HENRICO, VA (WWBT) - Work crews in the West End are set to make significant changes to River Road and neighbors hope the plan will keep drivers on the pavement, instead of in a ditch.
This is a project that's been talked about for 14 years. Neighbors say cars come around the bend too fast, leading to accidents. So the new River Road will be straighter, in the hopes of being safer.
For seven years, Ron Grubb has lived on River Road, where it gets pretty busy and sometimes, a little dangerous.
"Maybe people going a little too fast for conditions. I did have somebody run off into my ditch a year or two ago," said Ron.
To prevent that, the county installed large reflector signs on the curvy, shoulder-less road and that's helped a little bit.
"But now, people tend to go off into the ditch that's on the side of the road, there've been several accidents that fortunately were not fatal," said Pat O'Bannon, Tuckahoe District Supervisor.
So to cut down on future accidents, a contractor will soon begin work on straightening a segment of River Road six-tenths of a mile long, between Roslyn Hills Drive and Ralston Road. Workers will improve drainage, and add shoulders to the narrow pavement.
"The poor bikers on this road. There is no space for them. And you have to come to a stop until you can pass. You'd be afraid of running them off the road," said Kay Graves, who lives near River Road.
The county had previously estimated the work would cost more than $2 million. Then the economy tanked.
"Business people who are very interested in remaining at work, keeping their men on the job, will bid very low," said Pat.
Out of 12 bids, the winner was for $870,000.
"Now's actually a very good time to do a project such as this," said Pat.
The primary goal of the project is to improve safety but neighbors agree that will be only part of the solution.
"You have to drive cautiously around here," Kay said.
Work is expected to begin within 10 days and take no longer than a year. Drivers should expect delays but a schedule as to when those will occur is not yet available.