Route 5 study aims to improve traffic flow

By Matt Butner - bio | email

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - A portion of Route 5 will soon undergo a major overhaul.

Planners are studying the stretch between Main Street in downtown Richmond and Laburnum Avenue in eastern Henrico. The goal is to make sure the road keeps up with the pace of development.

Lee Yolton with the Richmond Regional Planning District Commission heads up the transportation study.

"The development that's approved in the corridor, at various stages of approval, represents as many as 4,000 new homes in the corridor," Yolton said.

Richard Proctor is helping build some of those homes. He drives Route 5 every day to work.

"It can get a little dangerous if people aren't paying attention, so they need to widen it," said Proctor.

Widening the road is one consideration, but planners have some more grand designs.

"We're looking at all alternatives, and that includes mass transit alternatives, bicycle and pedestrian travel," said Yolton.

The goal is to create a corridor that uses different modes of travel to move people effectively. Richmond, Henrico, VDOT, and GRTC have all signed on.

"Right now we're in the very beginning stages, where all options are on the table," said Yolton.

The vision could also include rail service or GRTC's Bus Rapid Transit concept. During the 16 month study period, planners will get public input and figure out what solutions will work best.

The clock is ticking-- each house built adds to the urgency of the improvement plan.

"You've got all that pouring in, you've got more school buses coming in here, and you still have this two-lane highway," said Proctor.

The project will be years in the making, depending on the course of development in the area.

The architects of the Route 5 plan want your input. The first of several public meetings will be held Thursday evening at Varina High School.

The open house will run from 6 to 8 p.m.

Suggestions are encouraged.

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