Planned airport improvements

Virginia Tech's Blacksburg campus continues to evolve to better suit the needs of its students, faculty, staff, alumni, and visitors. The next few years will see substantial changes to Drillfield Drive, the Southgate Drive entrance off of U.S. Route 460, and the north end of campus, all with the goal of improving car, bus, bicycle, and foot traffic.

A major Virginia Department of Transportation project will significantly change the entrances to the south end of the Virginia Tech campus.

VDOT is building a new grade-separated interchange to replace the intersection of Southgate Drive and U.S. 460 and relocate Research Center Drive to allow for the expansion of the Virginia Tech Montgomery Executive Airport. The 1,000 foot runway and safety zone extension will permit use by larger airplanes and help support the region’s economic development efforts. The new Research Center Drive will roughly follow an existing farm road and connect Innovation Drive in the Corporate Research Center to a roundabout intersection with the new Southgate Drive at Duckpond Drive via a new on/off ramp bridge being constructed over U.S. 460. The new interchange and Southgate realignment should be open for traffic by Dec 2017 with the final completed project by Dec 2018, based on VDOT’s schedule.

Branch Highways Inc. out of Roanoke, Virginia, is the contractor for the $38.7 million project.

Construction of the interchange began in the spring of 2015. The Dairy Science Complex was moved to Kentland Farm prior to the start of construction.

Ongoing construction:

(Updated November 2016)

U.S. 460

Both pillars for the new on/off ramp bridge have been installed and the road has been widened. Work continues on the new grade-separated interchange being built approximately 1,900 feet southeast of the current traffic signal on U.S. 460 at Southgate Drive.

Southgate Drive

Southgate Drive

The new roundabout at Southgate Drive and Duck Pond Drive is fully operational. The finishing touches will be completed when the new four-lane Southgate Drive is opened by December 2017.

Huckleberry Trail

The Huckleberry Trail has a detour in place while a section of the trail, between the existing underpass for the old farm road and existing Research Center Drive, is under construction. Construction crews are removing the existing underpass and building a new underpass for the new Research Center Drive.


For more information, including maps and videos, visit VDOT’s Southgate Connector website.

For more information

Virginia Tech: Mike Dunn, transportation and planning engineer, 540-231-7641

Virginia Department of Transportation: Jen Ward, communications specialist, 540-387-5238.

Latest news

For the latest news about the project and the impact to traffic on campus visit here.