$10 million road improvement for Colonial Heights

By Nicole Bell - bio | email

COLONIAL HEIGHTS, VA (WWBT) - A well-traveled stretch of highway could soon get a major facelift. City leaders in Colonial Heights are looking to spend $10 million to improve the Boulevard.

The project focuses on the on a half-mile stretch on the southern part of the Boulevard. The goal, in part, is to improve efficiency and safety.

Traffic on the Boulevard is expected to double within the next decade. To prepare for the influx the city is rolling out an improvement plan.

It's called the Boulevard Modernization Project.

"This project is a major investment in the south side of the city -- it's a key element in a strategy for a full boulevard revitilization," said city engineer Chuck Henley.

The design includes landscaping and lighting, wider sidewalks, crosswalks, and additional turn lanes.

"Currently there is no center turn lane -- that means vehicles have to stop in the travel lane to wait to acess a driveway," said Henley.

The city is hoping the project will attract more shoppers and business establishments to the corridor.

But some business owners presently on the Boulevard are concerned the anticipated two-year construction project will deter shoppers from the area.

"They'll probably be some economic downturn because of construction and traffic flow -- causing people to go other ways -- people don't want to be inconvienced," said Russell Gates, who owns a pet salon on the Boulevard.

He's familiar with the improvement plan. He doesn't agree with the entire design but says an upgrade is needed.

The project will be paid for with federal and state funds.

"It just makes it easier for people to get around ... In addition it will improve the overall look of this section of the Boulevard," Henley said.

Residents are encouraged to to submit comments on the plan to the Department of Public Works.

The design is preliminary -- the city is hoping to have a final plan in place by early next year.

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