New traffic light at Hull Street and Ashlake Pkwy.

By Matt Butner - bio | email
Posted by Terry Alexander - email

CHESTERFIELD, VA (WWBT) - Starting Wednesday, there will be a fully functioning traffic light at Hull Street and Ashlake Parkway. Some call it necessary, others call it a nuisance. VDOT says it's a matter of safety.

You don't need to tell Ladonna Owen how bad traffic can be on route 360 near Woodlake. It's on the delivery route she drives for work.

"It doesn't matter, usually even before rush hour it's always very back-to-back, constant traffic," said Ladonna.

She questions whether another stoplight is really what this area needs.

"That slows you down when you're having to constantly stop at every light, and it's just backing the traffic up more," Ladonna said.

But residents of the Ashbrook neighborhood see it differently. Ashlake Parkway is the main artery to and from their community, and with no light; the intersection at Hull Street can be downright dangerous.

"I think the light's going to help because every time I try to get out of that exit I'm scared somebody's going to run me over coming down 360 doing 80," said Richard Fields, Ashbrook resident.

VDOT officials estimate that 43,000 vehicles pass through this area every day. And with continuing development, including the new Wal-Mart at the intersection, traffic numbers are expected to rise. The hope is that the new light will be worth the potential traffic backups.

"There are negatives and positives any time you put up a new traffic signal, and hopefully the positive will be less crashes at this intersection, and we'll have better safety," said VDOT Spokesperson Dawn Eischen.

For now, the light will flash a cautionary message to drivers:

"Just pay attention and slow down in that area. You might even want to go slower than 45 mph just to get used to stopping at that area," said Eischen.

That yellow flashing light becomes a functioning stop light on Wednesday.

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