Map of construction project districts

Under Construction

Southgate Connector - Blacksburg

Project Photos
Project at a Glance
Begin Date
Spring 2015

Est Completion Date
Open to Traffic December 2018



Duane Mann
Joshua Lawrence

Gateway to Virginia Tech Now Open

The new diverging diamond interchange at Southgate Drive off of Route 460 opened to traffic on December 14, 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.

Map to Virginia Tech RT 460 Interchange

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


Project Description

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:


Project Timeline

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.

May 2013
Location public hearing
A location public hearing was held on the project in May 2013. 

Public hearing documents:
Aerial display
Additional displays
Location hearing brochure

October 2013
Design public hearing
A design public hearing was held Oct. 21, 2013, at the Blacksburg Community Center in Blacksburg.

Public hearing documents:
Design hearing brochure
Design hearing comment sheet
Design hearing display 1
Design hearing display 2
Design hearing display 3
Design hearing display 4


Traffic Impacts

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.

Current Conditions

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.

Click here for a renderings of the completed bridges:

Bridge over Route 460 rendering 1

Bridge over Route 460 rendering 2


Environmental Assessment

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:

Environmental Assessment

Traffic and Transportation Technical Memorandum

Alternatives Technical Memorandum

Air Quality Report

Preliminary Noise Analysis

Finding of No Significant Impact

Revised Environmental Assessment

Bristol area projects Salem area projects Staunton area projects Lynchburg area projects Culpeper area projects Richmond area projects Northern Virginia projects Fredericksburg area projects Hampton Roads projects
Page last modified: Oct. 29, 2018