Posted by Colby Rogers
RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - The city says the new roundabout at 25th and M streets in Church Hill is all about safety but residents here say the construction has just been an inconvenience.
There's no doubt the intersection used to be confusing. Five roads converged there, directed by stoplights and no-turn-on-red signs.
But as construction wraps up on the roundabout in the center of the road, residents are starting to complain.
The owner of one restaurant near the roundabout actually fought the project for years and one beauty shop owner says the construction is now causing her to lose business.
"By them doing all the construction, my customers have nowhere to park," said beauty shop owner Latrice Williams, "So a lot of times, once they come and try to find a parking space, they're discouraged so they actually leave."
Residents say they are most concerned about the medians surrounding the new traffic flow. They say they take away parking spaces permanently for the people who live on the block.
An alley behind the some homes was also closed and two bus stops were moved for construction.
The city has said this change is a safety improvement, citing accidents that have taken place at the intersection. In 2007, 10 people were injured while they waited for the bus. One car cut offanother and both slid into the crowded bus stop.
City engineers say the roundabout will improve the flow of traffic and make it safer for pedestrians to cross the street.
"With progress sometimes comes inconvenience," said Richmond Dept. of Public Works Director Dexter White. "The city plans to move expeditiously to complete all work on the 25th Street roundabout and have it open to the public."
The detour could linger for a few more weeks on 25th Street between M and Lee. It will remain closed until the main work on the roundabout is finished. City engineers estimate that will take about two weeks.