CHRISTIANSBURG – A petition of 200 signatures has been presented to the Christiansburg Town Council expressing a request to stop funding efforts to build a connector route from Cambria to Franklin Street and then to Peppers Ferry Road.
According to information provided on the www.christiansburg.org website, the Town of Christiansburg can apply to the SMART Scale program every two years to acquire state funding for transportation projects. This program utilizes tax dollars to meet with the needs of localities in Virginia that wish to apply the funds in reducing vehicle traffic congestion, increasing transportation ease including better use of pedestrian walkways and accessibility, and encourage economic development.
The Town has submitted four projects for consideration under the SMART Scale program. The Cambria Connector projects consist of two phases, equaling two of the four projects. Phase One of this project would connect Cambria Street to Peppers Ferry Road. A roundabout would connect Cambria Street with Providence Boulevard. Phase II of the project proposes connecting Cambria Street to North Franklin Street. The total cost of the two projects would be estimated at $64,753,548.
Karen Swenson, a Christiansburg resident, addressed Christiansburg Town Council during their regular meeting on July 25, 2023. Swenson presented a petition of 200 signatures, mostly from Christiansburg residents, asking the council to stop attempting to fund the Cambria Connector project. The petition was read to the council by Swenson during the citizen comment period of the meeting.
“A highway would greatly change the nature of the neighborhood, replacing its current peaceful atmosphere with noise, trash, and pollution,” said Swenson. “Property values would drop sharply for homes on the proposed route, as nobody wants a highway a few feet from their backdoor. “In essence, building this highway could be considered a taking in legal terms as it would devalue the property of individuals.”
The petition also asked for the council to consider the natural environment and wildlife that would be disturbed by the proposed project.
Christiansburg resident Kathy Rader also spoke to the Town Council regarding the Cambria Crossing project.
“First, I want to congratulate you on the delightful, peaceful, lovely, quiet and friendly town that you have created here in Christiansburg,” Rader said. “It truly has a hometown feel and I know that is part of your initiatives.”
Rader said she is one of the signed petitioners requesting to remove the planned Cambria Crossing project from the town’s transportation plan.
“The increased traffic, Cambria Street, is another poorly designed road. It has a blind intersection right at the entrance to Cambria and from Phoenix Boulevard to Cambria,” Rader said.
ATCS, a multidisciplinary design and engineering firm, conducted a preliminary noise analysis for the Cambria Connector project according to their website at atsplc.com.
“The project increases overall connectivity in the Town of Christiansburg and the region and reduces commute times, providing a long-term environmental benefit,” the website states. “Our noise experts worked directly with the Town and project engineers to minimize noise impacts along the corridor for the project’s duration.”
A request for comment from the Christiansburg Town Council was not answered at the time of this publication.