Road projects split Henrico neighbors

By Andy Jenks - bio | email

HENRICO, VA (WWBT) - New roads in Henrico County are dividing Short Pump neighbors in more ways than one.

The new John Rolfe Parkway extension, for example, is splitting two big subdivisions in between Pump Road and Ridgefield Parkway. Neighbors there also are split with the county on the benefit to traffic and the impact to their homes.

Doverton Road is the kind of spot where you used to be able to ride your bike, go for a walk, or take the kids out for a stroll. But now that the road is closed, that's not always possible. It's because of the John Rolfe Parkway extension. Where there used to be trees in these backyards, now, there's a road coming through.

When David Bible built his house in 1998, the backyard didn't look anything like it does now.

"It's a little disturbing with the noise, and we always felt that the road wasn't needed," Bible said.

David lives beside the extension for John Rolfe Parkway which was conceived in the 1960's and now, is finally being finished.

"This corridor was reserved exactly for this road for many years," said Rob Tieman, Capital Projects Coordinator for Henrico County.

Tieman says the project is needed to reduce traffic in the heavily congested far West End. In fact, it's one of two major projects underway in Short Pump.

At the same time, work is moving along on schedule for the North Gayton Road extension and you can see the bridge taking shape over Interstate 64.

The new roadways are designed to handle thousands of vehicles per day.

"Once John Rolfe Parkway is complete, once Gayton Road is complete, the flow here is going to be dramatically improved," Tieman said.

While drivers will benefit, certain homeowners will not. At best, there are mixed feelings about property values, and noise.

"If it benefits the community, that's fine. We'd rather not have it because we had a nice wooded area. But it's not our choice. It's not as bad as we thought it would be," Bible said.

Public Works officials say complaints from neighbors have been at a minimum. Perhaps that's because ground was first broken on the John Rolfe Parkway back in 1995. The project has gone through numerous public hearings in the ensuing years.

Each project is scheduled to be complete by the Spring or Summer of 2012, depending on weather conditions. The total combined cost is approximately $82 million.

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