Funding falls through for some Mechanicsville improvements, others delayed

By Sunni Blevins - bio | email
Posted by Terry Alexander - email

HANOVER, VA (WWBT) – Residents will have to wait longer for traffic relief in a busy section of Hanover County. A lack of funding has cut out parts of a major project along the Bell Creek Corridor -- and what's still being done is now behind schedule.

This multi-million dollar construction project includes more lanes and an easier traffic pattern along Mechanicsville Turnpike between Bell Creek Road and the 295 interchange. That part is paid for, but improvements along Lee Davis Road are now on hold.

"Based on the funding, we had to re-prioritize projects," said VDOT spokesperson Dawn Eischen.

It's a long-awaited project in a heavily congested area, but the waiting isn't over. Those who drive along the Mechanicsville Turnpike corridor between 295 and Lee Davis road say it's a headache at best - with lots of cars and big trucks.

The area is booming with business and neighborhoods.

"It's a matter of there's more cars than there is pavement," said Eischen. "There's 295 right there as well, so you have all of the traffic coming off the interstate and all those businesses cropping up along Bell Creek Road is just adding to all the confusion."

Relief from the area will now take a few more years, but will include road widening and making Bell Creek one continuous road. Right now, you have to turn back out onto Mechanicsville Turnpike to get from one side to the other. At a price tag of about $20-million, these two things will be done, but about $50-million in improvements at Lee Davis Road are tabled for the time being.

"Right now there is no funding in the 6-year-program for that part of the project," Eischen said. "The other two parts are necessary, but not critical. The area at Mechanicsville Turnpike and Bell Creek Road is critical."

Kevin Truman lives in Henrico, but works in Mechanicsville at the Bell Creek Road Shopping Center. He agrees that the improvements are much-needed and appreciated.

"A lot of accidents, people running red lights, just a lot of confusion at this stop light," said Truman. "It would be a real asset, there's a lot of traffic in and out of this area, so it would be a big asset for them to put another lane in and have more traffic flow."

This project will affect six or seven homes and businesses. That's another reason for the delay.

"What we have to do is we have to enter into an agreement with them for the amount of their property," Eischen said.

Construction won't begin now until the fall of 2014. That may sound like a long time, but VDOT will spend the next few years relocating utilities and dealing any of those property acquisitions. For more information about the timeline and work being done, you can visit VDOT's website.

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