The Virginia Tech Board of Visitors on Monday approved a project to convert part of Drillfield Drive near Alumni Mall into a two-way road, which will improve safety and traffic around the Drillfield.

The finished project will allow vehicles entering Drillfield Drive from Stanger Street and Alumni Mall to proceed south onto Kent Street. Currently, vehicles entering Drillfield Drive from those roads must travel around the entire Drillfield to access Kent Street.

“We expect this project to make it safer for pedestrians and bicyclists along Drillfield Drive and improve the flow of traffic through the area,” said Sherwood Wilson, vice president for administration.

Construction crews will transform the traffic islands at Stanger and Kent streets, paint traffic stripes, install signage, and add other safety improvements. Work is scheduled to begin shortly after the end of the spring semester and be completed by the start of the fall semester.

During construction, Drillfield Drive will be closed from Kent Street to Stanger Street. In addition, Alumni Mall will be closed from the Drillfield Drive intersection to just past the Torgersen Bridge. Detours for vehicles around the work zone will be in place.

Parking spaces in the construction area will be temporarily closed during the project. Once construction is completed, parking around the Drillfield will be permanently reduced by approximately nine spaces. Those parking losses are partially offset by the spaces added to Alumni Mall last summer.

Planned construction of a multi-modal transit facility, scheduled for 2016, will reduce bus traffic along Drillfield Drive and further improve safety.

A separate project will take advantage of the partial closure of Alumni Mall to make repairs to the façade of Torgersen Bridge. Pedestrian traffic will still be allowed to pass under the bridge, but vehicles will not. Minimal impact is expected to the inside space of the bridge, however noise from the construction work is likely. The project is expected to be completed by the start of the fall semester.

Additional details on road closures, detours and other construction information will be shared through Virginia Tech News prior to the start of work.

Dedicated to its motto, Ut Prosim (That I May Serve), Virginia Tech takes a hands-on, engaging approach to education, preparing scholars to be leaders in their fields and communities. As the commonwealth’s most comprehensive university and its leading research institution, Virginia Tech offers 240 undergraduate and graduate degree programs to more than 31,000 students and manages a research portfolio of $513 million. The university fulfills its land-grant mission of transforming knowledge to practice through technological leadership and by fueling economic growth and job creation locally, regionally, and across Virginia.

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