Road construction to impact Short Pump drivers

By Andy Jenks - bio | email
Posted by Terry Alexander - email

HENRICO, VA (WWBT) - A traffic alert for drivers in Short Pump, where there's a brand new road, but it's only halfway done. Crews spent the day shifting traffic signals and travel lanes onto two new lanes of Church Road, where it intersects Pump Road. It's all part of the ongoing John Rolfe Parkway extension.

The John Rolfe Parkway extension is expected to make Short Pump driving more enjoyable. It's just a little frustrating right now.

"It's crazy. I'm glad when this thing's gonna be over with. Because I'm still not sure what the traffic pattern's gonna be," said driver John Meleski.

Today marked the project's latest milestone. Crews re-located signals and shifted traffic onto the new Church Road which, eventually, will intersect the extended parkway. The result was an even longer delay than usual.

"Look, it's a mess. And they keep changing things around so, it's gonna be a mess for awhile," said driver Patti Conley.

But it's for a good reason, say those with Henrico County. With up to 18,000 cars a day in this area, engineers expect a smoother and safer flow of traffic to and from neighborhoods, as well as all the popular Short Pump shopping district.

"It's 2.7 miles of roadway, four lane divided highway with sidewalk, and you just don't build that overnight," said Chris Winstead, Assistant Director of Public Works, referencing the segment of John Rolfe Parkway under construction to date.

The $25-million project is designed to reduce traffic on smaller roads by 40% by the time it's finished, in 2012.

"I hope they see it as a positive benefit the community," Winstead said.

For some drivers, that's a long time to wait. Others aren't in so big of a rush.

"It's not really too bad, it hasn't been that much of an inconvenience," said driver Debbie Jacobs.

Most are well aware there's little they can do...except try to enjoy the ride, for as long as it lasts.

"I think we won't have as much traffic and there won't be all the pylons, and be all cleared up hopefully," said driver Kate Meyers.

At the intersection of Church & Pump Roads, where the major work is taking place, the delays aren't huge (as of 6 p.m.) - sometimes only 10 to 12 cars in a row. Still, you might want to give yourself a few extra minutes if you travel this area.

The first segment of the John Rolfe Parkway extension opened last fall. The current segment connecting to Church Road is expected to open by spring of 2011. A final segment connecting to Ridgefield Parkway is expected to open in 2012.

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