound Route 460 entry ramp
Northbound Southgate Drive from north of Research Center Drive onto and around the Virginia Tech kiosk loop road
Westbound Research Center Drive from the approach to the roundabout to southbound Southgate Drive
Northbound Southgate Drive from near the Virginia Tech entry wall to eastbound Research Center Drive
This $46.7-million project replaces the signalized intersection at Route 460 and Southgate Drive at the entrance to Virginia Tech with a diverging diamond interchange.
This new interchange eliminates one of the last two at-grade intersections on the Blacksburg Bypass section of Route 460.
Two new bridges will be constructed over the Route 460 Bypass and portions of Southgate Drive and the Huckleberry Trail will be relocated.
What are the benefits of a diverging diamond interchange?
- Reduces congestion
- Allows traffic to keep moving through intersection
- Provides better sight distance at turns
- Reduces the chance for conflict with other vehicles
- Improves safety and results in fewer crashes
- Free flowing turns when entering or exiting the roadway
- Eliminates left turns against oncoming traffic
- Reduces the number of traffic signal phases
For additional details, see below:
The project was awarded in March 2015 and construction began in Spring of 2015.
The anticipated construction duration is 56-57 months. Access to all properties will be maintained during construction.
On Oct. 1, 2016, the new roundabout opened to traffic on Southgate Drive at Duck Pond.
The project is expected to be open to traffic in December 2018, with incidental work to be completed by December 2019.
Location public hearing
A location public hearing was held on the project in May 2013.
Design public hearing
A design public hearing was held Oct. 21, 2013, at the Blacksburg Community Center in Blacksburg.
While temporary road and trail detours may be necessary for short durations, impacts to users of these facilities should be minimal.
Access to all properties will be maintained during construction.
Lane and road closures and activity in the work zone continue. Motorists should use caution in the area and expect delays.
Huckleberry Trail shift - Work on the underpass under Route 460 began on Monday, Nov. 21, and will extend through several months until completion.
Flagging operations and shifting of the trail within the construction area will occur at various times throughout the construction timeframe.
Impacts to pedestrian and bicycle traffic will occur.
Caution is encouraged and everyone utilizing the trail should be alert, as heavy equipment will be operating in the area.
Renderings of Completed Bridges over Route 460 at Virginia Tech Entrance
The project includes a new pair of bridges on Southgate Drive over Route 460.
In July 2013, the Commonwealth Transportation Board (CTB) approved the location for the project.
Following the CTB’s approval, the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) revised the environmental assessment for the project and sent the revised document to the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA).
VDOT worked with FHWA to finalize the environmental study.
To view the environmental assessment and related documents for this project, see the links below: