If you have gotten caught in traffic during rush hour or any other time of the day at the government complex on Iron Bridge Road at Beach Road, you may kick yourself for not finding a detour. Sometimes it’s a normal backup which is why the construction, a widening of the road to alleviate the slowdowns is underway, and at other times it’s a lane closed or just rubber necking to see how the construction is proceeding.
The 1.6 mile project will provide six-through lanes three each way and is expected to alleviate traffic including turn lanes. Two additional left turn lanes are being added at Beach Road to help clear one of the most intense intersections during rush hour.
The road widening is a fast paced project that should last about six months. It was started on Dec. 12, with the moving of utilities, and completion is expected around June 1. According to John McCracken, Director of Chesterfield’s Transportation Department, the project may be a little behind due to the some issues with the moving of the utilities.
While some private land had to be acquired to make way for the widening there are no sidewalks planned for the project. McCracken didn’t expand on why sidewalks would not be included.
The “construction contract is going to be a little over $4 million, [and the] total project cost is $5.6 million,” McCracken wrote in an email. He added that the funding for the project is provided by a Chesterfield County bond referendum voted on and approved by the public in 2004. There are a few projects that have yet to be built on that referendum. The Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) is funding and building the signal work, which will cost approximately $400,000.
Chester Road was closed for a limited amount of time on Thursday last week due to the utility work needed as part of a project that will help alleviate traffic tie-ups there. The right turn lane on Chester at the intersection of West Hundred and Chester roads is approximately a little over 150 feet in length, currently. The extension will add approximately 325 feet and includes utility upgrades at the location.
The project was approved by the Chesterfield Board of Supervisors (BOS) just a year ago “to reduce congestion at a key intersection in the Bermuda District.” The initial cost of the project was approximately $214,000 but ballooned by $45,000 due to increased costs in preliminary engineering, the potential need to relocate utilities and contingencies, according to staff’s request for additional funding at the Jan. 25, 2012 meeting of the BOS. Transportation staff said there are sufficient cash proffers available in traffic shed 13 and 14 (two of the areas to which cash proffers paid by builders can be appropriated) to the project.
After the additional funding the total cost of the project is $259,000. According to county transportation staff, the lowest responsive and responsible bid was submitted by Shoosmith Construction, Inc. Their bid is approximately nine percent lower than the engineer’s expectations.